The APEX framework is a rapid prototyping platform for ubiquitous computing environments developed at HASLab/INESC TEC. The framework integrates an existing 3D Application Server (OpenSimulator) with a modelling tool (CPN Tools) and physical devices (e.g. smart phones).
APEX-based prototypes enable users to navigate and interact with a virtual world simulation as well as with some of the physical devices of the envisaged ubiquitous environment. Through the prototypes, users can experience many of the features of the proposed design. APEX-based prototypes have been deployed at different levels of immersiveness, from shared displays to CAVE environments. The three distinctive features of APEX are that it allows rapid and multi-layered prototyping of Ubicomp environments. It provides a 3D virtual environment as a basis for representing the evolving design in a way that can be explored by users through an immersive experience. It also enables the connection of actual devices, as intended for the envisaged Ubicomp environment, further improving the immersive user experience and enabling a refinement process, reducing the level of virtuality by gradually populating the environment with physical components. A design process is supported in which the environment can be gradually made more concrete by substituting actual physical devices for virtual devices.
The framework has been developed in the context of the APEX project. See more details at the project's web site.
This section provides some illustrations of prototypes developed with APEX.