A basic understanding of problem-solving and computational thinking is undoubtedly a benefit for all ages. At the same time, the proliferation of Intelligent Environments has raised the need for configuring their behaviors to address their users’ needs. This configuration can take the form of programming, and coupled with advances in Augmented Reality and Conversational Agents, can enable users to take control of their intelligent surroundings in an efficient and natural manner. Focusing on children, who can greatly benefit by being immersed in programming from an early age, this paper presents an authoring framework in the form of an Augmented Reality serious game, named MagiPlay, allowing children to manipulate and program their Intelligent Environment. This is achieved through a handheld device, which children can use to capture smart objects via its camera and subsequently create rules dictating their behavior. An intuitive user interface permits players to combine LEGO-like 3D bricks as a part of the rule-based creation process, aiming to make the experience more natural. Additionally, children can communicate with the system via natural language through a Conversational Agent, in order to configure the rules by talking with a human-like agent, while the agent also serves as a guide/helper for the player, providing context-sensitive tips for every part of the rule creation process. Finally, MagiPlay enables networked collaboration, to allow parental and teacher guidance and support. The main objective of this research work is to provide young learners with a fun and engaging way to program their intelligent surroundings. This paper describes the game logic of MagiPlay, its implementation details, and discusses the results of a statistically significant evaluation conducted with end-users, i.e. a group of children of seven to twelve years old.
In the domain of education, an Intelligent Classroom that employs Ambient Intelligence technologies can not only improve learning and student performance, but also support educators with the various educational tasks, such as lecturing, course preparation and classroom management. Given that the board is one of the key artifacts of any classroom, using technology to enhance it offers students and educators rich opportunities by providing access to a wide range of applications, capturing and maintaining a simultaneous focus of attention for large learner groups, supporting collaboration and encouraging discussion. To this end, this work presents the CognitOS Classboard, an educator- and student- oriented framework, employed on the “Intelligent Classroom Board” - a wall-to-wall projected interactive board- offering a variety of tools and applications aiming to support lecturing and enhance the learning process. Aiming to create highly engaging and fascinating learning experiences for the students, the CognitOS Classboard apart from offering access to useful educational applications, features sophisticated mechanisms that can transform the classroom into an immersive environment on demand. It supports multimodal interaction through touch, mid-air gestures, voice commands, and user position tracking, while a tablet and a desktop application were developed for permitting the management and overview of the board. This paper reports the functionality of the “CognitOS Classboard” and the findings of an evaluation experiment conducted with User Experience experts.
With the proliferation of Intelligent Environments, the need for configuring their behaviors to address their users’ needs emerges. In combination with the current advances in Augmented and Virtual Reality and Conversational Agents, new opportunities arise for systems which allow people to program their environment. Whereas today this requires programming skills, soon, when most spaces will include smart objects, tools which allow their collaborative management by non-technical users will become a necessity. To that end, we present BricklAyeR, a novel collaborative platform for non-programmers, that allows to define the behavior of Intelligent Environments, through an intuitive, 3D building-block User Interface, following the Trigger-Action programming principle, in Augmented Reality, with the help of a Conversational Agent.
The concept of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) is already playing an important role in enriching the educational experience. Such technologies offer students increased access to information within an augmented teaching environment, which encourages active learning and collaboration, enhancing their motivation to learn. Research work in this domain includes the learner-centered design and implementation of infrastructure technologies, prototypes of intelligent systems and applications, smart artifacts for learning and serious games. “Home game” is an innovative augmented table-top educational game that combines tangible interaction with a virtual environment, falling under the category of serious games. The system is structured into a set of mini-games (such as ‘Locate the room’ and ‘Find the wrong object’), which can be personalized for each player in terms of content and interaction paradigm, either automatically based on their profile settings or manually by the educators. Home Game is deployed in the Rehabilitation Centre for Children with Disabilities in Heraklion, Crete, Greece. The full paper will contain a detailed presentation of the User Interface and the learning analytics data that are displayed in each student’s personal dashboards, so as to facilitate educators in adjusting the learning process according the needs of each student. Furthermore, the results of an expert-based evaluation of the tool will be reported.
The emergence of Intelligent Classrooms, and in particular classrooms equipped with facilities for identifying the students’ attention levels, has raised the need for appropriate student-friendly tools that not only facilitate application hosting, but also acts as the means to re-engage inattentive students in the educational process. This work presents CognitOS, a web-based working environment that hosts several types of applications (i.e., exercises, multimedia viewer, digital book) that are utilized as channels to present interventions dictated by the intelligent decision-making mechanisms of the attention-aware classroom. This paper presents the functionality of CognitOS and the design process followed for its development.
This paper describes an educational game that aims to familiarize cognitive impaired children with household objects, the overall home environment and the daily activities that take place in it. In addition to touch-based interaction, the game supports physical manipulation through printed cards on a tabletop setup, using a webcam to detect and track the cards placed on the game board.
This paper presents a user experience study of interaction with printed maps for providing digitally augmented tourism information. The Interactive Maps system has been implemented based on an interactive printed matter framework which provides all the necessary components for developing smart applications that offer printed matter interaction, and has been deployed and evaluated in the context of the publicly available Tourism InfoPoint of the Municipality of Heraklion. The results of the evaluation highlight that interacting with digitally augmented paper is quite easy and natural, while the overall user experience is positive.