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Technological framework for ubiquitous interactions using context–aware mobile devices

Papakonstantinou, Stylianos (2012). Technological framework for ubiquitous interactions using context–aware mobile devices. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


This report presents research and development of dedicated system architecture, designed to enable its users to interact with each other as well as to access information on Points of Interest that exist in their immediate environment. This is accomplished through managing personal preferences and contextual information in a distributed manner and in real-time. The advantage of this system architecture is that it uses mobile devices, heterogeneous sensors and a selection of user interface paradigms to produce a sociotechnical framework to enhance the perception of the environment and promote intuitive interactions. The thrust of the work has been on software development and component integration. Iterative prototyping was adopted as a development method in order to effectively implement the users’ feedback and establish a platform for collaboration that closely meets the requirements and aids their decision-making process. The requirement acquisition was followed by the system-modelling phase in order to produce a robust software prototype. The implementation includes component-based development and extensive use of design patterns over native programming. Conclusively, the software product has become the means to evaluate differences in the use of mixed reality technologies in a ubiquitous scenario.

The prototype can query a number of context sources such as sensors, or details of the personal profile, to acquire relevant data. The data (and metadata) is stored in opensource structures, so that they are accessible at every layer of the system architecture and at any time. By proactively processing the acquired context, the system can assist the users in their tasks (e.g. navigation) without explicit input – e.g. by simply creating a gesture with the device. However, advanced interaction with the application via the user interface is available for requests that are more complex.

Representations of the real world objects, their spatial relations and other captured features of interest are visualised on scalable interfaces, ranging from 2D to 3D models and from photorealism to stylised clues and symbols. Two principal modes of operation have been implemented; one, using geo-referenced virtual reality models of the environment, updated in real time, and second, using the overlay of descriptive annotations and graphics on the video images of the surroundings, captured by a video camera. The latter is referred to as augmented reality.

The continuous feed of the device position and orientation data, from the GPS receiver and the digital compass, into the application, makes the framework fit for use in unknown environments and therefore suitable for ubiquitous operation. This is one of the novelties of the proposed framework, because it enables a whole range of social, peer-to-peer interactions to take place. The scenarios of how the system could be employed to pursue these remote interactions and collaborative efforts on mobile devices are addressed in the context of urban navigation. The conceptual design and implementation of the novel location and orientation based algorithm for mobile AR are presented in detail. The system is, however, multifaceted and capable of supporting peer-to-peer exchange of information in a pervasive fashion, usable in various contexts. The modalities of these interactions are explored and laid out in several scenarios, but particularly in the context of user adoption. Two evaluation tasks took place. The preliminary evaluation examined certain aspects that influence user interaction while being immersed in a virtual environment, whereas the second summative evaluation compared the utility and certain usability aspects of the AR and VR interfaces.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Library & Information Science
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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