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2021 Journal article Open Access OPEN

The impact of serious games with humanoid robots on mild cognitive impairment older adults
Manca M., Paterno F., Santoro C., Zedda E., Braschi C., Franco R., Sale A.
The number of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) older adults is increasing; thus, it becomes more and more important to provide them with support to avoid, or at least slow down, their cognitive decline. To this end, interactive serious games can play an important role. So far, most of them have been deployed through tablets, which represent a cost-effective solution, yet offering only limited possibilities for truly engaging such users in a multimodal manner. However, emerging humanoid robots, through their physical embodiment and human-like attributes, including facial expressions and body language, may open up new possibilities in more effectively engaging MCI older adults during repetitive cognitive training. We present a study aiming to better understand the impact of humanoid robots in supporting serious games for such users. In particular, we investigate how seniors with Mild Cognitive Impairments relate to and perceive serious games accessed through humanoid robots, as part of a training programme aimed to improve their cognitive status. For this purpose, two versions of a music-based memory game have been designed by a multi-disciplinary team, one for humanoid robots and one for tablets. We report on its use during a between-subject study that involved MCI seniors, and discuss their experience. The results show that the robot was received with more enthusiasm by the older adults, thus improving their level of engagement.Source: International journal of human-computer studies (Print) 145 (2021). doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2020.102509
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2020.102509

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2021 Journal article Open Access OPEN

Remote monitoring of end-user created automations in field trials
Manca M., Paterno F., Santoro C.
This paper presents how the TAREME (Trigger-Action Rule Editing, Monitoring, Executing) platform provides support for executing and analysing personalized automations in Internet of Things scenarios. The platform allows the creation and execution of trigger-action personalization rules that can change the state of connected smart objects and devices, send alarms or reminders, and modify applications' state depending on contextual events. This paper focuses on how the platform supports analytics about the actual use of the rules and provides associated information, which can be useful to better understand users' personalization needs. Such features have been deployed in a first round of six trials, which have shown the feasibility of the approach and reported fruitful feedback.Source: Journal of ambient intelligence & humanized computing (Print) (2021). doi:10.1007/s12652-021-03239-0
DOI: 10.1007/s12652-021-03239-0

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2021 Conference article Open Access OPEN

The transparency of automatic accessibility evaluation tools
Parvin P., Palumbo V., Manca M. Paternò F.
Several web accessibility evaluation tools have been put forward to reduce the burden of identifying accessibility barriers for disabled people. One common issue in using accessibility evaluation tools in practice is that the results provided by different tools are often variable. Such variability may confuse the users who may not understand the reasons behind it, and thus limits the possible adoption of such tools. Hence, there is a need to shed light on the tools' actual functioning, indicate what criteria they should adopt to be transparent and to help users better interpret their results. In this communication paper, we discuss such issues, analyse how they have been addressed by a representative set of tools, and provide useful indications for obtaining user-centred accessibility evaluations.Source: W4A '21: 18th Web for All Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 19-20/04/2021
DOI: 10.1145/3430263.3452436

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2021 Conference article Open Access OPEN

Comparative analysis of composition paradigms for personalization rules in IoT settings
Gallo S., Manca M., Mattioli A., Paternò F., Santoro C.
The rapid pervasive diffusion of Internet of Things technologies has opened up many opportunities for people to directly personalise the behaviour of surrounding objects and devices based on the dynamic events that can occur. To this end, several tailoring environments have been proposed supporting the enduser creation of trigger-action rules. Such tools can support different composition paradigms. In this paper we present a study that analyses three composition paradigms (graphical wizard, block-based, and conversational) to better understand how well they support rule creation activities. In order to make the analysis consistent we considered three implementations of such composition paradigms supporting the same set of triggers and actions. We have carried out a first user study in order to gather empirical feedback for substantiating our analysis, which provides indications of the pros and cons of each approach.Source: IS-EUD 2021 - 8th International Symposium on End-User Development, pp. 53–70, Online conference, 06-08/07/2021
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-79840-6_4

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2021 Conference article Open Access OPEN

Personalization in a paper factory
Manca M., Paternò F., Santoro C.
The purpose of this work is to explore the potentialities of a personalization platform in industrial settings. We report on a case study in the paper factory domain, in which the industrial aspects identified with relevant experts through interviews have been simulated and connected with a personalization platform. A first user test has been carried out with a representative set of users, which has provided useful and encouraging feedback in terms of the potentialities of the approach in industrial settings.Source: IS-EUD 2021 - 8th International Symposium on End-User Development, pp. 102–118, Online conference, 06-08/07/2021
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-79840-6_7

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2021 Conference article Open Access OPEN

The role of augmented reality in smart home settings
Mattioli A., Manca M., Paternò F., Santoro C.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a growing trend in technology with countless applications in different domains. However, not much attention has been devoted to the smart home setting and how its application can be used to allow users to customise their living spaces. In this paper, we describe the implementation of two methods for recognising objects with AR, and how an End-User Development (EUD) approach to a smart home can take full advantage of these techniques to provide personalisable and more meaningful experiences to users.Source: INTERACT 2021 - 18th IFIP TC13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Bari, 30 - 03/09/2021

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2020 Journal article Open Access OPEN

Flexible automatic support for web accessibility validation
Broccia G., Manca M., Paternò F., Pulina F.
Automatic support for web accessibility validation needs to evolve for several reasons The increasingly recognised importance of accessibility implies that various stakeholders, with different expertise, look at it from different viewpoints and have different requirements regarding the types of outputs they expect. The technologies used to support Web application access are evolving along with the associated accessibility guidelines. We present a novel tool that aims to provide flexible and open support for addressing such issues. We describe the design of its main features including support for recent guidelines and tailored results presentations, and report on first technical and empirical validation s that have provided positive feedbackSource: Proceedings of the ACM on human-computer interaction 4 (2020). doi:10.1145/3397871
DOI: 10.1145/3397871

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2020 Conference article Open Access OPEN

Integrating Alexa in a Rule-Based Personalization Platform
Manca M., Parvin P., Paternò F., Santoro C.
Vocal assistants are becoming widely used, but their potentialities have not yet been completely exploited. For instance, while assistants such as Alexa are increasingly boasting compatibility with a large set of third-party services, the possibility for end-users to personalize the joint behaviour of such connected services (including the voice-based ones) in a flexible manner seems not sufficiently explored yet. In this paper, we present how the voice-based support offered by Alexa has been integrated with a rule-based personalization platform to support the creation of trigger-action rules enhanced with voice-based support. This integration opens up the possibility for users without programming knowledge to specify and include voice-based triggers and voice-based actions in their rules. These rules can be composed of events and commands that can involve a variety of sensors and connected objects. To this aim, a novel solution has been developed, which also aims to overcome some limitations that have been found in currently available vocal assistants, e.g., the issue of unsupported languages, thus lowering the barriers for their ultimate adoption and everyday use. Indeed, the integrated platform offers the possibility to play the vocal notifications/reminders contained in relevant personalization rules in any language, including those not currently supported by Alexa.Source: EAI GOODTECHS 2020, pp. 108–113, Virtual conference, 15-17/09/2020
DOI: 10.1145/3411170.3411228

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2020 Conference article Open Access OPEN

Adaptation in Humanoid Robots Serious Games with for Mild Cognitive Impairment Older Adults
Manca M., Paternò F., Santoro C., Zedda E.
Since the number of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) older adults is increasing, it becomes more and more important to provide them with support to avoid the progression of their cognitive decline to dementia. To this regard, interactive serious games can play an important role. However, while most of them have been deployed mainly through tablets, the current emerging humanoid robots are opening up novel possibilities to this regard. In this position paper we aim to describe our current research interest in better understanding the impact of humanoid robots in supporting serious games for such users.Source: IUI 2020: Intelligent User Interfaces, pp. 11–13, Cagliari, 17-20/03/2020

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2019 Journal article Open Access OPEN

A model-based framework for mobile apps customization through context-dependent rules
Manca M., Paternò F., Santoro C.
The advent of the Internet of Things and mobile applications has made the possible contexts of use more and more varied, and creates new challenges for user interface developers. Although model-based approaches aim to support the generation of applications for different implementation technologies, limited attention has been paid to how to exploit them for novel context-dependent applications. We present a model-based framework that allows developers to flexibly customize their mobile apps to react to events not foreseen in the initial versions. It is composed of an authoring environment supporting the definition of model-based descriptions and generating mobile apps from them. The authoring environment allows developers to enrich the dynamic behaviour of the generated applications through trigger-action rules. The resulting versions of the apps can provide customized behaviour according to the actual contexts of use. The authoring environment supports efficient development of such customizations. We show its potential by describing an example application, and report on a first test with developers.Source: Universal access in the information society (Print) 18 (2019): 1–17. doi:10.1007/s10209-018-0620-x
DOI: 10.1007/s10209-018-0620-x

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2019 Journal article Open Access OPEN

Supporting end-user debugging of trigger-action rules for IoT applications
Manca M., Paternò F., Santoro C., Corcella L.
End users need tools to enable them to control and personalise Internet of Things (IoT) applications, which may involve hundreds of interconnected objects. Trigger-action programming has shown to be a useful support for this purpose because it allows users to easily associate dynamic events with the activation of desired effects. End User Development (EUD) tools aim to allow even users without programming experience to define the behaviour of IoT applications. However, users may define rules triggering various actions that may be in conflict, or may specify rules that do not result in the intended behaviour. Although such situations can often occur, there seems to be a lack of tools able to help users understand whether the specified rules actually bring about the desired behaviour and, if not, the reasons why they fail. We present an original solution for filling this gap, which takes into account the specific aspects of trigger-action rules. We describe the design and implementation of this debugging support, and then discuss the results of a first user test.Source: International journal of human-computer studies (Print) 123 (2019): 56–69. doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2018.11.005
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2018.11.005

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2019 Conference article Open Access OPEN

Trigger-action programming for personalising humanoid robot behaviour
Leonardi N., Manca M., Paternò F., Santoro C.
In the coming years humanoid robots will be increasingly used in a variety of contexts, thereby presenting many opportunities to exploit their capabilities in terms of what they can sense and do. One main challenge is to design technologies that enable those who are not programming experts to personalize robot behaviour. We propose an end-user development solution based on trigger-action personalization rules. We describe how it supports editing such rules and its underlying software architecture, and report on a user test that involved end user developers. The test results show that users were able to perform the robot personalization tasks with limited effort, and found the trigger-action environment usable and suitable for the proposed tasks. Overall, we show the potential for using trigger-action programming to make robot behaviour personalization possible even to people who are not professional software developers.Source: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Glasgow, 04-09/05/2019
DOI: 10.1145/3290605.3300675

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2019 Journal article Open Access OPEN

Enabling personalisation of remote elderly assistance
Corcella L., Manca M., Nordvik J. E., Paternò F., Sanders A. M., Santoro C.
One of the goals of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) solutions is to extend the time that elderly people can live independently in their preferred environments by using ICT technologies for personal healthcare. However, in order to be optimal, remote monitoring services and health-related interventions should be strongly personalised to specific individuals' requirements, preferences, abilities and motivations, which can vary among the elderly, and even dynamically evolve over time for the same person depending on changing user needs and context-dependent conditions. In this paper we present an End User Development (EUD) tool for the personalisation of context-dependent assistance by non-technical users in the AAL domain. In particular, we have considered applications for remotely monitoring and assisting elderly people at home through sending multimedia messages and reminders, as well as changing the state of various domestic appliances (e.g. lamps, heating system, TV) and devices available in the context surrounding the user. The design and development of the tailoring environment has been carried out in an iterative manner, informed by the feedback that was gathered through empirical evaluations done with older adults and caregivers.Source: Multimedia tools and applications 78 (2019): 1–27. doi:10.1007/s11042-019-7449-z
DOI: 10.1007/s11042-019-7449-z

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2019 Conference article Open Access OPEN

Analyzing Trigger-Action Programming for Personalization of Robot Behaviour in IoT Environments
Manca M., Paternò F., Santoro C.
The rising spread of humanoid robots in various settings of human life, and their increasing affordability, as well as the massive adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) in various scenarios have made End User Development (EUD) for robotic and IoT applications an interesting research direction. In particular, in the EUD field, trigger-action rules have become popular for their simple structure, which enables users to create rules to implement their desired personalization. Such rules can be a precious source of information for various goals: understanding the aspects people are most interested in, the types of routines they would like to have, the kind of support/automation they would expect from the robot, and the environment in which the robot is immersed. However, since the number of rules that could be generated using such EUD tools could be significant, manual analysis of rules does not seem a viable solution. In this paper we discuss how a visual analytics tool supporting filtering, exploration and analysis of data generated by a EUD tool for programming humanoid robots immersed in IoT environments can be helpful for deriving relevant information associated with the personalization that users express through rules. The analysis can provide designers and developers of EUD tools and associated customizable applications with useful insights for improving the tools and the robotic applications themselves, and facilitate their adoption.Source: 7th International Symposium, IS-EUD 2019, pp. 100–114, Hatfield, 10-12/07/2019
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-24781-2_7

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2019 Conference article Open Access OPEN

Improving Tools that Allow End Users to Configure Smart Environments
Ardito C., Costabile M. F., Desolda G., Manca M., Matera M., Paternò F., Santoro C.
The widespread introduction of the Internet of Things into people's daily lives calls for approaches that allow even unskilled end users to autonomously configure their own smart environments. Various tools, either research or commercial, are available, which allow end users to combine smart objects and services for creating applications that meet their needs. However, challenging issues do persist, including interaction paradigms adequate to end users, as well as the ability to control that the created applications will do what they are intended to. This work-in-progress proposes the integration of two recently developed tools, in order to overcome some limitations of the existing solutions.Source: 7th International Symposium, IS-EUD 2019, pp. 244–248, Hatfield, 10-12/07/2019
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-24781-2_24

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2019 Journal article Open Access OPEN

A Personalisation Platform for Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairments
Manca M., Parvin P., Paternò F., Santoro C., Zedda E.
The AAL PETAL project has developed a platform for personalising remote assistance of older adults with mild cognitive impairments. The platform is targeted at caregivers without programming knowledge in order to help seniors in their daily activities at home.Source: ERCIM news (2019): 39–40.

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2019 Conference article Open Access OPEN

End user personalization of social humanoid robots
Paterno F., Manca M., Santoro C.
In this position paper we present some research challenges for end user personalization of social humanoid robots. We introduce the motivations for addressing such challenges and the main features of the type of robots that we want to consider. We discuss some initial research efforts that have recently been put forward in this area, and the type of solutions that have been proposed in order to facilitate the development activities for people without programming experience. We then identify and discuss some research challenges that can be important to address in the near future in order to better exploit such emerging technologies.Source: HCI Engineering 2019 - Methods and Tools for Advanced Interactive Systems and Integration of Multiple Stakeholder Viewpoints, pp. 83–87, Valencia, Spain, 18 June, 2019

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2018 Journal article Open Access OPEN

Real-time anomaly detection in elderly behavior with the support of task models
Parvin P., Chessa S., Manca M., Paternò F.
With today's technology, elderly can be supported in living independently in their own homes for a prolonged period of time. Monitoring and analyzing their behavior in order to find possible unusual situation helps to provide the elderly with health warnings at the proper time. Current studies are focusing on the elderly daily activity and the detection of anomalous behaviors aiming to provide the older people with remote support. To this aim, we propose a real-time solution which models the user daily routine using a task model specification and detects relevant contextual events occurred in their life through a context manager. In addition, by a systematic validation through a system that automatically generates wrong sequences of tasks, we show that our algorithm is able to find behavioral deviations from the expected behavior at different times by considering the extended classification of the possible deviations with good accuracy.Source: Proceedings of the ACM on human-computer interaction 2 (2018). doi:10.1145/3229097
DOI: 10.1145/3229097

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2018 Contribution to conference Open Access OPEN

Trigger-action programming for context-aware elderly support in practice
Chesta C., Corcella L., Manca M., Paternò F., Santoro C.
Remote monitoring services should be strongly personalised to the specific needs, preferences, abilities and motivations of elderly, a population segment whose characteristics can largely vary and even dynamically evolve over time for the same individual, depending on changing needs and usage contexts. We present a demo showing how a platform supporting End User Development (EUD) of context-dependent applications has been customized for remotely assisting elderly people at home. The user-editable personalisation features are specified by using trigger-action rules. The platform has been integrated with various sensors and appliances, and an application for remotely monitoring older adults at home. The resulting environment supports the possibility of creating trigger-action rules that can actually be executed when relevant sensors indicate that specific events or conditions occurred.Source: AVI '18 - International Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces, Castiglione della Pescaia, Grosseto, Italy, 29 May 2018 - 01 June 2018
DOI: 10.1145/3206505.3206582

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2018 Conference article Open Access OPEN

A Visual Tool for Analysing IoT Trigger/Action Programming
Corcella L., Manca M., Paternò F., Santoro C.
The Trigger-Action programming paradigm has been widely adopted in the last few years, especially in the Internet of Things (IoT) domain because it allows end users without programming experience to describe how their applications should react to the many events that can occur in such very dynamic contexts. Several end user development tools exist, in both the research and industrial fields, which aim to support the increasing need to specify such rules. Thus, it becomes important for application developers and domain experts to enrich such environments with functionalities able to monitor how users actually interact with such rule editors, and show useful information to analyse the end user activity. In this paper, we present a visual tool for monitoring and analysing how users interact with a trigger-action rule editor. The goal is to provide a tool useful to better understand what end users' personalization needs are, how they are expressed, how users actually specify rules, and whether users encounter any issues in interacting with the personalization features offered by the editors. The proposed solution supports the analysis through a dashboard and a set of timelines describing the actual use of the personalization tool, with the possibility to select specific events of interest. It moreover provides data useful for understanding the types of triggers, actions and rules actually composed by users, and whether they effectively exploit the personalization features offered.Source: HCSE 2018, 7th International Working Conference on Human-Centered Software Engineering, 3-5 September 2018,, pp. 189–206, Sophia Antipolis, France, 03-05/09/2018
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-05909-5_11

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