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.
The selection of clothes and accessories is part of the daily routine of individuals ; however, it is not a straightforward process for people with large inventories or limited time, while it is a challenging task for user with disabilities. In the recent past, the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Ambient Intelligence (AmI) have been enhancing the domestic environment with new connected devices, appliances, and smart furniture, aspiring to assist independent living . Building upon these developments, this work proposes Vesti-AmI; an intelligent wardrobe which, in cooperation with the existing technological infrastructure of the Intelligent Home, aims to assist people in getting ready for their various activities in a context-sensitive, user-friendly and intelligent manner. With respect to the target audience, the facilities of Vesti-AmI are foreseen to accommodate a wide variety of users, including adults, children, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Indicatively, Vesti-AmI permits end-users to: (i) browse clothing items manually or digitally, (ii) preview their choices on a Smart Mirror, (iii) retrieve and store clothing items (semi-)automatically, (iv) get outfit recommendations based on contextual information, and (v) keep their garments odor-, mold-, moisture-, and moth-free with the help of appropriate sensors and actuators that monitor the interior of the wardrobe. Vesti-AmI features a full-height hanging space appropriate for storing clothing like shirts or skirts, but also longer garments such as dresses. An electrically-powered closet rod automatically raises and lowers the clothes so as to bring them closer to the user, while a sophisticated mechanism permits the system to identify each hanging item and present it to the user upon request. The next two compartments contain shelves and drawers in order to provide organized storage solutions for folded clothes and accessories, and a custom-made in-closet steamer that permits users to freshen up their clothes. Sophisticated mechanisms permit the shelves and drawers to move in a vertical fashion (like a carousel), making the stored items easily accessible. Additionally, cameras hidden on the top of each drawer and shelf permit Vesti-AmI to be aware of their contents, while light and sound cues in combination with vibration feedback are employed to assist users (especially blind or visually challenged individuals) to locate the required items inside the wardrobe. In order to maximize time efficiency, an embedded "Smart Mirror" allows users to virtually try their clothes on in an immersive way. Vesti-AmI promotes multimodal interaction that includes touch interaction, air gestures and voice interaction, which can be used complementary to support all users (including those with disabilities). For example, voice interaction can be used by blind or visually challenged users to ask for certain items, while motion-based interaction and gestures can enable users to naturally select the outfit they wish to try on the “Smart Mirror”.
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.
The proliferation of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) devices and services and their integration in smart environments creates the need for a simple yet effective way of controlling and communicating with them. Towards that direction, the application of the Trigger -- Action model has attracted a lot of research with many systems and applications having been developed following that approach. This work introduces ParlAmI, a multimodal conversational interface aiming to give its users the ability to determine the behavior of AmI environments, by creating rules using natural language as well as a GUI. The paper describes ParlAmI, its requirements and functionality, and presents the findings of a user-based evaluation which was conducted.
This paper reports on the design, development and evaluation of a framework which implements virtual humans for information provision. The framework can be used to create interactive multimedia information visualizations (e.g., images, text, audio, videos, 3D models) and provides a dynamic data modeling mechanism for storage and retrieval and implements communication through multimodal interaction techniques. The interaction may involve human-to-agent, agent-to-environment or agent-to-agent communication. The framework supports alternative roles for the virtual agents who may act as assistants for existing systems, standalone “applications” or even as integral parts of emerging smart environments. Finally, an evaluation study was conducted with the participation of 10 people to study the developed system in terms of usability and effectiveness, when it is employed as an assisting mechanism for another application. The evaluation results were highly positive and promising, confirming the system’s usability and encouraging further research in this area.
This paper introduces booTable, an interactive coffee table prototype constructed by recycled paper aiming to build upon the paradigm of surface computing, but endeavoring to overcome a number of identified limitations of current design practice. In this respect, the paper first runs through the design requirements, decisions and rationale towards creating a first version of the prototype. Then, the outcomes of the prototyping process are described, along with the results of an informal assessment session and related critique. Following that, the revisions made towards the development of a second version of the prototype are laid out and the final result is presented.