In the early days of cinema, its inventors produced simple film clips. Because little
was known about people’s perceptions, behaviors, expectations, and reactions,
the field did not go far. The maturation of film as a medium occurred only when
engineers and scientists began to work hand in hand with designers and artists to
achieve a balance between science, engineering, and art.
Like early film, today’s many new technologies do not exist in a vacuum. Rather,
they powerfully affect people at work, at home, and on the street both individually
and socially, impacting the way we interact with each other, the way we design and
construct our buildings and cities, and the way we conduct daily life. However,
many of these technologies are not well designed for the masses and many are imple-
mented without fully taking into account the way people perceive and interact with
information, and how their use may influence social behavior. This renders them
much less effective than they could be.
Because of the pervasive nature and encompassing character of technologies that
interface with people in different daily life environments, those who design, develop,
and implement them have an important—and unprecedented—responsibility to
incorporate user concerns and behavio r norms in their design, development, and
implementation efforts. Technologists are good in their respective areas, such as
writing code and designing systems, but they generally do not have the necessary
understanding of or experience in how people perceive information, interact socially,
and use and interact with technology.
Human-centered computing (HCC ) has emerged from the convergence of multi-
ple disciplines and research areas that concern understanding human behavior,
human communication, and the design of computational devices and interfaces.
These areas include computer science, socio logy, psychology, cognitive science,
engineering, the arts, and graphic and industrial design.
Human-Centric Interfaces for Ambient Intelligence addresses these broad areas
within the framework of Ambient Intelligence (AmI). Its fundamental message is
Ser ving the user should be the central aim of an AmI application.
A sy stem should not demand specific training or technical knowledge on the
part of the user if the intention is to achieve natural and efficient interaction.
Presented here is a snapshot of the state of the art in human-centric interface (HCI)
design for ambient intelligence that lays out the fundamental concepts and intro-
duces recent advances in practical application. The editors and contributors are
well-known experts in signal and speech processing, computer vision, multimodal
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