This page describes the research, projects and people working together to advance the basic science and technology related to human-centered software engineering and its applications for cyber physical systems. The research is being conducted mainly as part of the platform DIGI-USER – Smart Services for Digitalization. Our main goal and daily activity is designing and evaluating interactive technology, systems and services from a human perspective.

Human-centric engineering deals with those attributes that quantify the quality of a system from the human perspective.  This includes usability, security, privacy, accessibility, adoption, acceptability, safety, and today sustainability that we conceive as the capacity to induce sustainable behavior for users including making users more aware about their daily impact on the environment and changing their mindset towards sustainability.

This mission is threefold:

  1. Building and validating design methods and theories for human-centric smart services and systems, especially in the context of the emerging cyber physical systems which are seen as a mechanism that is controlled or monitored by computer-based algorithms, tightly integrated with the Internet and its users.
  2. Formalizing the patterns of human-data interaction and user experiences for the design and evaluation of smart human-centric services and systems that integrate the digital and physical world.
  3. Using the patterns and design methods to develop smart data-intensive services to support innovation for the societal challenges

“Data/information and software technology (IST) is on the verge of another revolution, bigger that any time. Networked systems and embedded computers have the potential to change radically the way people interact with their environment, with each other, with systems and how systems interact also with each other. Networked systems are linking together a wide range of devices and sensors that will allow data to be collected, shared processed in unprecedented ways [Original Source: National Research Council Report (US), Embedded Everywhere, 2001]

The term “cyber-physical systems” (CPS) emerged in 2006, when it was coined by Helen Gill and the National Science Foundation in the United States. It has been defined differently; although it all about the frontier and seamless integration between the digital and physical worlds.  Applications of cyber-physical systems include smart grids, global environmental and disaster monitoring, medical and homeland security systems as well as autonomous transportation and automatic pilot avionics. These CPS are being facilitated by emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, the OGC’s Sensor Web Enablement (SWE), which is a standard for making sensors and sensor data repositories accessible via the Web and the emerging Internet of Things (IoT).

As the CPS infrastructure improves, attention can turn to the innovative human-data interaction techniques and interactive services that are needed to monitor and control networked physical objects such as cars, or in the near future why not also with trees, plants, forests and animals? What would this dialogue look like and how would it take place? Human-cyber-physical interactions are very difficult to model and fundamentally different from human-computer interaction models developed so far. Designing and validating such interactions is particularly challenging. It requires also to understand and identify the patterns of data visualizations and the visual mining process as CPS is also being seen as big data-centric systems.