Ambient Intelligence Group

The Ambient Intelligence research group, headed by Dr. rer. nat. Thomas Hermann, has been established in 2008 within the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC). The group conducts research in the areas of wearable computing, pervasive/ubiquitous computing, tangible user interfaces, augmented and mixed reality, multimodal human-computer interaction, data mining and sonification, with overlap to the field of cognitive interaction technology.

The Ambient Intelligence Group is driven by a threefold mission: (i) to increase the communicative abilities of intelligent artefacts towards a more seamless, natural and effective interaction with human users, (ii) to explore and develop novel ways of human-computer interaction in everyday contexts and particularly for applications in multi-modal data exploration and the access to information spaces, and (iii), to bring ambient intelligence into application for a positive humanitarian purpose, such as in medicine, physiotherapy, education, for connecting people, and to support human-human cooperation, taking into account that resulting cognitive interaction technologies should respect the user, be harmless by design, trustworthy and offer a well-balanced mix of modalities to their users.

An important research topic in the group is Sonification, the non-speech auditory display of information, which is developed for applications in Ambient Intelligence, in combination with visualization and audiohaptic displays. Taking into account that human attention is limited, these methods contribute to develop and investigate novel attention-aware techniques to unobtrusively connect with humans in various contexts and environments, including smart homes, personal assistance systems, tabletop interaction and portable and wearable devices.

The group is centrally involved in the CITEC large-scale project “The Cognitive Service Robotics Apartment as an Ambient Host” and the BMBF project KogniHome, active in the CITEC Ethics groups, and participates in the DAAD Thematic Network Intelligent and Interactive Systems. Besides cooperation with the Faculty of economics to investigate how new technologies can overcome market entry barriers, the group forges links to industry, particularly hospitals, audio consulting agencies, household appliance manufacturers and care-giving institutions (Bethel).