The Ubiquitous Computing Research Group investigates the design and implementation of pervasive and ubiquitous computing environments. In particular, one of the major goals of the group’s research is to provide people with usable and secure ubiquitous computing systems that provide tangible benefits in an easy-to-use and engaging manner. To that extent, the group’s work focuses on both interfaces and infrastructures, and the social and economic environments that surround them. You can find the results of this in our list of publications.

Below you will find a list of current and past projects that should illustrate the types of problems that we are working on. If you are looking for a topic for your Master’s thesis or Bachelor project, see our list of available student theses.

Current Projects

  • GoodBrother: Network on Privacy-Aware Audio- and Video-Based Applications for Active and Assisted Living (September 2020 - September 2024)
    Funding Source: COST

    The aim of GoodBrother is to increase the awareness on the ethical, legal, and privacy issues associated to audio- and video-based monitoring and to propose privacy-aware working solutions for assisted living, by creating an interdisciplinary community of researchers and industrial partners from different fields (computing, engineering, healthcare, law, sociology) and other stakeholders (users, policy makers, public services), stimulating new research and innovation (COST Action CA19121)

Past Projects

  • BASE – Behavorial Analytics for Smart Environments (December 2020 - November 2023)
    Funding Source: SNF

    Behavioral analytics is widely recognized as being key to providing new services and solutions in many application domains. The key to behavioral analytics is to be able to identify and track individual user interactions across time and space (e.g., Web server logs). However, currently there are no viable mechanisms for service providers to track user interactions in the real world without raising significant privacy concerns. BASE develops a new privacy-aware method for understanding human behavior through activity traces (e.g., GPS). The work is based on state-of-the-art federated machine-learning approaches.

  • From Sharing to Caring: Examining Socio-Technical Aspects of the Collaborative Economy (March 2017 - March 2021)
    Funding Source: COST

    The terms “Sharing Economy” or “Collaborative Economy” have been commonly used in recent years to refer to a proliferation of initiatives, business models and forms of work.

    The main objective of this action is to develop a European network of actors (including scholars, practitioners, communities and policy makers) focusing on the development of collaborative economy models and platforms and on social and technological implications of the collaborative economy through a practice-focused approach.

    The specific aims of the proposal are:

    1. To develop a deeper understanding of the collaborative economy phenomenon in all its aspects, by studying in-depth the sociotechnical systems and human practices involved, comparing and reflecting upon local, regional, national and international initiatives;
    2. To discuss and critique elements of the current discourse on the collaborative economy, and proposing a richer definition and characterisation of the phenomenon;
    3. To formulate a European research agenda for the socio-technical aspects of the collaborative economy, including specifically the design of future technological platforms, the technical infrastructure, their legal, ethical and financial implications;
    4. To articulate a European research perspective on the collaborative economy, based on EU values of social innovation, and in line with the Europe 2020 strategy objective to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020.

    The Action will produce online resources including publications offering a comprehensive view of the current European collaborative economy and socio-technical and policy recommendations for the future.

  • SHARING21 – Future Digital Sharing Interfaces (October 2014 - September 2018)
    Funding Source: SNF

    The SHARING21 project aims at understanding current practices of sharing personal content, both explicitly (e.g., with friends and family) and implicitly (e.g., with service providers through the use of their services), and to uncover corresponding end-user concerns across a wide variety of content, in order to map the design space for future user interfaces that empower end-users to stay in control of their shared data in a world full of autonomous IoT devices.

  • PersonAAL – Improving Quality of Life and Remote Care (October 2015 - September 2018)
    Funding Source: EU AAL Programme

    The PersonAAL project aims at extending the time older people can live in their home environment by increasing their autonomy and assisting them in carrying out activities of daily living by means of intelligent and intuitive web applications enabling users to receive personalized and context dependent assistance directly in their own homes with the goal to improve quality of life and decrease healthcare delivery cost. In particular, the aim of this project is to provide older adults with useful and usable means for better managing their lifestyle. Such means should allow them to increase their awareness and control of their current lifestyle, by providing them with relevant and tailored information in an intuitive and natural manner.

  • CYBERPARKS: ICT and Public Spaces (April 2014 - March 2018)
    Funding Source: COST

    The Action deals with opportunities and risks ICTs offer to the user, via the appreciation, design and usage of public spaces. It exploits the benefits of interweaving a green experience with digital engagement via sharing knowledge, experiences and ideas, and analysing public spaces (COST Action TU1306)

  • Uncovering Privacy Concerns for Public Display Personalisation (July 2016 - June 2017)
    Funding Source: Google Faculty Grant

    The focus of this project is to understand personalization and privacy needs of actual public display users. The project will deploy a rich set of personalizable applications on an existing public display network deployed across a university campus, and distribute mobile phone applications (apps) to participants that let them personalize displays with various information feeds (e.g., bus schedules, Google+ feeds) automatically, i.e., as soon as the phone comes close to a display without manual intervention.

  • RECALL – Enhanced Human Memory (November 2013 - October 2016)
    Funding Source: EU FP7, FET Open

    RECALL aims to re-think and re-define the notion of memory augmentation. The project will harness recent developments in capture technology and information retrieval and develop a new paradigm for memory augmentation technologies that are technically feasible, desired by users, and beneficial to society. RECALL will build on contemporary memory theories and investigate how technology-augmented recall can be used to both re-enforce and attenuate memories.

    By combining technological interventions with basic research questions in memory psychology, RECALL plans to elevate memory augmentation technologies from a clinical niche application to a mainstream technology, initiating a major chance in the way we use technology to remember and to externalize memory. It will develop novel capture technologies and corresponding control mechanisms to automate the acquisition of personal memories, and investigate how feedback through ambient large displays and personal mobile devices can aid personal memory acquisition, retention, and attenuation.

    No such memory augmentation systems exist today and if RECALL is successful, their emergence will represent a radical transformation in the way we understand and manage human memory acquisition and recall.

    The RECALL project acknowledges the financial support of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme within the 7th Framework Programme for Research of the European Commission, under FET grant number: 612933.

  • APD – Attentive Public Displays (May 2012 - April 2016)
    Funding Source: Hasler Foundation

    The goal of the project is to create a system of attentive displays deployed in a crowded place that are able to grasp the situational context of its viewers and use this information to adapt their behavior. A 3D sensor will be used to gather the depth picture of the environment surrounding the display; employing computer vision algorithms, statistical “meta-behavior” of the crowd associated with a particular time or certain routines will be inferred. This information will then be used to adapt the behavior of the display to influence or control the behavior of the crowd.

  • SAPIENT – Supporting Fundamental Rights, Privacy and Ethics in Surveillance Technologies (March 2011 - June 2014)
    Funding Source: EU FP7, SEC

    SAPIENT is a 40-month Collaborative Project which aims to specify how and when smart surveillance should be used (or not) and its characteristics to be effective and scalable to rapidly adapt to changing situations. It will provide the Commission, data protection authorities and other stakeholders with a set of criteria for data protection and integrity that could be used to verify that surveillance systems and the sharing of information respect the privacy of citizens.

  • PALS – Privacy-Aware Location Sharing (April 2010 - August 2013)
    Funding Source: SNF

    Many consumers today willingly give up their current location information in exchange for location-based social services. This development poses great privacy risks. PALS aims at designing, implementing, and evaluating novel methods and tools to facilitate the privacy-aware sharing of location data with friends, strangers, and operators. Its goal is to offer a decentralized approach that supports all needed features of location sharing systems without the need to centrally collect location data.

  • PD-NET – Towards Future Pervasive Display Networks (May 2010 - June 2013)
    Funding Source: EU FP7, FET Open

    The PD-NET project aims to lay the scientific foundations for a new form of communications medium with the same potential impact on society as radio, television and the Internet. The goal is to explore the scientific challenges and to assess the new technologies required to enable the emergence of large scale networks of pervasive public displays and associated sensors.

  • LiSS: Living in Surveillance Societies (April 2009 - February 2013)
    Funding Source: COST

    The primary objective of the Action is to increase and deepen knowledge about living and working in the surveillance age, in order to better understand the consequences and impacts of enhanced surveillance, and subsequently to make recommendations about its future governance and practice.