Smart environments are often claimed to bring a significant potential towards novel approaches to learning, by increasing students's access to information, enriching the learning environment, allowing students's active learning and collaboration, and enhancing motivation to learn. Nowadays smart environments are being referred as augmented physical spaces that bring together multiple computational functionalities. These 3D spaces rely on tangibility and full-body interaction with digital content and services through physical environments. The primary goal of these new interactions is to empower collaboration and learning by taking advantage of human abilities to grasp and manipulate physical objects and materials.
Using 3D digital models, the final user (students, educators, researchers, and all type of users), can understand the space, ideas and contents more clearly and quickly. Currently, the quick technological development of mobile devices such as Smartphones or Tablets as well as 3D gesture based products (such as Kinect, Wii remote, etc.) allows the visualization, interaction and e-learning strategies without the need to work in specific computer labs with high-tech systems.
Social networks and the constant need of information have generated an evolution in the contents: We have gone from textual and in general 2D data to increasingly complex information interacting with 3D environment. Probably the clearest example of this assertion is founded in the increasingly use of the Augmented Reality (AR) techniques. This technology using a mixture of the virtual and physical world, have been recognized as a promising environment for improving the quality of collaboration in educational domains. The use of AR-supported simulations results in higher levels of perceived skill development, self-reported learning and learning interest. Individual learning achievements are also strengthened with the use of AR-supported simulation. In this effort, 3D user interaction plays a central role as it enables the augmented environment respond according to the physical locations of the user and the objects within it. The quickly growth of pertinent sensing modalities provides a new opportunity for accorately and unobtrusively grasping spatial information of this interaction.
However, if the main goal with the augmented technology and smart environments is to support learning, the technology must be easy to use. Therefore, the design principles of human-centered technology, such as presented in ISO 13407 Human centered design processes for interactive systems and ISO 9241-210 "Human-centered design for interactive systems, should be emphasized. The design should be based upon an understanding about users, tasks and environments. We should expand our research from traditional usability issues towards user experience (UX) design challenges. By UX we refer to a person's perceptions and responses resulting from the use and/or anticipated use of a product, system or service.