Interfaces Human - Machines

All digital systems that interact with the environment, the assisted person and all those around him pose at least three types of problems that need addressing: Acceptability, Ethics, Security.

Ethics and security are are besides treated, we shall thus focus on what the acceptability imposes on the interactions between the man and the machine. The acceptability in the long term can only be done if the assisted person is at least in the system: reliability, usefulness, affordance, plasticity interfaces, multi-modality. The need for reliability and usefulness is obvious, against other dimensions justify a small development.

  • The Affordance is the ability of a system to make easy his own use. In the context of the help to the person we can understand that the ageing makes that simple things become complex even impossibles, it is thus necessary to integrate into the conception of objects an "adaptable" affordance which follows the evolution of the person.
  • The Plasticity of interfaces is the ability of an interface to support the helped person by presenting only services adapted to the context. Here it is the question of the place where we are, the services available at this location which become a priority, etc.
  • The Multi-modality is the ability of a system to be used by different channels of communication: gesture, voice, touch. This raises the problems of understanding and mutual understanding between the system and the person.
  • In addition, a final dimension related to ethics is important: what about the ascendancy of the system compared to humans. Is the system capable of deciding on the legitimacy of an action and of imposing it to the human being? Is it desirable?

Architecture of Embedded Systems

This dimension aims at the integration of technical features required in operational computer equipment. This research is based on the design and evaluation of prototypes. Indeed, the mechanisms designed to fulfill the needs of a given population are systematically entrusted to persons (real "samples" of the target population) who are experiencing life-size the deployed service.


The support of the dependent people can be largely improved thanks to technical helps. Among these, the environmental control allows the housing to provide support services to the user by exploiting the multi-source measures (home automation, multimedia, electrical signatures, etc.) from sensors placed in the environment and detect the activity of the inhabitants. A data mining process can identify behavioral patterns such services frequently, regularly or rarely used. The identification of uses scenarios will improve the quality of service and human security.

Emerging topics

Other research themes emerged during the various HAAL seminars:

  • Home automation protocols. For instance the xAAL system.
  • Mobile Robotics, Humanoid Robotic
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