Harnessing the Interaction Continuum for Subtle Assisted Living

Manuel García-Herranz, Fernando Olivera, Pablo Haya and Xavier Alamán

Sensors 2012 [download] (JCR, IF 2011: 1.953, Q1)

People interact with each other in many levels of attention, intention and meaning. This Interaction Continuum is used daily to deal with different contexts, adapting the interaction to communication needs and available resources. Nevertheless, computer-supported interaction has mainly focused on the most direct, explicit and intrusive types of human to human Interaction such as phone calls, emails, or video conferences. This paper presents the results of exploring and exploiting the potentials of undemanding interaction mechanisms, paying special attention to subtle communication and background interaction. As we argue the benefits of this type of interaction for people with special needs, we present a theoretical framework to define it and propose a proof of concept based on Augmented Objects and a color codification mechanism. Finally, we evaluate and analyze the strengths and limitations of such approach with people with cognitive disabilities.

The Conceptual Framing, Design and Evaluation of Device Ecologies for Collaborative Activities

Tim Coughlan,  Trevor D. Collins, Anne Adams, Yvonne Rogers, Pablo A. Haya, and Estefanía Martín

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (2012) [download] (JCR, IF 2012: 1.415, Q2)

A variety of computing technologies, in addition to the personal computer, are now commonly used in many settings. As networking infrastructures mature, it is increasingly feasible and affordable to consider closer integration and use of these heterogeneous devices in tandem. However, little is known about how best to design or evaluate such ‘device ecologies’; in particular, how best to combine devices to achieve a desired type of collaborative user experience. A central concern is how users switch their attention between devices, to utilize the various elements to best effect. We describe here the development of an ecology of devices for groups of students to use when engaged in collaborative inquiry-learning activities. This included a multi-touch tabletop, laptops, projections, video streams and telephone. In situ studies of students and tutors using it in three different settings showed how individuals and groups switched their foci between the multiple devices. We present our findings, using a novel method for analysing users’ transitions between foci, identifying patterns and emergent characteristics. We then discuss the importance of designing for transitions that enable groups to appropriately utilise an ecology of devices, using the concepts of seams, bridges, niches and focal character.

Adaptive manuals as assistive technology to support and train people with acquired brain injury in their daily life activities

Javier Gómez, Germán Montoro, Pablo A. Haya, Xavier Alamán, Susana Alves and Mónica Martínez

Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 17 (6), 2013,  1117-1126 [download] (JCR, IF 2012: 1.133, Q2)

Assistive technologies and ubiquitous computing can be related since both try to help people in their lives. This common objective motivated us to develop and evaluate a system that puts ubiquitous computing technologies into the rehabilitation process of people with acquired brain injury. Thus, in this paper, we present and evaluate a system that shows adaptive manuals for daily-life activities for people with acquired brain injury. This first evaluation allowed us to validate our approach and also to extract valuable information about these systems as well as environmental factors that may affect the patients.

Volume 17 Issue 6, August 2013
Pages 1117-1126

Towards a Ubiquitous End-User Programming System for Smart Spaces

Manuel García-Herranz, Pablo Haya, Xavier Alamán

Journal of Universal Computer Science 2010 [download] (JCR 2010, 0.578, Q4)

This article presents a rule-based agent mechanism as the kernel of a ubiquitous end-user, UI–independent programming system. The underlying goal of our work is to allow end–users to control and program their environments in a uniform, application-independent way. The heterogeneity of environments, users and programming skills, as well as the coexistence of different users and domains of automation in the same environment are some of the main challenges analyzed. For doing so, we present our system and describe some of the real–environments, user studies and experiences we have had in the development process.