The purpose of this thesis was to utilize existing technologies to create a development environment suitable for creating context-aware applications and systems specific to home and family living conditions. After outlining the history of context-aware applications and the challenges that face family-centric systems in this field, a development environment was implemented that solves the unique challenges that face application development for family-centric, context-aware applications. In particular, research cited in this document indicates that a browser-based user interface is the most appropriate interface for a family environment. The flexibility of the interface, as well as the familiarity of the application structure allows family members of varying levels of comprehension to use a given application. The use of a browser interface for a context-aware system creates unique challenges such as the ability to integrate with external applications and external devices. In addition to overcoming the restrictions of web browsers, the development environment was designed to support the unique user environment presented by a family structure. This includes mechanisms for the long-term adaptability of the system to the changing lifestyles of the family members, as well as the infrequent, but necessary ability to adjust the structure of the family unit due to the addition or prolonged absence of family members. Another problem that the development environment was required to solve was the varying levels of computer comprehension that exist among different family members. An application that targets an entire family unit must meet the usability needs of all levels of comprehension. The development environment was created to account for this wide array of usability requirements. The resulting development environment was implemented on a Windows XP Professional environment, utilizing existing technologies and software that were mostly cross-browser compatible. Although a new technology was not designed and created, existing technologies were combined to solve the aforementioned problems that are unique to developing systems and applications for a family-centric, context-aware environment. Recommendations are made for future research and development in the area of family-assistive application development.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





context-aware, family assistive technology, development environment, family technology