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Context-Aware Systems in the Wild. Dr. Anind K. Dey Assistant Professor Human-Computer Interaction Carnegie Melon University. Outline. Background Ubicomp and context-awareness Context-aware infrastructure Context-aware applications New area: Usability in context-awareness

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context aware systems in the wild

Context-Aware Systems in the Wild

Dr. Anind K. Dey

Assistant ProfessorHuman-Computer InteractionCarnegie Melon University

outline
Outline
  • Background
    • Ubicomp and context-awareness
  • Context-aware infrastructure
  • Context-aware applications
  • New area: Usability in context-awareness
    • Change in approach
    • Change in infrastructure support and interface
overview of ubicomp
Overview of Ubicomp
  • Computing embedded into everyday objects and environments, enhancing everyday activity
context aware computing
Context-Aware Computing
  • Context: situational elements relevant to interaction between user, application, environment
  • Context-awareness: situationally appropriate; apps adapting to context, increasing value to users
    • Using sensors and actuators to improve human-computer interaction and (computer-mediated) human-human and human-environment interaction
  • Examples: tour guide, reminders, diary retrieval
historical perspective
Historical perspective
  • Weiser’s 1991 visionary Scientific American article: “Computer for the 21st century”
    • Sal’s alarm clock and coffeemaker
    • Windows: Electronic trails of neighbors, kids, weather
    • Rear view mirror: coffee shop
    • Search for details in meeting information
  • Amazing amounts of context
  • But how do you build?
10 years of context aware computing research
10 years of context-aware computing research
  • Driven by a single problem
  • Reminder to buy milk
  • When to deliver: not time/location specific
  • How to deliver: appropriate modality
context toolkit
Context Toolkit
  • 1997: difficult to build simple context-aware applications
    • No abstractions for acquiring and using context from sensors or controlling actuators
    • Context coming from a number of distributed sources
    • No principles for designing applications
design process
Design process

Specification

Acquisition

Action

  • Specification
  • Acquisition
  • Delivery
  • Reception
  • Action
thesis context toolkit

Service

Actuator

Thesis: Context Toolkit
  • Context Toolkit to support programmers in building context-aware applications more easily

Application

Application

Aggregator

Interpreter

Interpreter

Widget

Widget

Discoverer

Context

Architecture

Sensor

Sensor

some success
Some Success
  • First of a series of toolkits that actually makes it easier to build context-aware applications
  • Toolkit in use by over 600 academic and corporate institutions
    • http://contexttoolikit.sourceforge.net
  • Lots of applications created
    • CHI 99, ISWC 99, UBICOMP 00, UBICOMP 01, UIST 02, CHI 03, HCI Journal 01, ToCHI 04
outline1
Outline
  • Motivation and background
    • Ubicomp and context-awareness
  • Context-aware infrastructure
  • Context-aware applications
  • Usability in context-awareness
context aware infrastructures
Context-Aware Infrastructures
  • CTK: privacy, uncertainty, end-user support
  • Nexus: context modeling, representation, and spatiotemporal processing
  • JCAF: quality of context and context modeling
  • Context Fabric: privacy, and modeling of context entities
  • PersonisAD: context models of entities and links between them, support for scrutability
  • Context Spaces: context modeling, inferencing of situations and probabilistic reasoning
outline2
Outline
  • Motivation and background
    • Ubicomp and context-awareness
  • Context-aware infrastructure
  • Context-aware applications
  • Usability in context-awareness
context aware applications
Context-Aware Applications
  • What is a context-aware application?
    • App that uses context to perform some behavior/service for its user(s)
  • 3 types of behaviors:
    • Display context
    • Automatically execute/adapt services
    • Tag captured information for easier retrieval
execute adapt services
Execute/Adapt Services
  • Select and perform a relevant service from multiple services
  • Change how a service behaves or is executed
tag information
Tag Information
  • Use context to aid in context-based retrieval
  • May be easier to remember context than specific information
so are we done
So are We Done?
  • Can support building and executing of context-aware apps
  • Are building interesting apps
  • But, we still don’t have widespread deployment
  • Commercially available apps are really quite simple
back to the milk reminder
Back to the Milk Reminder
  • Just making it easier to build applications is only part of the problem
    • Once you know what context to capture and how to use it, easier to execute
    • But how do you figure this out?
  • Lots of problems to be addressed on the user side
outline3
Outline
  • Motivation and background
    • Ubicomp and context-awareness
  • Context-aware infrastructure
  • Context-aware applications
  • Usability in context-awareness
what are the impediments
What are the Impediments?
  • Cost and difficulty in deploying infrastructure
  • Applications are of limited value
    • Not modeling the right tasks
  • Applications lacking in usability
    • Apps lacking in support for end-user control
    • Apps lacking in intelligibility
control in ubicomp
Control in Ubicomp
  • Performed two studies on how people respond to context-aware applications
  • Each study: ~20 people, diary, interviews
  • Presented variety of applications, different levels of interactivity and elicited responses
  • Serious issues with lack of control and privacy
  • Despite these, wanted to use these applications
  • UBICOMP 03, INTERACT 03
usability is key
Usability is Key
  • Dourish, Abowd and Mynatt, Bellotti and others: lack of control in these environments
  • Information collected, synthesized and used implicitly
  • How do I know what’s going on? (intellgibility)
  • How do I change what’s going on? (control)
  • Who gets this information? (privacy)
  • Is this another way to SPAM me? (overload)

Rich Gold “Dancing Toaster”

research focus feeling in control
Research Focus: Feeling in Control
  • End-User Intelligibility and Control: decide what actions an environment should take and understand environment state
    • CHI 04, Pervasive 06, Ubicomp 06, CHI 07, Ubicomp 07
research focus usability1
Research Focus: Usability
  • Privacy: decide what information to release when
    • CHI 03, Personal and Ubiquitous Computing Journal 04
research focus usability2
Research Focus: Usability
  • Peripheral Displays: present information without overwhelming
    • CHI 03, CHI 04, Pervasive 04, UIST 04, UIST 05, CHI 06
user centered approach
User-Centered Approach:
  • Improved modeling is required: real situations, real users, real problems --> real benefits
  • Ethnography
  • Need finding
  • Sense user behavior of interest
  • Create models of user behavior
  • Present information or execute services based on models
  • Study impact:
    • Domain impact
    • Impact on infrastructure design
    • Mental models
    • Interactive techniques, tools for control, feedback, modeling, evaluation…
challenges
Challenges
  • Leveraging real human context and realizing that you’re not really getting at human intention
    • Star Trek doors
      • Anyone remember the original Star Trek series?
      • Japanese doors
      • Wash doors?
challenges1
Challenges
  • Leveraging real human context and realizing that you’re not really getting at human intention
    • Clippy
end user control and intelligibility
End User Control and Intelligibility
  • Control: real situations are dynamic and cannot always be planned for a priori
    • Need to allow constant adaptation
      • Home: new people, new organization, new roles
      • Programmer can’t possibly hope to cover these situations
      • Must support end-users in maintaining control
      • Need support for this
end user control and intelligibility1
End User Control and Intelligibility
  • Intelligibility: users will reject systems they do not understand, particularly when these systems make mistakes
    • Amazon recommender, Clippy
    • Complex systems need to describe their behavior to some degree
study of mental models
Study of Mental Models
  • One group received up to 3 features that best explain current prediction
  • CHI 07
research problem
Research Problem

Disconnect: what should smart homes do and how

research problem1
Research Problem

Support what families value: time, activities, relationships

focus on dual income families
Focus on Dual-income Families
  • Largest segment of US population and growing
  • Live logistically complex lives that drive aggressive and experimental use of communication technology
why families feel out of control
Why Families Feel Out of Control

Swamped with responsibilities from kids activities and jobs

findings master busyness
Findings: Master “Busyness”

Parents want to master managing numerous activities

slide41

Soccer Example

GAME OR PRACTICE? HOME OR AWAY? WHAT TIME?

slide42

Soccer Example

WHO PICKS UP? WHO DROPS OFF? WHERE?

slide43

Soccer Example

SHIN GUARDS, KNEE PADS. CLEATS OR FLATS?

slide44

Soccer Example

PRACTICE UNIFORM? HOME OR AWAY UNIFORM?

slide45

Soccer Example

CLEAN CLOTHES THE NIGHT BEFORE

slide46

Soccer Example

JUICE BEFORE OR AFTER? ORANGES AT HALFTIME?

slide47

Breakdowns

LOST ON THE CALENDAR

slide48

Breakdowns

LAST MINUTE CARPOOL DECISIONS

slide49

Breakdowns

MOM’S OUT OF TOWN SO DAD’S IN CHARGE

slide50

Breakdowns

MOM’S OUT OF TOWN SO DAD’S IN CHARGE

slide51

Breakdowns

MOM’S OUT OF TOWN SO DAD’S IN CHARGE

slide52

Breakdowns

CREEPING RESPONSIBILITY

slide53

Breakdowns

CREEPING RESPONSIBILITY

slide54

Breakdowns

UNPREDICTABLE ORANGES

slide55

Breakdowns

SICK CHILD

slide56

Breakdowns

CASCADE EFFECTS

slide57

Mapprentice: Route Planning

  • Current routing systems are impoverished
    • Don’t take into account: time/day, weather, traffic
    • Don’t take knowledge of the user into account
  • Can build much smarter systems
    • Model driving behavior, use contextual cues, and produce better driving directions
    • Predict destination and route, suggest alternate routes to take care of errands, or to improve path
    • Diagnose capabilities of elder drivers and produce more appropriate routes

In-car Support

Web Support

GPS-enabled cars

slide58

IMPACT: Improving and Motivating Physical Activity using ContexT

  • 60% of Americans overweight/obese
  • Leading cause is lack of physical activity
  • Ethnography reveals subjects want expert advice, have difficulty with motivation and understanding data from exercise devices
  • Our solution: real-time feedback and point-of-decision prompts via mobile phone, expert agents to guide reflection and provide motivation, context
    • Motivate lifestyle change to be more physically active

Great job!!

GPS-enabled phone

Activity monitor

Visualization

slide59

Context-Based Memory Aids for Peoplewith Mild Cognitive ImpairmentsDey

  • 12 million Americans have Alzheimer’s/MCI:
    • memory loss, financial impact and caregiver burden
  • Study of patient/caregiver dyads to understand types of memory impairment, impacts of impairment, and role of technology
  • Our solution: rich capture of everyday experiences, integrate with contextual cues for enhanced playback and review, and integrate use into daily life
    • More accurate/complete account of life, reduced burden, increased care, and greater independence

unobtrusive sensors

rich multimedia

experience

engaging memory exercise

summary
Summary
  • Despite all the work in making context-aware applications easier to build, there’s lots to be done
  • Context is only an abstraction for user motivation/intent
  • Context is a part of everyday life and activities
  • A number of difficult usability and technical issues that need to be addressed
    • Model user needs and practices
    • Support end-user control
    • Support intelligibility of end-user systems
  • Still no solution to the milk reminder problem
questions
Questions?

anind@cs.cmu.edu

www.cs.cmu.edu/~anind