AmbiViz Project Presentation at DoCoMo Eurolabs in Munich

In the AmbiViz project we investigate how context information (explicitly or implicitly collected) can be provided to the user. The aim is that the display of context is meaningful to the user but at the same time abstract and privacy preserving. For context collection we integrated the IYOUIT platform as well as an application that runs as an app in facebook. Examples of abstract presentations are implemented for the Nabaztag and for digital picture frames. More details will be available soon in a WIP paper at Percom 2010. Currently we run a longer term study and are already curious about the results.

Recently launched TVs with Web browsing capabilities include special widgets for certain services (e.g. Philips Net TV offers widgets for youtube, ebay, etc.). This is a first step in the market towards the switch-over of traditional TV we discussed some time ago in Seoul. I wonder what other information services may become hype as widgets or Web channels on TVs.

Best Paper at AmI 2009, Visions

Florian Alt presented our work on pervasive advertising, in particular on creating dynamic user profiles in the real world [1]. This research was carried out together with colleagues in marketing and software systems and implemented in one of our course. We are proud that it got named best paper at AmI 2009! Another paper to look at in this context was presented by Jörg Müller; it looked at pervasive advertisement utilizing screens on public phone boxes. The study is amazing in size (20 displays all over Münster, 17 participating shops) and duration (1 year, 24/7) [2]. Even though the results are not completely conclusive it is very interesting to read about the experience of such a large deployment real world in a research context.

This year at AmI included a vision panel with Juan Carlos Augusto, Florian Michahelles, Jörg Müller, Donald Patterson, which I chaired with Norbert Streiz. The main questions for us were: Is there a need for a vision? What are drivers for a new Vision? And what is the value of having a technology vision? The discussion was very diverse touching on various topics. One interesting observation is that many people – including me – see that a mobile personal device (what now is the mobile phone) will stay at the center of a new vision. A further very insightful comment was that we as a community should try to develop more specific visions (e.g. how will education be in 2020, or how will public transport be in 2030) rather than have a Version 2.0 of the overall vision. I think such more specific visions could be valuable to guide research in Ambient Intelligence in the next years.

[1] Florian Alt, Moritz Balz, Stefanie Kristes, Alireza Sahami Shirazi, Julian Mennenöh, Albrecht Schmidt, Hendrik Schröder and Michael Goedicke: Adaptive User Profiles in Pervasive Advertising Environments. Proceedings of the 3rd European Conference on Ambient Intelligence (AmI ’09). Springer Berlin / Heidelberg. Salzburg, Austria 2009.

[2] Jörg Müller, Antonio Krüger: MobiDiC: Context Adaptive Digital Signage with Coupons. Proceedings of the 3rd European Conference on Ambient Intelligence (AmI ’09). Springer Berlin / Heidelberg. Salzburg, Austria 2009.

Keynote by Frits Grotenhuis at AMI-2009

In the opening keynote of AMI 2009 Frits Grotenhuis (who stepped in for Emil Aarts) looked back at the last 10 years ambient intelligence. In his talk he showed a number of examples of devices that Philips created in this time, including iCat, the Entertaible, Ambilight, and medical devices. He discussed briefly the forces in such developments between market-pull and technology-push and it became evident that many products in this domain are more technology push than market-pull.

I liked the reference back to the Electronic Poem at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, which must have been at that time an amazing large scale installation (creating “surround sound” with more than 200 speakers).

The update of the vision (title of the keynote was Ambient Intelligence 2.0: Towards Synergetic Prosperity) suggests a model where the human is in the center and the surrounded by the Mind (well being), Community (participation), Body (health), and Environment (responsibility). I found this did not offer many new insights as by now the human centered approach is widely accepted. Looking at the examples it seems that the vision is very much centering on the “rich” world’s problem… perhaps it is really hard to update a vision.

Impact of colors – hints for ambient design?

There is a study that looked at how the performace in solving certain cognitive/creative tasks is influenced by the backgroun color [1]. In short: to make people alert and to increase performance on detail oriented tasks use red; to get people in creative mode use blue. Lucky us our corporate desktop background is mainly blue! Perhaps this could be interesting for ambient colors, e.g. in the automotive context…

[1] Mehta, Ravi and Rui (Juliet) Zhu (2009), “Blue or Red? Exploring the Effect of Color on Cognitive Task Performances” Science 27 February 2009:Vol. 323. no. 5918, pp. 1226 – 1229 DOI: 10.1126/science.1169144