UHCI (Universal Home Control Interfaces)

UHCI (Universal Home Control Interface) is a research and development project funded by the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWI) on interactive technologies in home contexts. The major scope of the project is to establish a common open source platform for smart home control with diverse in- and output technologies such as touch, gesture, speech or tangible interfaces. These technologies are investigated further in specific application use cases on health, mobile interaction and different interaction modalities, and evaluated with regard to usability. A number of demonstrators for the interactive technologies is one major outcome of the project. The project ran from April 2013 to March 2015. Partners in the project are Connected-Living e.V.Fraunhofer IDMTFacit ResearchLOEWE, ART + COM AGDisc Vision GmbH, DAI LaborUMAN GmbH, and Quality and Usability Lab at TU Berlin.

UdK’s role in UHCI was to investigate interactive textiles as means for in- and output in the context of a smart home. We thus took the home environment as a starting point to think about possible and desirable forms of engagement with technological devices. One aspect of the research was to try out different traditional textile production techniques to construct sensors. Another aspect was how to put these sensors into a meaningful context, i.e. what kind of functionality to connect it to, and what kind of product to combine it with.

The tangible results from this research are a number of interactive textile objects and explorations into textile interaction modes. We made three kinds of pressure-sensitive textile surfaces: Two cushion pressure sensors and a sensitive woven blanket. As a textile in- and output device that fits into the context of the smart home showroom, we constructed an interactive light curtain with touch controls. Finally we designed a number of more exploratory speculative interactive textiles. The roll-up interface is one example that shows how the combination of exploratory textile interaction and textile production might look like.

The light curtain in the DAI showroom.

The inside of one of the sensor seats.