HumanTech Institute

Technology for Human Wellbeing Institute

The HumanTech Institute is lead by Elena Mugellini, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, HES-SO ( The Institute has been created in January 2013. The “new formula” institute is based on the “success story” of the MISG group ( About 30 persons (professors, researchers, PhD students and engineers) are active in the institute. The Institute aims at improving the quality of life and well-being of humans thanks to the ingenious use of new technologies, in order to strength-en their abilities as individuals, as well as members of an increasingly dynamic, nomadic and globalized society. The Institute promotes the development of innovative solutions for the implementation of an intelligent society concept, the so-called “Smart Society”, a co-evolution of technologies and society in order to address societal challenges with an inter-disciplinary approach. The Institute has the mission to carry out research in specific and transversal sectors, at the intersection of technological, economical and human sciences.

The main research activities of HumanTech are related to the following topics:

  • Advanced Interfaces and Smart Spaces: this axe is related to the design and the development of smart every day technologies that are sensitive and responsive to the presence of people and that can improve human well-being making possible for people to interact with their environment in a seamless, trustworthy, and natural manner.
    • Natural Interaction, Gesture Recognition, Multimodal Interfaces, Pattern Recognition, Machine Learning, Human-Computer Interaction, Internet of Things, Adaptative Systems, Cognitive Systems, Multimedia Processing.
  • Multimedia Content and Knowledge Management: Information Management refers to the process of modelling, retrieving, visualizing and transforming multimedia data with the goal of highlighting useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision making.
    • Intelligent Data Analysis, Multimedia Processing, Intelligent Information Management Systems, Semantic Technologies, Ontologies, Information Visualisation.
  • Product and Service Design: The design of innovative products and services is crucial factor to take into account when developing new technologies. Design methodologies that take into account the end users, their needs, their wants, and their limitations (i.e. UCD) allow to increase the usability of product and services, thus increasing user experience as well as user willingness to use such product and service.
    • User Centered Design, Interaction Design, User Evaluation, Usability Test, Ergonomics.

HumanTech strongly collaborates with industries at regional and national level and its research activities are supported by both public and industrial funding.

Since 2006, a strategic collaboration between HumanTech Institute and DIVA group from the University of Fribourg has been established on the following research topics: human-computer interaction, gesture interaction and data analysis.

Moreover HumanTech has an interactive laboratory, called Smart Living Room, equipped with various technologies such as numerous sensors (temperature, humidity, movement, light, smell, pressure, etc.), sensors networks (BTnode, Freemote, Arduino), several interaction technologies (electromagnetic, mono and multi RFID tag readers, optical, infrared, fiducial markers, haptic systems, interactive tables), virtual and augmented reality equipment (gyroscope, head-mounted display - helmet and glasses) as well as several cameras, PDAs, displays, beamers, microphones, GPS systems, satellite connections, etc. The Smart Living Room provides a suitable research and testing environment for interdisciplinary research projects at the confluence between user-centered design, multimodal interaction, mobile service delivery and intelligent services and applications for smart home environments.

For more information about the Smart Living Room you can donwload a short description (pdf).