An Activity-Based Approach to the Design of User Assistance in Intelligent Environments

Christoph Stahl, Dominikus Heckmann, Michael Schneider, Alexander Kröner

In: Proceedings of AMI-08 Workshop: "Capturing Ambient Assisted Living Needs". AMI Workshop on Capturing Ambient Assisted Living Needs located at AmI 08 November 19 Nürnberg Germany Communications in Computer and Information Science 32 Springer Online Proceedings 2008.


Designing user assistance systems in intelligent environments poses many challenges. The system has to provide useful support for its user in everyday situations, while keeping the user interface as simple as possible. This requires a well-founded understanding of the user’s needs, and deep knowledge of pervasive human-computer technology, such as RFID sensors and computer vision. In this paper, we present a new design method, based on Activity Theory, and a toolkit that supports the designer of ambient intelligence systems. The toolkit integrates a geometric location model with a symbolic activity model, so that the typical activities of the user can be analyzed with respect to the environment in order to identify useful assistance features. Furthermore, the system supports the designer to make the necessary decisions for the instrumentation of the environment, i.e. which sensors to use and where to place them.

AmI2008-AAL-stahl-et-al.pdf (pdf, 76 KB )

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz