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Prototyping and analysing ubiquitous computing environments using multiple layers

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Michael HarrisonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


If ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) is to enhance physical environments then early and accurate assessment of alternative solutions will be necessary to avoid costly deployment of systems that fail to meet requirements. This paper presents APEX, a prototyping framework that combines a 3D Application Server with a behaviour modeling tool. The contribution of this framework is that it allows exhaustive analysis of the behaviour models that drive the prototype while at the same time enabling immersive exploration of a virtual environment simulating the proposed system. The development of prototypes is supported through three layers: a simulation layer (using OpenSimulator); a modelling layer (using CPN Tools) and a physical layer (using external devices and real users). APEX allows movement between these layers to analyse different features, from user experience to user behaviour. The multi layer approach makes it possible to express user behaviour in the modelling layer, provides a way to reduce the number of real users needed by adding simulated avatars, and supports user testing of hybrids of virtual and real components as well as exhaustive analysis. This paper demonstrates the approach by means of an example, placing particular emphasis on the simulation of virtual environments, low cost prototyping and the formal analysis capabilities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Silva JL, Campos JC, Harrison MD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Human-Computer Studies

Year: 2014

Volume: 72

Issue: 5

Pages: 488-506

Print publication date: 01/05/2014

Online publication date: 06/03/2014

Acceptance date: 03/02/2014

Date deposited: 14/12/2015

ISSN (print): 1071-5819

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9300

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2014.02.001


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Funder referenceFunder name
ERDF - European Regional Development Fund - through the COMPETE Programme (operational programme for competitiveness)
FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-015095National Funds through the FCT - Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology)
SFRH/BD141179/2007Fundacao para a Ciencia e Tecnologia (FCT, Portugal)