"Designing Human-Centred Pervasive Systems" - Summer School in cooperation with BEST (University of Patras Chapter)

BEST Patras Summer Course 2014 is taking place in Patras, Greece on 13-23th of July. Together with the students running the local BEST chapter, we organised this summer course involving 24 students from all over Europe. The purpose was to provide an introduction to Ubiquitous Computing and teach the students the process of converting an idea for a mobile app, to a design that can be tested with real participants. Below is the outline of this summer course. Credits for this course are as follows:

Academic Coordinator: Prof. J. Garofalakis
Scientific Program Coordinator: Dr. A. Komninos
Lectures and Interactive Session Support: Dr. A. Komninos, Mr. V. Stefanis, Mr. A. Plessas, Mr. J. Besharat, Ms. E. Lagiou

Designing Human-Centered Pervasive Systems
In the upcoming summer course, the topic is related with pervasive computing, often synonymously called ubiquitous computing which is an emerging field of research that brings in revolutionary paradigms for computing models in the 21st century. Tremendous developments in such technologies as wireless communications and networking, mobile computing and handheld devices, embedded systems, wearable computers, sensors, RFID tags, smart spaces, middleware, software agents, and the like, have led to the evolution of pervasive computing platforms as natural successor of mobile computing systems.

The goal of pervasive computing is to create ambient intelligence where network devices embedded in the environment provide unobtrusive connectivity and services all the time, thus improving human experience and quality of life without explicit awareness of the underlying communications and computing technologies. In this environment, the world around us (e.g., key chains, coffee mugs, computers, appliances, cars, homes, offices, cities, and the human body) is interconnected as pervasive network of intelligent devices that cooperatively and autonomously collect, process and transport information, in order to adapt to the associated context and activity.

In this course, the scope is related with presenting techniques and tools for building prototypes before actual development begins, in order to understand and analyze user and system requirements, completing thus a first iteration of a Human Centred Design process (ISO 9241-2010). During the course, participants will be given real-world case studies in the form of existing application prototypes, for which they will have the chance to design and conduct an evaluation in realistic urban settings. They will then participate in exercises involving the analysis of findings and the re-design of the applications. In that way, the participants should be able to understand the basic theoretical notions of the importance of HCD in Pervasive Computing and how to best use this methodology to develop new and exciting ideas into products.