January 2024: HIPE On Tracks – Testing the technology

Courtesy of collaboration between VTT and Tampereen Raitiotie Oy, we had access to a “lab on tracks” called “Lyyli”. An actual tram that is equipped with multiple sensors on its own, and also is in real use. As in our case we had to take recordings of behaviours that might have caused confusion and concern amongst public, we opted to run the tram in the depot.

With some helpful colleagues from Ambientia, Teleste and VTT, we play-acted the events to see how well the sensing technology works, when subjected to the rattle and roll of a moving tram.

HIPE project, photo of sensing solutions.

November 2023: Readying for the service PoCs, info share session

In late November 2023 we sat together in a 2-day session to share information from the preparatory research activities by HIPE partners regarding the Proof-of-Concepts, such as regulations and sensor technology. The session was organized as two workshops, to discuss further about the challenges, identify the building blocks for the services, and draft execution plans for HIPE service PoCs.

On the first day, the workshop addressed a big elephant in the room: AI Act in particular is imposing several limitations to the emotion recognition in different environments. The question is, can the technology and implementation choices solve challenges related to regulation and ethical aspects? University of Lapland provided a thorough analysis of the regulatory situation, and the workshop was divided into working groups, for office, public transportation, and general public areas.

On the second day, the workshop focused on the actual service Proof-of-Concept planning, resulting in three refined themes:

  • Mindful meetings (Office) by measuring social context (activity, synchrony) and adapting lighting or audio landscape ​
  • Detecting team activities (People tracking) using people tracking technology and adapting lighting​
  • Situational awareness (On tracks) by assessing emotional states and behaviour from video, adapting the environment (music, lights, displays), and communicating the tram atmosphere status via (an existing) “Situational awareness” service

September 2023: HIPE in Office – Testing the technology

The key enabler for an “emotion-aware services” is the sensor technology, and in HIPE’s case it would be sensors embedded to the service environment, rather than worn by the user.

To understand the technical capabilities and limitations, VTT conducted a laboratory study jointly with Helvar, ISKU, and Framery with controlled activities to e.g., induce cognitive load and simulate a normal task such as remote meeting. VTT’s ethical board evaluated and provided ethical permit for the study.

Testing the technology in office, photo 1.

Data was collected through sensors and via questionnaires to the participants about experienced emotions and difficulty of the task. The environment was equipped with various sensors measuring human behaviour remotely. Wearable sensors were used to provide ground truth for biosignals and questionnaire data was used to correlate findings with subjective experiences.

The study provided valuable information of the selected technologies and showed that the office concept is technically feasible, although clear improvement needs were also identified.

May 2023: HIPE – 1st annual review

A year has passed, it’s time to take a stock of where we are. Partners presented their status, 1st year results and next actions

The status of project’s 6 work packages was reviewed, and a short workshop was held for WP 4 (Proof-of-Concepts and demonstrators).

Finally, a work plan for the 2nd HIPE year was discussed and decided.

November 2022: Ethical Acceptability, the 4th dimension, workshop

In Design Thinking, three dimensions are usually portrayed – desirability, viability, and feasibility. However, especially over the recent years, ethicality has gained attention as a crucial dimension of its own right. It covers multiple angles from respecting individual privacy and right to their own data, to environmental impacts and broader social issues. The principle of Do No Harm should probably be more often considered when creating products and services – and this is exactly what our project did. In a 2-day workshop, in November 2022, using some of the concepts as ”cases”, the HIPE partner University of Lapland led us to a dive into things ethical and legal.


On the first day we first discussed about the key ethical and legal concepts that HIPE-type solutions need to consider: HIPE Ethical guidelines, GDPR, AI Act, and AI liability. After this, the team was split into 5 workgroups, each studied one service concept from ethical and legal perspective, and then cross-evaluated what other groups had done.

The second day’s learning experiment was interestingly framed – a  court case! We went through a hypothetical situation, where a plaintiff had initiated a lawsuit against a HIPE service. Our aim was to refine the HIPE Ethical guidelines.

Technical Feasibility –
Establishing Proof-of-Concepts

The initial concepts created in the ideation workshop served, not only as a means to get people into a right mindset to innovate, but also as basis to identify key themes for actual technical Proof-of-Concept (PoC) work.

The starting pool had 37 concepts. further refined into 6 HIPE concept themes of 11 concepts. The themes themselves then indicated the likely high-level concepts and contexts where HIPE-type services could be offered.

Finally, three concepts were focused on by HIPE partners, to explore the technical feasibility of HIPE services: Office Comfort, People Tracking in Public Spaces, and Passenger Experience in Public Transport

Illustration of law and court

October 2022: Online session on Desirability and Viability

Ideation expands the possibilities, but it’s not possible to pursue all of them. The 7 concept teams chose and honed their preferred ideas into a “sales pitch” over 4 weeks. Out of the 37 initial concepts 11 were presented and evaluated on an online session held on October 7th, 2022: Save the day, Perfect Space, Reactive Space, Lost Customer Detection, Disturbance Detector, Hard-To-See-Anomalities, eMotion – the emotion aware planner, The FlowCatcher, Work Flow Cost, Environment as a Service, and OSAS – office space allocation system.

Each pitch presented a storyboard and a short description of the concept:

  • What and Why: Title and description, slogan, the target audience, gains (who gets, what), pains (what could prevent this concept to reach the market), value proposition to the customer and to the product/service provider.
  • How: Steps to get the concept to market, Business considerations, Main features, Technology considerations, Preferred channels, and Potential KPIs


Scoring was based on the Desirability and Business Viability viewpoints. Exercises on Ethical Acceptability and Technical Feasibility would come later on.

And the winners were!!

  • Lost Customer Detection, a system for automated customer feedback. – Desirability 3.9 – Viability 4.05
  • OSAS-Office Space Allocation System, a comfort creator. – Desirability 3.89 – Viability 3.79
  • Environment as a service, a comfort creator. – Desirability 3.86 – Viability 3.45

Desirability: Would this concept be desirable from end user perspective?
Viability: Would it be possible to build a viable business based on this concept?
Scale: 1 = very unlikely, 2 = unlikely, 3 = neutral, 4 = likely, 5 = very likely

Autumn 2022: Exploration and ideation workshop

Our creativity journey started with a two-day workshop (Aug 31. and Sept 1.) to ideate concepts of emotion-aware products and services. Aim was to get everyone familiar with the topic, help participants to break out from their own “product bubble” and cross-pollinate ideas. Another goal was to teach participants to consider all four key viewpoints of desirability, viability, ethicality and feasibility when ideating, as this will lead to holistic concepts with grounds for success if ever taken towards the implementation and market introduction.

Photo from HIPE workshop

After splitting the group into 7 teams of 3-4 members the work started with the facilitator presenting examples of emotion usage in various domains, plus how objects and environments can adapt to the user or people around them. The teams were then provided with an imaginary persona – different one for each team – with a task to flesh out that persona’s ”day in a life” and to identify emotional moments there that could be the basis for a concept. After this, the teams ideated the concept itself.

On the first day the focus was on concepts for the individual, the second day focused on concepts for the public environments. A total of 37 concepts were created out of these two very productive days!

Graphic presentation of HIPE project holistic research approach.

June 2022: HIPE Kick-off on

We kicked project formally into motion on June 20, 2022, in a meeting held in VTT, Espoo. The consortium spent a solid 6 hours to go through each partner’s contribution and goals for the project, to build a shared understanding of the different facets of the joint effort. Of course, an overall vision and concept were also discussed. We now have three years to bring the vision a great deal closer to reality and the consortium is HIPE’d to finally get into real action after the long preparation journey!

Graphic presentation of HIPE project concept.