Possibilities of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments in Educational Institutions

Possibilities of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments in Educational Institutions

Peter Mikulecký (University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic), Kamila Olševicová (University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic), Vladimír Bureš (University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic) and Karel Mls (University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-857-5.ch029
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Abstract

The objective of the chapter is to identify and analyze key aspects and possibilities of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) applications in educational processes and institutions (universities), as well as to present a couple of possible visions for these applications. A number of related problems are discussed as well, namely agent-based AmI application architectures. Results of a brief survey among optional users of these applications are presented as well.
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Ambient Intelligence

As it is well known, the concept of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) was introduced in the ISTAG report (ISTAG, 2001) and interpreted e.g. by (Alcaniz and Rey, 2005; Remagnino et al, 2005; Bohn et al, 2005; Snijders, 2005) and others. This concept provides a vision of society of the future, where the people will find themselves in an environment of intelligent and intuitively usable interfaces, ergonomic space in a broad sense, encompassing better, secure and active living environment around them, capable of aiding them with daily chores and professional duties by recognizing the presence of individuals, reacting to it in a non-disturbing, invisible way, fully integrated into the particular situation. Nearly synonymous concepts of disappearing computing or calm computing express the technology diffused into everyday objects and settings (Russell et al, 2005). From the technological point of view, AmI bears ship to the conception of ubiquitous computing (UbiComp), the term firstly used by Mark Weiser in 1998 (Alcaniz and Rey, 2005; Bohn et al, 2005). The UbiComp is defined as the use of computers everywhere and is determined by interactions that are not channelled through a single workstation.

The AmI environment is characterized by merging of physical and digital space. It means that tangible objects and physical surroundings are acquiring a digital representation (Kameas et al, 2005). The AmI environment is considered to host several UbiComp applications.

The AmI artefact (also smart object, smart device) is an element of the AmI environment that has got following properties and abilities (Kameas et al, 2005):

  • information processing,

  • interaction with environment,

  • autonomy,

  • collaboration,

  • composeability,

  • changeability.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Net Generation: The generation of youth which is growing up with modern information and communication technologies shaping strongly their mental models, i.e. views on the world around them. While using several technologies they are learning to develop new skills and exhibiting new behavior patterns.

The AmI Artefact: (also smart object, smart device) is an element of the AmI environment that has got properties and abilities such as information processing, interaction with environment, autonomy, collaboration, composeability, or changeability.

Agent-Based Model: A model that involves numerous interacting autonomous agents, homogeneous or heterogeneous. The objective of agent-based modeling is to help us to understand effects and impacts of interactions of individuals. The AmI environment can be seen as composed of particular agents.

The AmI Environment: Characterized by merging of physical and digital space. It means that tangible objects and physical surroundings are acquiring a digital representation.

Agent: As defined in artificial intelligence literature is anything that can be viewed as perceiving its environment through sensors and acting upon the environment through actuators. Some authors extend the definition of agent by enumerating required features of agent such as mobility, correctness, reactivity and pro-activity, goal-orientation, adaptability, robustness, benevolence, sociability, ability to communicate with other agents etc.

Ambient Intelligence: A vision of society of the future, where the people will find themselves in an environment of intelligent and intuitively usable interfaces, ergonomic space in a broad sense, encompassing better, secure and active living environment around them, capable of aiding them with daily chores and professional duties by recognizing the presence of individuals, reacting to it in a non-disturbing, invisible way, fully integrated into the particular situation.

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