The consortium consists of 7 complementary partners from 4 European countries (ITACA, UPM-LST, Fh-IGD, UID, Centro Volta, UNIPR, SPIRIT). It is a balanced research effort of industrial (including SMEs) specialist in interaction design, research institutes and academics.
The project consortium is vertically integrated to address the full value chain of the envisaged newmarket place. The consortium members are selected in a way that their business ambitions fit with the goals of VAALID but do not overlap. The ambition is to research, analyse and develop this project together.
Instituto de Aplicaciones de las Tecnologias de Informacion y Comunicaciones Avanzadas (ITACA)
The Institute of applications of advanced information and communication technologies (ITACA) is a non profit R&D organisation constituted in an association between the Polytechnic University of Valencia, enterprises of the ICT, Industrial and Services sectors, Public Administrations and SME Industry Institutes. Technologies for Health and Well-Being (TSB) is the area of ITACA, devoted to the application of Information and Communications Technologies in the fields of Health and Social Services. In particular their wide experience in European Project cooperation and in Ambient Intelligence Technologies applied to social inclusion endorses its participation in VAALID project. TSB maintains also a high research level on topics such as ontologies and business process automatization, that are directed related with the leading work intended for VAALID WP2. ITACA-TSB is currently participating in 6 VI Framework Program projects related to e-health and e-inclusion, being the most relevant to VAALID field the project PERSONA (IST-045459).
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM)
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM) is the oldest and largest of the Spanish Technical universities. UPM currently has more than 3000 faculty members, around 38000 undergraduate students and around 6000 postgraduate students, covering most Engineering disciplines.UPM has a strong commitment to R&D and Innovation. The UPM has more than 200 Research Units and Several Research Institutes and Technological Centres in the areas of: Architecture, Solar Energy, Nuclear Fusion, Automotive Security, Microgravity, Opto-electronics and Micro-electronics, Domotics, Laser technology, Biotechnology and Genomics of Plants, Industrial Electronics, advanced Materials, Software, among others. The UPM has participated in around 200 European R&D projects over the past four years, including 19 Networks of Excellence, and is member of 10 European Technology Platforms. Life Supporting Technologies (LifeSTech) is a research, development and innovation group, part of the UPM. Its activities are devoted to the design, development and evaluation of ICT based services and applications, for the creation and promotion of new ideas, methods and technological solutions throughout the value chain of e-Health and e-Inclusion related organisations. LifeSTech is one of the main Spanish research groups in the field of e-Health. The main group skills include consultancy, design, development and evaluation of ICT applied to Health, Ambient Intelligence, Technological Architecture, Business Process Engineering, and System Development and Integration. The Group is member of the National Technical Committee 139 for Health Informatics, within the Spanish Standards National Association (AENOR). Furthermore, its members are involved in expert teams working for different European institutions like the European Telecommunication Standards Institute in e-Health and e-Inclusion activities. LifeSTech is also an active member of National and European Excellence Networks on e-Accessibility. Their goal is to raise the profile of Design for All (DfA) and emphasize its importance in achieving greater accessibility to the Information Society for as many people as possible. The group has participated in several projects funded by the UE, national programmes and R&D agreements with companies in the areas of e-Health, e-Inclusion, Quality of Life and Education.
Fraunhofer-Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD (Fh-IGD))
The institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are linking science and industry and transfer research results into industrial products and applications. Today the Fraunhofer Society is the leading organization of institutes of applied research and development in Europe. The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics (Fh-IGD) is one of 58 Research Institutes of the Fraunhofer Society and located in Darmstadt. The Fh-IGD has a total staff of 130 scientist and researchers that are fully dedicated to computer graphics related research topics, such as Interaction in AmI environments or Virtual and Augmented Reality. Fraunhofer is Member of the AIR&D consortium (Ambient Intelligence Research and Development) which researches future research topics in the area of ambient intelligence. Additionally Prof. Fellner, Fh-IGD Director, is member of the Steering Board of ARTEMIS - "Advanced Research & Technology for Embedded Intelligence and Systems", that is the Technology Platform for Embedded Systems of the European Union. In accordance with the above mentioned expertise, in VAALID project, Fh-IGD will lead the R&D activities in relation to the 3D simulation environment. In addition to that, Fh-IGD has a long-term experience in national and international research projects. Several national and international reference projects are successfully completed or running that are dealing with configuration management, self-organization and behaviour of distributed environments and user interaction in such environments. Some reference projects are EMBASSI, DynAMITE, EU-IST PERSONA, Interlink, and most relevant to VAALID project, Instant Reality (http://www.instantreality.org/home/) is a high-performance Mixed Reality (MR) system, which combines various components to provide a single and consistent interface for AR/VR developers. Those components have been developed in close cooperation with the industry.
User Interface Design GMBH (UID)
User Interface Design GmbH (UID), founded in 1998, is one of the leading usability consulting companies in Europe, and with a team of more than 45 experts an experienced partner for challenging and complex usability projects worldwide. UID supports many companies in developing modern, interactive products, which are easy to learn, easy to use and motiviating the user by its attractive appearance. UID's areas of work cover requirements analysis, context of use analysis as well as evaluation and quality assurance of user interfaces. Furthermore, UID not only develops detailed concepts and optimisations but offers also implementation of such user interface concepts as software components. UID's employees are highly qualified and have many years of practical experience and lots of personal reference customers. Their range of expertise includes engineering, cognitive psychology, information technology as well as interaction, graphic and media design. Employees of UID work also as course instructors at colleges and universities for topics like "human factors" and "usability engineering". They have personal experiences about ISO standards committee work and are active in several professional associations (e.g. GI, VDMA, UPA). In order to offer international user research studies, an established worldwide network of independent usability companies called the International Usability Partners was set up by UID and their partners. Being up-to-date with research in the field of usability engineering is a high level goal of UID. Prof. Dr. Burmester, professor at the "Hochschule der Medien" in Stuttgart, works for UID as manager for research and innovation. He continuously is updating methods for UID and is triggering the development of tools, such as ww.attrakdiff.de. UID has participated in research projects funded by the European Commission CONFIDENT, and DEMOS, and in nationally funded research projects ARVIKA, INVITE, and Praevention Online. The quality of UID's work has been awarded internationally, e.g. by the iF communicaton design award 2006.
Centro di Cultura Scientifica Alessandro Volta (VOLTA)
The Centro di Cultura Scientifica Alessandro Volta (Centro Volta) is a non-profit-making organization based in Como, established in 1983, and totally owned by Public Administrations (Province of Como, Municipality of Como, Chamber of Commerce of Como, Region Lombardy, Municipality of Campione d'Italia) and is considered one of the most dynamic research institutions of Region Lombardy, in Northern Italy. The main expertise Centro Volta brings to VAALID is:
Organization of high level scientific initiatives in cooperation with national and international research institutions, laboratories, and agencies.
Design, planning and implementation of complex, innovative, multidisciplinary projects, aimed at the application of scientific knowledge to the solution of specific needs, expressed by industry or by the public sector. In particular, Centro Volta matured a significant experience in thoughtful elicitation of user requirements, the set up and management of multidisciplinary teams, the rigorous validation of projects' results (including the application of suitable quality control measures: Centro Volta's management system is certified under ISO 9001:2000), the dissemination of innovative S&T prototypes and methods toward a large number of potential users.
Cultural initiatives, aimed at sharing Centro Volta achievements with a broader, general public, beyond specialists.
Recognizing the pervasive role of Information Technology, Centro Volta set up in 1989 an internal laboratory for the development of innovative IT Projects directed toward industry and public administration. This lab successfully participated in a number of national and international projects, including EU sponsored projects, such as: the ESPRIT Projects TOOTSI (2109), TISSUS(20718) and HYPERTOUR (20799), the RACE Project ESSAI (2029), the IST Thematic Network IDIA (33205) and the INCO Project CABRI-VOLGA (013424). The activities of the ICT laboratory have dedicated significant effort in the area of Ambient Assisted Living. For instance the IST Thematic Network IDIA, mentioned above, was dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of methodologies for the uptake of an "inclusive" approach to the design of accessible workplaces, with particular reference to people with special needs (permanently disabled people, temporary disabled people and elderly people). Centro Volta is currently working in cooperation with local public administrations as well as with industrial companies, in order to support the start-up of a momentous and sustainable market for technology-based products aimed at guaranteeing the highest possible quality of life for the disabled and the elderly. In this context, Centro Volta has a crucial interest in the VAALID Project, as it is considered a fundamental step in furthering the success of the above mission, in an area of growing importance for the European society.
Universita degli studi di Parma (UNIPR)
The Department of Information Engineering is the main site of advanced research and graduate studies in Electronics, Computer Engineering, Telecommunications and related fields. Expertise in all the ICT disciplines is present in the Department. The research activity is carried on by several groups often in collaboration with universities of different countries and renowned international institutions. The group of Robotics and Intelligent machines will participate in VAALID project, due to its proven experience in the field of virtual demonstration environments. Some reference projects are: ROBOCARE (http://robocare.istc.cnr.it/). The goal of the RoboCare project is to build a multi-agent system which generates user services for human assistance. Partner of Laboratory LARER (Laboratorio di Automazione della Regione Emilia Romagna). The laboratory has the purpose of developing methodologies and applications in the field of industrial automation, with particular attention to techniques for modeling and analysis of complex dynamical systems, the supervision and the real time control and for the hw/sw design of distributed control systems in the fields of automotive, robotics and automatic machines.
SPIRIT S.A. offers integrated solutions and consulting services to address managerial and IT challenges. As much an engineering as a management consulting company, SPIRIT conceptualizes, develops and implements bottom-line solutions for business and IT transformation. Towards this end the company uses innovative methodologies and puts state-of-the-art IT and telecommunications systems and technology at the service of management. Spirit's business offering combines intelligent technology infrastructure with a unique managerial competence in order to conceptualize working solutions and offer them on a revenue-sharing basis along with market leaders. It specializes in Business Process Management, E-learning solutions, research and development of advanced software technologies and their application to complex technical problems. Spirit continuously builds on its know-how by participating in EU funded IST projects, such as: COCOON (507126), MATCH (027266), RIGHT (027299) and PERSONA (045459). Through its participation in these research and development activities, SPIRIT has acquired significant expertise in relation to the following areas relevant to VAALID project: interoperability mechanisms between physically dispersed applications, system integration and technical support, user interfaces (with multilingual support), and workflow applications and Business Process Management systems SPIRIT, one of the major developers and IT solution providers in VAALID, will contribute mainly in the design and implementation of the authoring environment, with emphasis on the implementation of AAL services, the user behaviour profiles, and the graphical interfaces of the component. SPIRIT will provide its long-term experience and obtained scientific knowledge in order to work with VAALID workflow architectures for the user-environment interaction services.