Smart Objects & Ambient Intelligence
October 12th - 14th 2005, Grenoble, FRANCE
Invited speakers
Emile AARTS - "Ambient Intelligence : Visualising the Future"
(Philips Research Laboratories Eindhoven - The Netherlands)
Hans GELLERSEN - "Cooperative Systems of Physical Objects"
(Computing Department at Lancaster University - UK)
Alex WAIBEL - "CHIL Computing to Overcome Techno-Clutter"
(Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and University of Karlsruhe - Germany)

Emile AARTS  

Prof.dr. Emile Aarts is Vice President and Scientific Program Director of the Philips Research Laboratories Eindhoven, The Netherlands. He holds an MSc. and PhD. degree in physics. For almost twenty years he has been active as a research scientist in computing science. Since 1991 he holds a teaching position at the Eindhoven University of Technology as a part-time professor of computing science. He also serves on numerous scientific and governmental advisory boards. He holds a part-time position of senior consultant with the Center for Quantitative Methods in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Emile Aarts is the author of five books and more than hundred and forty scientific papers on a diversity of subjects including nuclear physics, VLSI design, combinatorial optimization and neural networks. In 1998 he launched the concept of Ambient Intelligence and in 2001 he founded Philips' HomeLab. His current research interests include embedded systems and interaction technology.

Abstract of the intervention : "Ambient Intelligence : Visualising the Future"

Ambient Intelligence systems are aimed at making usersystem interaction and content consumption a truly positive experience. The endless search for nifty information visualisation mechanism to squeeze yet one more piece of information onto a visual display is surpassed by the challenge to embed interactive displays into our environments that bring true user experience. Examples of experiences supported by immersiveness, social intelligence and freedom have been investigated in the Philips HomeLab. HomeLab offers an unique scientific environment for evaluating the feasibility and usability of technologies that are used in the realisation of Ambient Intelligent scenarios. Equipped with an extensive observation infrastructure of 34 cameras and microphones, the HomeLab has enabled behavioural researchers to study the effect of innovative technologies on the user's acceptance for Ambient Intelligence. In the presentation we discuss recent developments resulting from our work in HomeLab with an emphasis on the relation between (information) visualization and experiences.

Download the PDF presentation : presentation n2003



Hans Gellersen is a professor of interactive systems in the Computing Department at Lancaster University. His research interest is in ubiquitous computing and embedded interactive systems. This spans work on enabling technologies such as position and context sensing, user interfaces beyond the desktop, and embedding of intelligence in everyday artefacts. Hans has led a number of European collaborations on these topics, and he is a principal investigator in major initiatives including the Equator project in the UK. He is participating actively in the Ubiquitous Computing research community, founded the HUC/Ubicomp conference series, and recently served as program co-chair for Pervasive 2005.
Hans has been a full professor at Lancaster since 2001. Previously he was a researcher at the University of Karlsruhe. He holds an MSc and PhD in Computer Science, both from Karlsruhe.

Abstract of the intervention : "Cooperative Systems of Physical Objects"

Notions of 'smart objects' often conjure up images of everyday items that begin to have a fantastic life of their own. In contrast, physical objects that are beginning to be integrated and deployed in computational infrastructures typically have little or no autonomy as computing objects. They reside at the periphery of such systems, and may be able to locally interact through sensors and actuators while being reliant on backend infrastructure to process what is observed and to decide what is actuated. In this talk we consider systems of physical objects that are more autonomous and independent of infrastructure but no less focussed on practical deployment and application. The systems we think of are decentralized (all computing embedded in the physical objects), highly contextualized (physical objects have a priori meaning and affordance), and variable in configuration (resulting from physical use and movement of objects). The individual objects in such systems are naturally limited in the extent to which they can interact with the world : how they are manipulated and configured is dependent on what they physically afford and support, and what they sense and affect is inherently local. The general challenge we explore is how physical objects can form cooperative systems capable of richer interactions with their environment. The specific challenges we consider include how objects can cooperate to model activity and assess situations in their environment, how objects can establish their spatial configuration through cooperative sensing, and how we may build interfaces that exploit ad hoc composition of physical interface components.

Download the PDF presentation : presentation n2002



Alex Waibel is a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and at the University of Karlsruhe (Germany). He directs the Interactive Systems Laboratories ( at both Universities with research emphasis in speech recognition, handwriting recognition, language processing, speech translation, machine learning and multimodal and multimedia interfaces. At Carnegie Mellon, he also serves as Associate Director of the Language Technology Institute and as Director of the Language Technology PhD program. He was one of the founding member of the CMU's Human Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) and continues on its core faculty. Dr. Waibel was one of the founders of C-STAR, the international consortium for speech translation research and served as its chairman from 1998-2000. His team has developed the JANUS speech translation system, the JANUS speech recognition toolkit, and a number of multimodal systems including the Genoa Meeting recognizer and meeting browser.

Abstract of the intervention : "CHIL Computing to Overcome Techno-Clutter"

After building computers that paid no intention to communicating with humans, we have in recent years developed ever more sophisticated interfaces that put the "human in the loop" of computers. These interfaces have improved usability by providing more appealing output (graphics, animations), more easy to use input methods (mouse, pointing, clicking, dragging) and more natural interaction modes (speech, vision, gesture, etc.). Yet the productivity gains that have been promised have largely not been seen and human-machine interaction still remains a partially frustrating and tedious experience, full of technoclutter and excessive attention required by the technical artifact.
In this talk, I will argue, that we must transition to a third paradigm of computer use, in which we let people interact with people, and move the machine into the background to observe the humans' activities and to provide services implicitly, that is, -to the extent possible- without explicit request. Putting the "Computer in the Human Interaction Loop" (CHIL), instead of the other way round, however, brings formidable technical challenges. The machine must now always observe and understand humans, model their activities, their interaction ith other humans, the human state as well as the state of the space they are in, and finally, infer intentions and needs. From a perceptual user interface point of view, we must process signals from sensors that are always on, frequently inappropriately positioned, and subject to much greater variablity. We must also not only recognize WHAT was seen or said in a given space, but also a broad range of additional information, such as the WHO, WHERE, HOW, TO WHOM, WHY, WHEN of human interaction and engagement.
In this talk, I will describe a variety of multimodal interface technologies that we have developed to answer these questions and some preliminary CHIL type services that take advantage of such perceptual interfaces.

Download the PDF presentation : presentation n2001