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Official website of the course "Ambient intelligence" (code 01QZPxx) offered to students in the 3rd year of Engineering (among elective courses).

Short link to this page:

Latest news

  • 2019-02-22: Welcome to the 2018/2019 edition of the course. The course has a Facebook group for open discussions and news.
  • 2019-02-22: The material of the 2017/2018 edition of the course has been archived:

Basic info

See the Information section.


Identity card

Title: Ambient intelligence
Credits: 6 credits
Year: 3rd year (elective courses - corsi a scelta)
Semester 2nd semester (March-June)
Language: English
Official link: Portale della Didattica
Main teacher: Fulvio Corno
Other teachers: Luigi De Russis, Alberto Monge Roffarello

Class hours

Monday 14:30-16:00 Room 2I
or LADISPE lab
or Lab work
Monday 16:00-17:30 Room 2I
or LADISPE lab
or Lab work
Thursday 17:30-19:00 Room 8I Class

See the Schedule section for detailed information.

Course Contents

The course aims at describing, from an experimental point of view, the field of Ambient Intelligence (AmI), outlining its multi-disciplinary nature as well as its technology and application areas. Nowadays, the evolution of consumer electronic technologies, wireless networks, sensors, etc. and the ability to represent and process knowledge and data on a large scale allow the conception of environments able to handle, in an optimal way, energy-related variables, comfort, safety, and user interaction. Such scenarios spur a variety of solutions, ranging from smart homes to smart buildings, from smart cities to smart transportation systems.
Special emphasis, on the course, will be devoted to design-related aspects and on the overall hardware-software architecture, besides reviewing the involved technologies. This will enable students to design and realize reusable and interoperable solutions, and to collaboratively build a working prototype of an AmI system, in the laboratory.
The course will be held in English.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge: technologies involved in the design and realization of smart environments, at various architectural levels (sensors, smart homes and buildings networks, user interfaces). Programming distributed systems based on web APIs. Software design methodologies.

Skills: writing system specifications and high-level design of an Ambient Intelligence system, starting from its functional and behavioral requirements. Realization of real-world intelligent environments. Capability of working in group with modern Internet-based collaboration tools. The Python language for rapid prototyping.


Knowledge of programming languages, such as C or Java.
General knowledge of computer networks or communication networks.
The course has a strong interdisciplinary nature. The topics are mainly suitable for students enrolled in different degrees in the ICT sector (computer science, electronics, telecommunications), but in the work groups there may be a significant contribution from disciplines oriented to wide AmI application areas: electric, energy, industrial design, mechanics, etc.


The course aims at tackling, from a system and multidisciplinary approach, the main enabling technologies and the design methodologies involved in the definition of a complex system such as the ones present in AmI.

The course will cover the following topics, including their theoretical, methodological, and practical aspects:

  1. Introduction to Ambient Intelligence: definitions and available approaches for smart homes, smart buildings, etc. Overview of application areas (home, building, city, traffic, etc.) and types of applications (monitoring, comfort, anomaly detection, ambient assisted living, control and automation, etc.)
  2. Requirements and design methodology for AmI. Design, analysis and specification of requirements and functionalities related to user interacting with AmI settings.
  3. Practical programming of AmI systems: the Python language, the Raspberry Pi computer, Web protocols and languages (e.g., HTTP and REST), web-based APIs, and collaboration tools (git, GitHub).


The course is strongly oriented to laboratory activities. Class lectures are mostly aimed at giving the background needed to develop the group work in the laboratory. Some in-class exercises will focus on hands-on practice and on deepening selected topics.

During laboratory hours (at LADISPE), students will work for programming simple intelligent scenarios and user interfaces with real smart home systems. Hands-on and insights about some topics will be discussed in class.
Additional hours will be devoted to assisted group work in the laboratory.


The course material is available in the Schedule section and in a dedicated GitHub repository. Lectures will be video-recorded and will be made available on this website and in a YouTube playlist.

Course material encompasses slides, required readings, code exercises and examples (both in class and in lab), as well as additional references and links.


This section hosts the schedule and learning materiale of all the lectures and labs, with topics and deadlines described in each of them. Please consider that the following information is a tentatitive preview of the course organization, is provided only for helping students organization and planning, and is subject to change without notice.

All slides, examples, exercises, and any other material used in the classroom and in the lab will be also posted in a GitHub repository. Moreover, all lectures will be video-recorded and will be available here and in a dedicated YouTube playlist.

Type: L = Lecture, R = Required reading, EA = Exercises in classroom, EL = Exercises in laboratory (LADISPE)
Teacher: FC = Fulvio Corno, LDR = Luigi De Russis, AMR = Alberto Monge Roffarello

04/03/2019 L Introduction to the course 14:30-16:00  icons8 play button 48 FC
Theme of the year
L Definitions of Ambient Intelligence 16:00-17:30 icons8 play button 48 FC
07/03/2019 R Intelligent Environments: a Manifesto due by 17:00 - -

Python basics (part I)

17:30-19:00 icons8 play button 48 LDR
11/03/2019 R Introduction to Git and GitHub Pages due by 14:00 - -
L AmI Design Process (part I) 14:30-16:00 icons8 play button 48 FC

Getting started with Python and Git

16:00-17:30 - LDR
14/03/2019 L

Python basics (part II)

  • In-class exercises (on GitHub)
17:30-19:00 icons8 play button 48 LDR
17/03/2019   Submit initial project ideas and group compositions due by 23:59    
18/03/2019  EL

Python basics: exercises

14:30-16:00 - AMR

Group definition. Project ideas check, discussion and suggestions.

16:00-17:30 - All
21/03/2019 L

Python intermediate

17:30-19:00 icons8 play button 48 LDR
24/03/2019   Submit final project ideas and group compositions due by 23:59    
25/03/2019 R Web architectures and technologies due by 14:00 - -

Requirements for Deliverable D1

AmI Design Process (part II)

14:30-16:00 icons8 play button 48 FC

Python intermediate: exercises

 16:00-17:30  -  AMR
28/03/2019 L

Python Database

 17:30-19:00  icons8 play button 48  LDR
31/03/2019   Create the project websites with Deliverable 1 due by 23:59    
01/04/2019  L

Building web applications with Flask - basics

  • In-class exercises (on GitHub)
14:30-16:00 icons8 play button 48 FC
EL Using Databases with Python 16:00-17:30 - All
Feedback on Deliverable 1
04/04/2019 L

Building web applications with Flask - interaction (forms, sessions, database)

17:30-19:00 icons8 play button 48 AMR
 08/04/2019  L

Style and layout in the web: CSS and Bootstrap

14:30-16:00 icons8 play button 48 LDR

Web in Python: exercises

16:00-17:30 - AMR
11/04/2019 R Intro to HTTP and JSON due by 17:00    

REST APIs and REST with Python and Flask

17:30-19:00 icons8 play button 48 FC
15/04/2019 L

AmI Design Process (part III)

Requirements for Deliverable D2

Guidelines for Architecture Design

14:30-16:00 icons8 play button 48 FC

REST in Python

16:00-17:30 - AMR
    (Easter vacation)      
28/04/2019   Update the project websites with Deliverable 2 due by 23:59    
29/04/2019 EL Supervised work group 14:30-17:30 - All
Feedback on Deliverable 2
02/05/2019 L


17:30-19:00 icons8 play button 48 FC
06/05/2019 R

Introduction to jQuery

due by 14:00 - -

Flask-Bootstrap and jQuery

14:30-16:00 icons8 play button 48 FC
EL Supervised work group 16:00-17:30 - FC
09/05/2019 EA

jQuery, Ajax, REST: a full exercise 

  • Lab-in-class: bring your laptop!
  • Solution (on GitHub)
17:30-19:00 icons8 play button 48 FC
13/05/2019 L

Android hands-on (first part)

  • Code (simple Android calculator, on GitHub)
14:30-16:00 icons8 play button 48 AMR
EL Supervised work group 16:00-17:30 - LDR
16/05/2019 EA

Components selection and available materials

17:30-19:00 icons8 play button 48 FC
20/05/2019 L

Android hands-on (second part)

14:30-16:00 icons8 play button 48 AMR

Task manager in Android

16:00-17:30 - AMR
23/05/2019 EA

Interacting with smart devices: Philips Hue and Z-Wave devices

17:30-19:00 icons8 play button 48 LDR
27/05/2019 EL Supervised work group: Android troubleshooting and support 14:30-16:00 - AMR
EL Supervised work group 16:00-17:30 - LDR
30/05/2019 EL Supervised work group 17:30-19:00 - AMR
03/06/2019 EL Supervised work group 14:30-16:00 - LDR
EL Supervised work group 16:00-17:30 - AMR
06/06/2019 EL Preparing material for the exam. Supervised work group. 17:30-19:00 - LDR
10/06/2019 EL Supervised work group 14:30-16:00 - LDR
EL Supervised work group 16:00-17:30 - AMR

Video Lectures

Development Resources

This section presents some resources useful for software development that may be relevant to final projects. Moreover, it lists the required software applications needed for the course.

Required Software

Available Material

A list of the material available for the course is described in this document.
The materials are (or will be) available in LADISPE, and most of them can be borrowed by students, so that they can work on their final project also outside the lab.

Python Resources

Raspberry Pi and Linux Resources

  • Books about the Raspberry Pi
    • Getting started with the Raspberry Pi, Matt Richardson and Shawn Wallace, O'Reilly
    • Raspberry Pi cookbook, Simon Monk, O'Reilly
    • Raspberry Pi for secret agents, Stefan Sjogelid, Packt Publishing
  • A collection of Linux quick reference sheets (cheat sheets)

Groups and Projects


The exam consists of a presentation of the team project, designed and developed during the course, and an oral discussion on the same topic.
Each group is required to:

  • put and mantain the source code related to its project in the assigned Git repository (;
  • create, and properly update, a GitHub Pages website associated to the project repository, by following the instructions available at (see the "Project site" section); the website must be easy to navigate and well structured.

The project website MUST contain:

  • the two required deliverables (see below), according to the following (strict!) deadlines;
  • a video of the project, realized following this guide; the video must be prepared for the exam (see the video in the examples section, below).

Important dates and deliverables:

  • 17/03 submit initial ideas and preliminary group composition (on the shared Google doc);
  • 18/03 discussion on groups and project ideas;
  • 24/03 submit final group composition (on the shared Google doc);
  • 31/03 creation of the project website (via GitHub Pages) and deadline for the first deliverable (i.e., vision and goal - see the set of slides "AmI Design Process"); the contents of the deliverable must be present in the website according to this checklist [PDF] [DOCX];
  • 01/04 check of the first deliverable with the students (in LADISPE);
  • 28/04 deadline for the second deliverable (i.e., system features and architecture - see the set of slides "AmI Design Process"); the content of the deliverable must be present in the website according to this checklist [PDF];
  • 29/04 check of the second deliverable with students (in LADISPE).

Exam rules

(extracted from the set of slides "Introduction to the course")

The team project (repository and website) must be ready for evaluation three working days before the exam.

The exam will consist of two parts:

  • oral presentation (by using PowerPoint slides or similar) and demonstration (max 20 minutes)
  • discussion (5 minutes)

Contributions by each person should emerge in the entire project presentation (e.g., by dividing the oral presentation in parts).

Next exams with deadlines:

  • xx/xx/2019, h. 09:00, LADISPE
    • remember to enroll at the exam, by xx/xx/2019, on the Portale della Didattica;
    • project must be ready for evaluation on GitHub on xx/xx/2019 by 14:00;
    • specify which materials you need to be available at the exam (if any), via Slack at the teachers (#discussion channel), by the xx/xx/2019;
    • (optional) to avoid last minute problems, you may want to try the presentation and the demo on xx/xx/2019 from 14:30 to 17:30, at the LADISPE.