Brussels, 25 April 2002
Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen attended the opening of the Philips HomeLab, a home laboratory built to study how people interact with prototypes of intelligent technology in a real world environment, in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on 24 April.
The HomeLab houses a range of technologies that are sensitive, personalised, adaptive and responsive to people. The laboratory will be used for testing home entertainment systems that can respond to human voice commands or create digital fantasy environments for virtual reality games.
Philips will also test technology linked to everyday household objects, including an interactive user interface that consolidates multiple home devices into a single system for managing typical digital activities such as recording a voicemail, watching a video or listening to music from any room in the home.
'To achieve a world in which ambient intelligence is pervasive, we need to teach technology to react to humans rather than forcing humans to 'programme' technology,' said Mr Liikanen. 'We also need to create technology that understands cultural differences, closes gaps in technology standards and is affordable for businesses to bring to market. Studying these human needs at a facility like Philips HomeLab brings us closer to understanding how technology can really make a difference,' he said.
Rodney Brooks, Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's artificial intelligence laboratory and Professor of computer science and engineering, added: 'The research conducted at Philips HomeLab will lay the foundation for adapting and training technology to better meet human needs. What's unique about HomeLab is that it's more than a 'model' home of the future, it is a living facility in which the technologies are real and only a few years away from entering the market.'
While no-one will live permanently at the HomeLab, temporary residents will stay for between 24 hours and two months.
The opening of the HomeLab was marked with a round table discussion featuring international thinkers on research technology and homes of the future. Panellists assessed the technologies of tomorrow's home and how research will stimulate the cultural, technical and business changes needed to make technology seamless.
Philips is participating in more than 100 projects in the Commission's IST (information society technologies) programme, funded under the Fifth Framework programme.
For further information about the HomeLab, please consult the following web address: http://www.research.philips.com