Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A tangible toolbox for the smart home

10.08.2004


How can we make full use of the potential offered by the intelligent home? Wouldn’t it be convenient if the fridge could send an SMS message asking you to buy some milk on the way home.

There are many interesting possibilities, but the problem has always been to find a way of configuring devices in an intuitive way. The IST-supported project ACCORD has developed an intuitive interface that would enable families to program their homes.
“We started out with studies of people at home, mostly in England,” says ACCORD coordinator Karl-Petter Akesson. “We had two ethnographers working on thousands of hours of video of ordinary home life. We closely observed how the kitchen was used, because it’s the centre in most homes.”


The project has made a computational model of how entities work, in terms of receiving and generating information, and then developed configuration tools that can link these entities together. “This is where the Tangible Toolbox comes in,” comments Akesson. “We investigated configuration tools using a variety of devices: traditional computer, hand-held computers, and so on. You can walk up to a cupboard, scan the barcode into the hand-held, and an icon of the cupboard pops up on the screen. You then go over to the mobile phone, scan in its barcode, and you’ve made the link. Now, if the cupboard detects that it’s running short of something, it will give you a call over the mobile to alert you.”

The user interface is highly developed. The icons that represent things in the home are shaped like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. If two entities can be connected logically, then the corresponding jigsaw icons will be able to fit together on the graphical interface. Families that took part in the user trials all found the interface very intuitive and easy to use.

“At the very core of this project is distributed data-sharing services,” says Akesson. “We’re looking at a number of areas that would benefit from these interfaces, from museums to applications in networked defence.”

Karl-Petter Akesson | IST Results
Further information:
http://www.sics.se

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
21.09.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668

nachricht Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>