Move research away from the sheltered laboratory environment! Let experiments from far removed fields of research interact! Deliberately introduce unrest and disturbance! Be astounded at the unexpected applications that result! The University of Twente's Smart Experience laboratory (SmartXp) is a lab where experience and interaction are fundamental. It will open its doors on February 2nd.
The new lab challenges researchers to collaborate on their experiments in an inspiring environment. Key features of the lab include a state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure and flexible research spaces. Researchers developing new ICT applications will notice that they are not alone; a sensor network or Bluetooth connection allows others to see what they are doing. Behavioural scientists will have the opportunity of observing how the users experience the new technology. This new approach to research is expected to result in groundbreaking applications, simply by broadening researchers' horizons. This method of working can help to accelerate the development of innovations. Applications can also be subjected to a 'real life' test, whereby they undergo the everyday disturbances that can influence how applications function.
SmartXp is the optimal experimental set up for the 'smart environments' of the future, a future where countless wireless sensors communicate with each other to make life easier for the user. The lab has facilities to research this in a home or office environment - the so-called context labs. It is also ideal for studying interaction between humans and robots. With the help of one way screens the users of the new technologies can be observed. The experience factor has been given full consideration in the architecture and lighting, because the environment in which users experience a new technology is often critical for their success.
The SmartXp lab will play an important role in education as well. Students of the new TU Twente Creative Technology programme will use it as a 'living laboratory', adapting its flexible space and, using the technique of free association, dreaming up revolutionary applications.
The SmartXp lab was funded by the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT) and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of Twente. It is also one of the laboratories of the Netherlands Institute for Research on ICT (NIRICT) in which the 3 TUs participate.
Please see http://smartxp.ewi.utwente.nl for more information.