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Thesis link: http://repository.tue.nl/735539
1. Suppose you want to connect a sleep monitor you just purchased to the lamp on your bedside table, so that it can help you to wake up at the right time in your sleep cycle. While it is technically possible, given the networked capabilities of modern devices, it is still cumbersome or difficult to achieve for many users.
2. Network configuration settings are usually hidden deep within menu structures on devices, and if the devices are from different manufacturers there is a chance that they are not compatible with one another.
What we would rather like to have an easy way of indicating that I want to exchange information on this device with that device, or use this device to control something on that device.
1. The problem is that designers and developers of devices still have a strong device-oriented view, while users’ needs are often more easily resolved within a system-oriented view.
2. Existing systems focus more on the technologies used, like Bluetooth or WiFi, or locks you into a manufacturer-specific ecosystem.
The technological design described in the dissertation consists of an ontology and software framework that allows device developers to describe devices in such a way that they do not have to be designed to work together, but can still exchange information and share their functionality. This in turn enables users to explore and configure connections on a high semantic level without bothering them with low-level details.
1. A user interaction model in the dissertation shows the various concepts that are involved in a user interaction and how they work together. Based on the interaction model, a theory of semantic connections was created, where semantic connections were defined as the meaningful connections and relationships between entities in a smart environment.
2. Ontologies are formal representations of concepts in a domain of interest and the relationships between these concepts. An ontology was created that enables developers to describe the capabilities of devices, the connections between them as well as the events that occur when people interact with these devices.
3. A software architecture that implements the publish/subscribe messaging paradigm and a semantic reasoning engine was developed during the course of the work.
4. A pilot deployment was used to validate the design. A performance evaluation was performed, as well as a usability analysis using a developer questionnaire based on an existing usability framework.
5. Ontology design patterns identified during the course of the work are documented in the dissertation.
The ontologies described in the dissertation allow developers to describe the capabilities of devices, the connections between them and the events that are generated by people interacting with them. The ontology and software framework enables devices to discover each other’s functionality and make use of it, enabling serendipitous inte