Prototyping and analysing ubiquitous computing environments using multiple layers
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies
If ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) is to enhance physical environments then early and accurate assessment of alternative solutions will be necessary to avoid costly deployment of systems that fail to meet requirements. This paper presents APEX, a prototyping framework that combines a 3D Application Server with a behaviour modeling tool. The contribution of this framework is that it allows exhaustive analysis of the behaviour models that drive the prototype while at the same time enabling
... e exploration of a virtual environment simulating the proposed system. The development of prototypes is supported through three layers: a simulation layer (using OpenSimulator); a modelling layer (using CPN Tools) and a physical layer (using external devices and real users). APEX allows movement between these layers to analyse different features, from user experience to user behaviour. The multi layer approach makes it possible to express user behaviour in the modelling layer, provides a way to reduce the number of real users needed by adding simulated avatars, and supports user testing of hybrids of virtual and real components as well as exhaustive analysis. This paper demonstrates the approach by means of an example, placing particular emphasis on the simulation of virtual environments, low cost prototyping and the formal analysis capabilities.