Intelligent Conversational Agents are already employed in different scenarios, both in commerce and in research. In particular, they can play an important role in defining a new natural interaction paradigm between them and humans. When these Intelligent Agents take a human-like form (embodied Virtual Agents) in the virtual world, we refer to them as Virtual Humans. In this context, they can communicate with humans through storytelling, where the Virtual Human plays the role of a narrator and/or demonstrator, and the user can listen, as well as interact with the story. We propose that the behavior and actions of multiple, concurrently active Virtual Humans, can be the result of communication between them, based on a dynamic script, which resembles in structure a screenplay. This paper presents CasandRA, a framework enabling real-time user interaction with Virtual Humans, whose actions are based on this kind of scripts. CasandRA can be integrated in any Ambient Intelligence setting, and the Virtual Humans provide contextual information, assistance, and narration, accessible through various mobile devices, in Augmented Reality. Finally, they allow users to manipulate smart objects in AmI Environments.
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.
A fundamental assumption in most contemporary person re-identification research, is that all query persons that need to be re-identified belong to a closed gallery of known persons, i.e., they have been observed and a representation of their appearance is available. For several real-world applications, this closed-world assumption does not hold, as image queries may contain people that the re-identification system has never observed before. In this work, we remove this constraining assumption. To do so, we introduce a novelty detection mechanism that decides whether a person in a query image exists in the gallery. The re-identification of persons existing in the gallery is easily achieved based on the persons representation employed by the novelty detection mechanism. The proposed method operates on a hybrid person descriptor that consists of both supervised (learnt) and unsupervised (hand-crafted) components. A series of experiments on public, state of the art datasets and in comparison with state of the art methods shows that the proposed approach is very accurate in identifying persons that have not been observed before and that this has a positive impact on re-identification accuracy.
The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and services and their integration in intelligent environments creates the need for a simple yet effective way of controlling and communicating with them. Towards such a direction, this work presents ParlAmI, a conversational framework featuring a multimodal chatbot that permits users to create simple “if-then” rules to define the behavior of an intelligent environment. ParlAmI delivers a disembodied conversational agent in the form of a messaging application named MAI, and an embodied conversational agent named nAoMI employing the programmable humanoid robot NAO. This paper describes the requirements and architecture of ParlAmI, the infrastructure of the “Intelligent Home” in which ParlAmI is deployed, the characteristics and functionality of both MAI and nAoMI, and finally presents the findings of a user experience evaluation that was conducted with the participation of sixteen users.
This work concerns the automatic registration of spectral images of paintings upon planar, or approximately planar, surfaces. An approach that capitalizes upon this planarity is proposed, which estimates homography transforms that register the spectral images into an aligned spectral cube. Homography estimation methods are comparatively evaluated for this purpose. A non-linear, robust estimation method that is based on keypoint features is adopted, as the most accurate. A marker-based, quantitative evaluation method is proposed for the measurement of multispectral image registration accuracy and, in turn, utilized for the comparison of the proposed registration method to the state of the art. For the same purpose, characteristic for this application domain, benchmark datasets that are annotated with correctly corresponding points have been compiled and are publicly availed.
ICS-FORTH has recently initiated AmI-Garden, a smart farming project in the framework of its Ambient Intelligence Research Programme. A small experimental IoT greenhouse has been constructed and equipped with polycarbonate cover sheets and all the necessary infrastructure and hardware (automatic window-roof opening/closing, sliding door, fan installation for heating/cooling, vegetable breeding lamps etc.). Inside the greenhouse, a network of wireless sensors is used to measure environmental conditions and parameters, such as air/soil temperature and moisture, sunlight level, soil conductivity, quality and level of chemical ions in irrigation water, etc. The sensors communicate through IoT gateways to the greenhouse’s data centre for storage and post-processing. The system comes with pre-installed agricultural scenarios, a set of activity flows based on environmental conditions that are ideal for each plant species and are monitored in the greenhouse as explained above. The scenarios currently contain parameters to predict common diseases of the plants, as well as unexpected changes in the greenhouse’s microclimate. For example, the irrigation process is built as an agricultural scenario using data from current plant status and past data in order to establish the optimal amount of water to irrigate. The parameters of this scenario are based on specific plant breed and environmental variables. The intelligence behind the scenarios is based on critical limits and thresholds to create cultivation rules. On top of this rule based process, event-driven activation of various automations in the greenhouse is provided, for example, automatic humidity/temperature control, soil fertilisation (hydro fusion) and precise irrigation. Various sets of raw data are produced and ingested into the system, as the life cycle of each one of the plants evolves, in order to be used as the main input for the system’s actuations based on the agricultural treatment scenarios.
The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and services and their integration in Ambient Intelligence (AmI) Environments revealed a new range of roles that TVs are expected to play so as to improve quality of life. This work introduces AmITV, an integrated multimodal system that permits end-users to use the TV not only as a traditional entertainment center, but also as (i) a control center for manipulating any intelligent device, (ii) an intervention host that presents appropriate content when they need help or support, (iii) an intelligent agent that communicates with the users in a natural manner and assists them throughout their daily activities, (iv) a notification medium that informs them about interesting or urgent events, and (v) a communication hub that permits them to exchange messages in real-time or asynchronously. This paper presents two motivational scenarios inspired from Home and Hotel Intelligent Environments and the infrastructure behind AmITV. Additionally, it describes how it realizes the newly emerged roles of TVs as a multimodal, intelligent and versatile interaction hub with the ambient facilities of the entire technologically-augmented environment.
Public interaction displays contribute to upgrading the quality of public spaces since they attract many users and stimulate social interaction. In this paper, BubbleFeed is presented, a system for visualizing RSS news from multiple sources in public spaces. RSS news headlines are displayed inside virtual interactive bubbles ascending from the bottom of a vertical screen to the top, resembling the bubbles formed in a glass of soft drink. Besides touching the bubbles to expand and read the respective news stories, playful user interaction is supported to promote better engagement and motivate multiple users to participate. To support custom news feeds and Facebook posts in addition to RSS feeds, we have built a tool and a library that produce RSS files from the respective sources. BubbleFeed also supports displaying weather information, hosting media galleries and providing useful information such as Wi-Fi hotspot maps.
This paper describes the implementation of an Internet of Things (IoT) and Open Data infrastructure by the Institute of Computer Science of the Foundation for Research and Technology—Hellas (FORTH-ICS) for the city of Heraklion, focusing on the application of mature research and development outcomes in a Smart City context. These outcomes mainly fall under the domains of Telecommunication and Networks, Information Systems, Signal Processing and Human Computer Interaction. The infrastructure is currently being released and becoming available to the municipality and the public through the Heraklion Smart City web portal. It is expected that in the future such infrastructure will act as one of the pillars for sustainable growth and prosperity in the city, supporting enhanced overview of the municipality over the city that will foster better planning, enhanced social services and improved decision-making, ultimately leading to improved quality of life for all citizens and visitors.