Ubiquitous Computing & Ambient Intelligence
In this area, we are interested in models and technologies to get services from the environment in a natural way. For that, disappearing computing, ubiquitous communications, natural interfaces and interaction, context-aware, and mobile computing are essential components to achieve our goals. Nowadays, there are different technologies which provide us mechanisms to enable an embedded interaction with the environment in a natural and implicit way. These technologies must consider two principles:
- Embedding technologies. Linking information and capabilities to inanimate entities such as tables, doors, areas, displays among other. This includes embedding technologies into artifacts, devices and environment objects.
- Embedding interactions. Acquiring information from these actions which enables the inference of the user tasks and needs. This includes embedding of interactions in the user activities (tasks or actions).
Context-Aware is an important line in our daily activity. In this sense, the distribution of context information into everyday objects offers adaptive services. For that, we have developed the concept of "Tagging-Context" in order to distribute information embedded in the environments (including users, objects and places). In recent work, we have developed this concept (see above).
MAmI research group has been working on supporting daily user needs by simple interactions with the environment through an augmented-reality perspective and applying proactive adaptation through knowledge representation. The result of that work is i-ARA architecture that makes use of principles of Semantic Web that endow context-awareness and user personalization. In addition, this kind of services allows the supervision and management of what is happening at the environment and, in consequence, to improve information offered to users. The architecture has been used to implement applications using iPhone technology and applied to illustrative scenarios such as libraries, educational environments and people with special needs.
Semantic Web for Context-Awareness
Semantic Web languages provide mechanisms to enable a formal knowledge representation that enhance the capabilities of model computational processing, its adaptability, and even promote their massive use.
In general, the adaptation of Semantic Web principles to pervasive environments offers important benefits. The representation of context, in particular by means of Semantic Web languages can provide a richness and unambiguous definition of relevant concepts in the environment domain. The architecture of the Semantic Web is built upon a set of languages and technologies. The syntax is provided by XML. The mechanism to represent information about resources is known as Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the taxonomical organization is enabled using the RDF Schema. Web Ontology Language (OWL) extends RDFS by including more expressive constructors to describe the semantics of the elements. Finally, SPARQL is a query language to retrieve information from web data sources.
The use of ontologies in general and the Semantic Web in particular, brings forward several benefits and additional functionalities that are be embodied into several MAmI projects.
Health & Ambient Assisted Living (AAL)
In recent years we are focusing several projects on Health and AAL fields. AAL initiative promotes the use of technologies for helping elderly people to maintain their autonomy, increasing their quality of life and facilitating their daily activities, but bearing in mind that it is crucial serving users in terms of usability. It is important to consider that an important number of elderly people presents disorders of memory, orientation and cognition. Cases in which these disorders are severe need holistic attention by caregivers, however, slight cases can achieve a personal autonomy adapting technologies to the performance of their daily activities and needs.
In this case, we try to offer to elderly people new ways for getting natural and implicit services by using pervasive mechanisms. We consider that the integration of new technologies in these environments conveniently is the key to improve the life quality of our independent or autonomous elders. To achieve a smart environment, the deployed services must be adapted and context-dependents. In this sense, we try to apply our knowledge about Ambient Intelligence in health scenarios.