Turning devices into helpers with smart interfaces

 

VTT recently coordinated the pan-European initiative SMARCOS, which focused on developing technology based on internet sharing between devices. The technology allows the interfaces of various smart devices to follow consumers’ actions and react instantly to their needs. In the kitchen, for example, a smart stove, saucepans, spice rack, ingredient containers and a smart recipe service are able to follow and predict the consumer’s actions and needs and help him or her to choose the right ingredients and cooking processes.

The European SMARCOS (Smart Composite Human Computer Interfaces) project developed technology based on internet sharing between devices, which allows the interfaces and features of various digital devices to operate seamlessly together in smart ecosystems.

The physical interface remains unchanged, but there is improvement in the intelligence and functionality of the user interface level. The functions of an interface respond more accurately to users’ needs when devices, services and applications are able to follow and predict the users’ actions. This can be used, for example, to help elderly people lead more independent lives and cope with daily household chores in their own homes.

Interfaces can be distributed among devices and surfaces and therefore help users to run their households more efficiently. An example of a system already up and running is a smart recipe service for the kitchen. The service is linked to kitchen appliances, tableware and containers of ingredients equipped with simple interactive technology. A minimalist interface prototype for controlling household energy consumption was developed with Offcode Oy.

Another example is the healthy living service operating on all the user's digital devices (mobile devices, TVs, car, computers, activity monitors). A real-time behaviour monitoring service controls when and through which device the user can be given information, reminders and encouragement. The service interacts with systems that encourage consumers to exercise, remind them to take their medication and help them to educate themselves.

In addition to VTT, other Finnish SMARCOS partners included Valve, IXONOS, Offcode, Nemein and Nokia. Foreign partners included Barco (BE), SIRRIS (BE), Human Interface Group (BE), Philips (NL), TP-Vision (NL), University of Twente (NL), EVALAN (NL), Phi-I (NL), Indra Sistemas (ES), ESI (ES), Honeywell (CZ), Fjord (UK), Intecs (IT) and CNR (IT). The project budget was approximately EUR 14.2 million, financed by the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking and local public sector funding.

Watch the VIDEO Context and task monitoring assisted cooking:

 

 
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