A place for concepts of IT based modern living
Since January 2009 the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg (HAW) is in constant development of a smart home. It is mainly funded by the Hamburg Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Science and Research. The Living Place Hamburg is a laboratory for applied research in different areas of ambient intelligence as well as an opportunity for research collaborations between the university and companies.


The Living Place Hamburg covers different areas of IT-based urban living. In addition to typical questions from the smart home area, general questions of urban living will be investigated. The Living Place Hamburg is a loft style urban living apartment with dynamic mapping of functions to spaces according to the respective situation of the inhabitant (e.g. bedroom, kitchen, living room).
Cornerstone of our installations will be the seamless interaction between ubiquitous computing elements, including the touching of tangible objects in order to achieve smart living situations. In times of digitalisation based on social software the concept of neighbourhood is currently in redefinition. Integration of social software into the Living Place Hamburg will be part of our efforts for the purpose of creating a new kind of community building.
Ubiquitous computing let disappear the borderline between labour and leisure time. Therefore one part of the research in the Living Place Hamburg is the integration of labour in leisure time in a sense of extending the enterprise 2.0 metaphor into the home office metaphor.

The Living Place Hamburg in detail

The Living Place Hamburg is a 140 sqm recently renovated loft style apartment located at the campus of the HAW in the centre of Hamburg. The apartment consists of one large room with different sections for dining, living, cooking, sleeping and working as well as a separated bathroom.

The Living Place Hamburg is a complete functional apartment and therefore suitable for making experiments under real life conditions. Experimental living can range from hours to several days.

All these experiments can be controlled and supervised through a controller room. On the one hand all sensors and effects are freely configurable allowing settings to be influenced in many ways. On the other hand all experiments can be supervised by an integrated usability installation consisting of several cameras, microphones and other modern monitoring equipment.
One of the basic ideas of the Living Place Hamburg is the situation based behaviour of smart environments. To achieve this, people from different sectors like architecture, light design and interactive design, as well as computer science work together in interdisciplinary development groups. First approaches incorporate the designing of different kinds of light installations, intelligent planning scenarios, natural user controls, context aware applications, smart sensor networks, body monitoring and computational furniture.

The analysis of the relations between inhabitant and smart home is one of our main research topics. Finding the right balance between automation and necessary user interaction is one of the major challenges. The seamless interaction with modern technology within the Living Place Hamburg will be based on modalities like multi-touch, speech recognition and different kinds of motion detection as well as concepts of tangible computing.

This laboratory will be supported for at least 5 years and underlies a continuous process of modification that offers the opportunity to analyse people’s ability of managing new technologies and products as well as to enhance products with regard to their usability.

Additional research groups covering e.g. questions of object detection by computer vision, household robotics and workflow formalization already joined the Living Place Hamburg.

Running an open laboratory we are looking forward to establish additional collaborations with research institutions as well as companies for creating interesting new ideas for smart living.

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  1. May 10th, 2010
  2. February 14th, 2011