Applied Research in domains of societal, cultural and industrial/market impact

Activities in this area focus on the development of innovative approaches and technological solutions in areas that are important to society, improve the quality of life and promote well-being. Examples of such implemented technologies, applications, and services include integrated information systems and e-government services, interactive systems for the preservation and presentation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, educational applications, interactive systems for smart cars, serious games, etc.

At the same time, the Laboratory has established strategic partnerships at an international level with significant partners to exploit its extensive know-how in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. In this context, applied research and targeted development of innovative solutions to problems and challenges arising from real societal needs are mainly capitalized. This results in the promotion to the market of mature research results in the form of original products and the provision of relevant consulting services.

Furthermore, the Laboratory develops and installs interactive systems in museums, airports, ports, exhibition spaces, and places of cultural interest regarding cultural heritage, nature, and the environment, but also education, entertainment, promotion of products, information provision, etc. More than 150 interactive systems have been installed in over 50 permanent or periodic exhibitions in Greece and abroad and have been used by hundreds of thousands of visitors. The design and development of these innovative interactive information systems combine applied research of cutting-edge technologies with advanced industrial design to create unique systems that provide usability and high aesthetics. These systems can operate independently, but many of them can also work together - as ensembles - providing holistic and personalized experiences to visitors in the spaces where they are installed.


Indicative Outcomes


A new framework for the digitization and preservation of Traditional Crafts (2022): A protocol for the representation of traditional crafts and the tools to implement this have been devised. The protocol is a method for the systematic collection and organization of digital assets and knowledge, their representation into a formal model, and their utilization for research, education, and preservation. A set of digital tools accompanies this protocol that enables the online curation of craft representations. The approach was elaborated and evaluated with craft practitioners in three case studies.

Interactive Visual Exploration of Big Relational Datasets (2022): A tool for accessing, analyzing, and visually exploring very large relational databases and data warehouses. It allows the user to define analytic queries by clicking on nodes and edges of the graph. The user actions are then translated into SQL group-by queries that are evaluated by the underlying database management system. Additionally, the interface allows the user to visualize the analysis results, and to interact with visualizations in order to explore the database content.

The Invisible Museum: A User-Centric Platform for Creating Virtual 3D Exhibitions with VR Support (2021): A user-centric platform that allows users to create interactive and immersive virtual 3D/VR exhibitions using a unified collaborative authoring environment. The platform itself was designed following a Human-Centered Design approach, with the active participation of museum curators and end-users. Content representation adheres to domain standards such as International Committee for Documentation of the International Council of Museums (CIDOC-CRM) and the Europeana Data Model and exploits state-of-the-art deep learning technologies to assist the curators by generating ontology bindings for textual data. The platform enables the formulation and semantic representation of narratives that guide storytelling experiences and bind the presented artifacts with their socio-historic context. Main contributions are pertinent to the fields of (a) user-designed dynamic virtual exhibitions, (b) personalized suggestions and exhibition tours, (c) visualization in web-based 3D/VR technologies, and (d) immersive navigation and interaction.

A unified framework for the anonymization, analysis, visualization and exploration of big data acquired from digital marketplaces (2021): A unified framework of applications aimed at the analysis, visualization, and exploration of big data while ensuring security and privacy. These applications provide the ability to analyze the risk of leaking personal data that may pass through a set of data, and also the ability to anonymize them. Furthermore, they facilitate the visualization and exploration of large datasets by combining previously owned datasets with those obtained from digital data marketplaces and displaying them through interactive dashboards. These dashboards can be adapted to the user's analysis framework requirements and provide data-drilling functionalities based on the type of data under analysis, thus allowing users to gain new insights that they could not have gained otherwise.

Innovative digital transformation and e-Goverment services (large-scale G2C services) (2021): Implementation of full-scale e-government digital services for processes related to citizens’ driving licenses and vehicles (e.g. driving license renewal, car transfer, etc.) to simplify interaction between the citizen and the official authorities.

Development of a Low-Cost Contactless Overhead Micrometer Surface Scanners(2021): This work refers to the design and implementation of a contactless scanner and its softwareproposed. The scanner regards the photographic digitization of planar and approximately planar surfaces and is proposed as a cost-efficient alternative to off-the-shelf solutions. The result is 19.8 Kppi micrometer scans, in the service of several applications. Accurate surface mosaics are obtained based on a novel image acquisition and image registration approach that actively seeks registration cues by acquiring auxiliary images and fusing proprioceptive data in correspondence and registration tasks. The device and operating software are explained, provided as an open prototype, and evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively.

Bubble measurement algorithm and software for data collected during the first boiling investigation on-board the International Space Station (2021): The Multiscale Boiling Experiment, which was conducted within two measurement campaigns on the International Space Station between 2019 and 2021. The experiment addresses fundamental questions about two-phase heat transfer during boiling processes. For this purpose, single or few subsequential bubbles are selectively ignited on a heated substrate using a short laser pulse. A detailed investigation of the phenomena is possible, as the boiling process is temporally slowed down and spatially enlarged in microgravity. Within the Multiscale Boiling Project, the undisturbed growth of the bubbles, the influence of a shear flow, and the influence of an electric field are investigated within the same test facility using FC-72 as working fluid. Within the project, thirteen research groups from eight countries are collaborating. Over 3000 data sets have been generated over an 11-month measurement period.

New methods and tools in Crime prevention and crime scene investigation (2021): A valuable aspect during crime scene investigation is the digital documentation of the scene. Traditional means of documentation include photography and in situ measurements from experts for further analysis. Although 3D reconstruction of pertinent scenes has already been explored as a complementary tool in investigation pipelines, such technology is considered unfamiliar and not yet widely adopted. This is explained by the expensive and specialised digitisation equipment that is available so far. However, the emergence of high-precision but low-cost devices capable of scanning scenes or objects in 3D has been proven as a reliable alternative to their counterparts. A new method for acquiring data for 3D reconstruction of various types of scenes is devised. Emphasis is placed on the applicability of each technique in a wide range of situations, ranging in type and size.

An algorithm and public reference dataset for Retinal image registration (2021): In this work, a registration framework that simultaneously estimates eye pose and shape is proposed. Corresponding points in the retinal images are utilized to solve the registration as a 3D pose estimation. This is the first method to perform retinal image registration combined with eye modelling. The method improves the state-of-the-art in accuracy of retinal registration for fundoscopy images, quantitatively evaluated in benchmark datasets annotated with ground truth.

Cloud-Native 5G Infrastructure and Network Applications (NetApps) for Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) (2021): A platform allowing SMEs and developers a lower entry barrier to the PPDR market, enabling them to build-up and experiment with their solutions in a cost effective way. The platform is based on an open Service Oriented Architecture and accommodates open access to 5G networks' resources, acting this way as an open source repository for PPDR 5G Network Applications (NetApps). The purpose of the federated platform is to provide sufficient resources to cover the entire range of the 3 ITU-defined service types (i.e. eMBB, mMTC and URLLC) and to deliver secure interoperability capabilities beyond vendor-specific implementation.

Monitoring health parameters of elders to support independent living and improve their quality of life (2021): A health monitoring system, which aims to provide a user-friendly way for elderly people to self-manage their general health and for their healthcare professionals and caregivers to monitor their health status. The system consists of three main modules: a mobile application for the elderly people which can connect to sensors that provide continuous readings of common vital signs (e.g., heart rate, blood oxygen level, and stress); a sound processing subsystem for speech recognition and detection of pathological conditions (e.g., coughing) in acquired sound signals; and, a web-based application for the healthcare professionals and caregivers of the elderly people who are given access rights to the health data.

Transmedia storytelling and enhanced immersive user experiences for interactive media (2021): An end-to-end solution for enhanced live production and streaming of popular esports games. The solution is based on several interconnected dashboards, centered around an inference engine ruling over events transpiring in the game. Its aim is to lend decision support in directorial and color commentary tasks undertaken by the production crew. Hence, it supports the broadcasting director in using data to create shots of rich visual storytelling, while generating automated running commentary for esports casters to adapt the broadcasting script on-the-fly. Deduced knowledge is linked to custom infographics that can be used to overlay the stream with visual summarisations of the action.

Adaptive transitions for automation in cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles (2020): An innovative and fully adaptive HMI framework, able to support driver/rider state monitoring-based transitions in automated driving. The HMI framework is applied in the target vehicles: passenger car, truck, bus, and motorcycle, and in seven different use cases.

Smart omni-channel consumer engagement in malls (2019): A model following an omni-channel consumer engagement approach, and blending at the same time the physical and digital shopping experience through an extended reality technology framework. The main benefits of the proposed approach are that it can be easily deployed in existing malls, as well as that it combines benefits from both physical and virtual shopping, being flexible to serve in the best possible way the evolving needs of customers. In this respect, malls of the near future can become appealing again to a wide consumer base and regain their lost allure.

Virtual 3D Environment for Cultural Heritage Artifacts (2017): The Virtual 3D Environment for Cultural Heritage Artifacts is a virtual reality application that allows users to grasp and manipulate three dimensional items located in a virtual environment of cultural heritage. As users approach the virtual environment, the lighting of the room adjusts according to their locations. Users have access to archaeological exhibits that can be viewed, rotated and magnified in the virtual environment. In addition, the system allows users to modify the lighting of the selected 3D object aiming to highlight its details (two draggable spotlights are enabled/disabled), auto rotating the exhibit along Y axis and resetting the exhibit to its initial position. The interaction of the user in the virtual reality environment is achieved using physical gestures. Users’ hands are displayed in the virtual world as three-dimensional virtual hands. Users can view and manage their position and direction as real world mapping is applied. In addition, users can use their left hand as a menu when the palm is facing the users’ eyes. This menu refers to the last item selected and can be pinned at any time using the pin button at the top right side. It contains an indicative title and image, along with a short textual description. Furthermore, actions on the corresponding exhibit can be applied through the options at the bottom side of the menu.

AmiSim (2017): A virtual reality tour simulating existing physical spaces and enabling users to navigate in the virtual world in order to extract information. AmiSim is a framework that simulates existing physical spaces enabling users to navigate in the virtual world in order to extract information. The system offers an immersive user experience giving users the sense that they were there, although their physical presence is not necessary. The system employs a head mounted VR headset (Oculus Rift) for rendering virtual worlds stereoscopically. In addition, a special lightweight camera capable of full hand articulation tracking (LeapMotion) is included. Alternatively, motion controllers (Oculus Touch) can be used as an additional means of interaction, providing a more precise albeit more obtrusive medium. Finally, a Kinect One sensor is a complementary camera employed for embedding users’ figures in the virtual environment via user tracking and background subtraction. ICS-FORTH’s Ambient Intelligence (AmI) Facility has been used as a case study for the creation of a virtual reality tour with AmiSim. During the virtual tour, the system allows users to extract information through digital interactive installations, integrated in the virtual environment in accordance with their physical location while creating a realistic and immersive user experience.

Heraklion Smart (2017): The Heraklion Smart City project is a combined effort by 4 laboratories of the Institute of Computer Science that aims to implement an Internet of Things (IoT) and Open Data infrastructure for the city of Heraklion, focusing on the application of mature research and development outcomes in a Smart City context. These outcomes mainly fall under the domains of Telecommunication and Networks, Information Systems, Signal Processing and Human Computer Interaction. Currently, the IoT infrastructure consists of the following nodes a) Environmental and weather monitoring, (b) Air quality monitoring, (c) Water quality and management monitoring, (d) Smart parking. Furthermore, the intelligence of the Smart city platform is provided through an open data middleware and portal, a data analytics platform and an open API for third party innovation. The Smart City web portal serves as a repository for storing and distributing the municipality's Open Data as well as an information hub with Open Data visualization and exploratory search capabilities.

CocinAR (2017): CocinAR is an Augmented Reality (AR) system that has been developed to help the teaching of pre-schoolers (including cognitive impaired children) how to prepare simple meals. It includes a variety of exercises and mini games, aiming to instruct children: (i) which meals are appropriate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, (ii) how to cook simple meals (e.g. bread with butter and honey, lettuce salad, pasta with tomato sauce, etc.), and (iii) fundamental rules of safety and hygiene that should be applied during the food preparation process. The system supports multimodal input, utilizing tangible objects on a table-top surface and multimedia output available in textual, auditory and pictorial form. Profiling functionality is supported, allowing the system to adapt to the needs and preferences of each individual user, while an extensive analytics framework that allows the trainers to monitor the progress of their students is provided. CocinAR consists of a computer, a high-resolution projector, a simple wooden table, an infrared camera and a high-resolution camera. With the aim to support an immersive user experience, the system is designed to “camouflage” itself in a way that none of the equipment used is visible to the users, leaving visible only the plain wooden table.

3D visualization of big data (2017): Interactive 3D visualization of Big Data applied in the context of data centres. The system renders a virtual area of real data centres preserving the actual arrangement of their servers and visualizes their current state while it notifies users for potential server anomalies. The visualization includes several condition indicators, updated in real time, as well as a color-coding scheme for the current servers’ condition referring to a scale from normal to critical. Furthermore, the system supports on demand exploration of an individual server providing detailed information about its condition, for a specific timespan, combining historical analysis of previous values and the prediction of potential future state. Additionally, natural interaction through hand-gestures is supported for 3D navigation and item selection, based on a computer-vision approach.

Game scoring system (2017): The purpose of the system is to provide with functions for score keeping and ranking, along with the ability to invoke notifications for the game (serious or fun). The system also provides adaptation for the user (if the game allows it ). This comes in the form of a “score boost” in the form of icon sets used for score display by the game.

Rewarding schemes for User-Generated Video Online Communities (2017): A gamification rewarding mechanism in order to motivate users towards knowledge sharing, encourage active engagement, and foster high quality contributions.

ConstrAct (2017): A tool which supports teachers in managing the content of educational min-games through an intuitive user interface. It supports the elaboration of student-personalized scenarios for games such Home-Game, Money-Game, and CocinAR).

ADAS&ME (2017): A system supporting automotive user interface adaptation. The systems includes: (i) a user profiling mechanism and logic in the form of an ontology model offering static information about the driver as well as dynamic information about the driver, environment and driving context; (ii) a GUI toolkit of adaptive and personalizable user controls, integrating personalization capabilities and abstracting them from software developers, supporting triggering personalization in a transparent way; (iii) a central stack screen GUI application incorporating map viewing, routing and navigation features, targeted to mitigate range anxiety in electric vehicles and provide assistance provide assistance in case the available range is limited or insufficient; (iv) a rule-based infrastructure for adapting and personalizing HMI elements and GUI interaction based on the driver profile and state, environmental situation and driving context; (v)a demonstrator application showcasing the personalization of GUI applications and personalized activation of HMI elements within a virtual car environment.

Augmented Reality Mirror(2016): An Augmented Reality (AR) mirror which provides motion-based interaction to the users and suggests various outfits. The system can be easily in-stalled inside or at the window of a retail shop, enabling the users to stand in front of it and see themselves wearing clothes that the system suggests while they are able to naturally interact with the system remotely, using gestures, in order to like or dislike the recommended outfit. The users can also choose to post photos wearing the proposed clothes on their social media accounts, as well as to buy the clothes either directly from the store or on-line.

Region of Crete eServices (2016): Innovative IT solution developed for the region of Crete, and in particular the Directorate of Transport and Communications, consisting of several services and applications that support and deal with the digital transformation of the organization and address major operational problems, such as poor levels of service, lack of trust and transparency issues. The overall implementation approach adopted for this project was based on best practices in User-Centred Design (UCD), empowered with concepts of Participatory Design and coupled with the agile software development methodology. The currently available applications and services include e-services for citizens, such as a Web portal available to PC and mobile devices, an appointment service including the electronic submission of documents, a smart queue for citizens without pre-booked appointments, an interactive touch screen information systems in waiting areas, as well as administrative and back-office applications, including citizen management, business intelligence / analytics for managers, notification screens in waiting areas, physical record tracking and assignment system, system administration, content management system. The system is currently publicly deployed and in use, and has won a number of best practice prizes and awards.

Cognitus (2016): A context aware, multi-channel interactive media delivery, implemented through of a cloud based Software oriented Architecture (SoA) infrastructure, based on microservices, for the acquisition, enrichment and context aware delivery of content to multiple-types of devices.

Home Game (2016): Home Game is an educational game that aims to familiarize pre-schoolers (including cognitive impaired children) with household objects, the overall home environment and the daily activities that take place in it. In addition to touch based interaction, the game supports physical interaction through printed cards on a tabletop setup by detecting and tracking the cards placed on the game board. Home Game features six types of mini-games and an extensive analytics framework that allows the trainers to monitor (even in real-time) the progress of their students. The system comprises a touch screen, a computer, and a high resolution camera overlooking the area in front of the screen. A custom casing has been designed especially for this game to hide the technology from sight.

Money Game (2016): An educational game targeted to pre-school age children and children with cognitive disabilities. The goal of the game is to familiarize children with money exchanges through virtual purchases and foster appropriate shopping and money exchange behavior. It can be played using the mouse but also real money.

ACTA (2015): ACTA (ACTivity Analysis), a general purpose finite state machine (FSM) description language for rapid prototyping of smart games. ACTA facilitates smart game design by professionals who are not familiar with traditional programming languages. Professionals are able to model the game’s logic and interaction using a straightforward and intuitive notation which can be customized for every different game. In order to support a customized scripting vocabulary, a reflection-oriented model was adopted allowing dynamic linking between ACTA generated rules and multiple data types. Moreover, developers can use ACTA not only for developing event-driven sequential logic games, but also for applications of behavior composed of a finite number of states, transitions between those states and actions, as well as for applications based on rules driven workflows. ACTA facilitates the development of .NET applications by integrating into the Windows Workflow Rule engine. The ACTA IDE provides comprehensive facilities to authors and programmers for scripting in ACTA and generates the corresponding ruleset which in turn is given to the WF rule engine for evaluation.

PaaSage (2014): Design of a novel social networking platform for professionals targeting the community of DevOps engineers. The network combines community knowledge with information from two repositories, Chef Supermarket and the CAMEL repository of application models and executions, to improve the configuration, deployment, and optimization of distributed multi-cloud applications, tasks of major interest to cloud deployment specialists. The design of the professional network applied best practices aiming to support the creation of a vigorous community, to allow users to retrieve timely and appropriate information and to carry out actions in a small number of steps.