© Fraunhofer IGD
© Fraunhofer IGD

So responsibility also lies with the user?

Exactly. That's it. But above all, he must be informed. One problem is often that the networking of data is not clear. What happens to the data? Often the users only learn from the press a long time later that a company has been hacked. There is still a great need for research here.

How to reach the users, how to enlighten them?

You have to meet people in different ways, a video in the daily news is not enough here. The younger generations are often much more technology-savvy and aware of certain problems, while seniors, for example, have a different concept of privacy. Measuring body temperature is not important to the older generations, while private photos of family celebrations in the home are unwilling to be seen on a cloud.

Your competence center is responsible for the sensors in the WoQuaz smart assisted-living complex in Weiterstadt. How have residents responded?

Their response has been relatively open-minded, as they knew what to expect when they moved in. Not all of them fully understand what exactly our sensors measure—for example, we can tell how often someone went to the bathroom on the basis of their activities. They don’t realize this, despite knowing that we capture movement patterns for convenience functions. We talk to residents very frankly about this fact, and at that point we often get asked if they can disable these features. The advantage of our system is that every resident has their own control cabinet. They just have to flick a switch and our CapFloor system cannot see a thing. Awareness of this form of control is very reassuring to residents.

Do you cooperate with the cybersecurity experts from CRISP?

Yes, we are currently building a demonstration and simulation laboratory to test the security of smart home environments (Mr Kirchbuchner is Principal Investigator at the Cyber Security Centre, editor's note). To this end, we are creating a virtual smart home where someone moves around and generates data. We then launch targeted attacks on these data and work with the psychologists at TU Darmstadt to visualize these vulnerabilities.

Smart Living

Intelligent living environments make everyday life easier for many people - but can also save lives in an emergency. The CapFloor developed by us detects falls. If it is connected to other intelligent objects, an emergency call can be made, the family informed and the entrance door opened.

Biometric Technologies

Biometrics makes it possible for the machine to recognize humans. For this purpose, certain features are used by means of which the human being can be recognized. The best-known biometric methods include fingerprint, iris and face recognition.


Smart Living & Biometric Technologies
Fraunhoferstr. 5
64283 Darmstadt
Phone +49 6151 155-425
  • florian [dot] kirchbuchner [at] igd [dot] fraunhofer [dot] de (send mail)