Smart Space Center

In the last decade we have witnessed a disruptive change in information technology from the work desk into the everyday. This has not only deeply influenced the way we communicate, but at its very end has a strong impact on the condicio humana. The borders between the physical and virtual blurs and soon they become indistinguishable from each other. Dreamlands are generated by algorithms based on pre-assumptions and data traces we leave in the cloud. Reality, as we know it, will never be the same again. But instead of sketching a technological driven utopia or dystopia we want to invite you onto a journey of nearly infinitive possibilities by sharing our research in the Smart Space Center at the department of Digital Media at Furtwangen University.

What the future will bring we don’t know. What future we–as human beings–really want to live in is up to us. Let’s shape this future together.

Calm Computing / Behavior Chang

Self-monitoring and -sensing became a recent trend and is probably better known under the buzzword quantified self. The human body is designed for regular movement. Many humans, however, spend the bulk of their day sitting still instead. Most humans, even knowing about bad behavior and willing to change it, are not able to do so for many different reasons.

In order to support behavior changes we have developed a system which is able to track sitting behavior and mirror this by anthropomorphic objects. By doing so we can provide a constant feedback without overburdening the user’s attention with mostly irrelevant information or pure numbers which are difficult to interpret. In our user study we confirmed that this feedback is able to lead to better posture awareness and sitting behavior, naturally integrates into the environment and minimizes the user’s mental effort and distraction.

Haptic Interfaces / People Participation

Besides the recent trend of civic participation the debate of the future of urban living is in generally left in the hands of professional architects and city planners. With our installation Ideal Spaces at this year’s Biennale di Venezia–15th International Architecture Exhibition we wanted to provide the possibility for the visitors to participate. We have, therefore, developed a natural, haptic and easy-to-use interface for creating real-time 3D-visualisations of one’s imagined ideal urban spaces. Providing a widespread, haptic interface is crucial for the experience. It does not only foster the visitors to act as a temporary community to co-create the space they want to live in, but immerse the user deeper into the designed space.

Security Applications

The distraction in using smart devices in public can lead to potentially dangerous situations. To reduce this risk technologies have proposed and prototypically developed which sense the environment and warns the user if necessary. While such systems seems to be useful at first sight, they might not be accepted by the user und thus being obsolete.

To answer the question if such systems are accepted we performed a Wizard-of-Oz user test. The suspects were drawn into potentially dangerous situations and then warned by the smart device. We found that most people are not interested in such an application a-priori but changing their opinion after being exposed to a potentially dangerous situation. The people who got warnings preferred to use such an app over those who were not warned.


Targeted Advertising

In stark contrast to online advertising campaigns, advertisement in the urban space has lost attention. The emergence of hybrid urban spaces, however, allows for novel possibilities to bring back customers’ attention, interest and convenience.

To do so we have developed a public display using implicit and explicit interactions of the user to adjust a virtual mannequin: it resemble age, gender and size and follows the passer-by.  By using free-hand gestures the user can change the cloth which are selected due to a 3D scan of the person and thus are guaranteed to fit. A user study in a mall confirmed that this type of advertisement has a higher acceptance in comparison to personalized online advertisement.