Short Bio

Dr. Dr. Norbert Streitz (Ph.D. in physics, Ph.D. in Cognitive Science) is a Senior Scientist and Strategic Advisor with about 40 years of experience in information and communication technology. He is the founder and scientific director of the Smart Future Initiative (SFI) which was launched in January 2009.


1987 - 2008: Norbert held different positions as Division Manager and Deputy Director at the Fraunhofer Institute IPSI (previously GMD-IPSI) in Darmstadt, Germany. At IPSI, he did research in multiple areas (e.g., Human-Computer Interaction, Hypertext / Hypermedia, CSCW, Ubiquitous Computing, Ambient Intelligence) and initiated and managed the corresponding research projects. A prominent example is the work of the research division "AMBIENTE - Smart Environments of the Future" founded by him in 1997. He and his team became well-known for the development of Roomware®, the integration of walls and furniture with large displays and information technology requiring new interaction paradigms. The Roomware components were developed in close cooperation with industry and won several design prizes and research awards. During his time at IPSI, he was also a lecturer affiliated with the Department of Computer Science of the Technical University Darmstadt for more than 15 years.


1978 - 1986: Norbert was an Assistant Professor at the Psychology Department of the Technical University Aachen (RWTH), Germany, teaching and doing research in cognitive science, cognitive ergonomics, human-computer interaction, expert systems including basic research on memory and perception, dual task performance, problem solving and knowledge representations. This work was carried out by the ACCEPT Research Group (AaChen Cognitive Ergonomics ProjecT) which was founded and headed by him. During this time, he got his second Ph.D. (in psychology with a focus on cognitive science) from the Technical University Aachen (RWTH) in 1985.

Before joining RWTH Aachen, he did research in theoretical physics (general relativity theory, differential geometry and elementary particle physics) and got his first Ph.D. (in physics) from Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany, in 1976.


At different times of his career, he was a post-doc research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, a visiting scholar at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto), USA, and at the Intelligent Systems Lab of MITI, Tsukuba Science City, Japan.


He is regularly asked to present keynote speeches and tutorials at scientific as well as commercial events. An overview (since 2009) of his keynotes and appointments as conference chair can be found here.


Norbert has published or co-edited 32 books/ proceedings, 2 special issues of journals and authored/co-authored more than 160 papers presented at peer-reviewed national and international conferences and in journals or as invited book chapters.
An overview of most of his
publications and their citations can be found at ORCID, ResearchGate, Google Scholar (h-index = 41, i10-index = 82, and 7500+ total citations, status on 15.09.2021).

Research Areas

His research and teaching activities are determined by a strong interdisciplinary approach and cover a wide range of areas: Cognitive Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Hypertext/ Hypermedia, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Ubiquitous Computing, Ambient Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence, Interaction and Experience Design, Privacy by Design, Hybrid Worlds, Application Areas are: Smart Manufacturing/ Industry 4.0, Automated Driving, Smart Food, Smart Cities, Smart Airports and more recently Smart Islands.

After his work in cognitive science (1977-1983), he became interested in human-computer interaction since 1984 and helped to establish the corresponding area of "Software-Ergonomics" in Germany. Furthermore, he launched one of the first prominent research efforts in hypertext and hypermedia in Germany (since 1987) resulting in the SEPIA-system which was developed together with his WIBAS-Group. This was followed by work in CSCW (since 1992) resulting in the DOLPHIN electronic meeting room system. Since 1997, he and his AMBIENTE-Team became well-known for the development of Roomware®, the integration of walls and furniture with information technology and for the design of Smart Artefacts in ambient environments. The roomware components were developed in close cooperation with industry and won several design prices. Some of them, e.g., the InteracTable, are available as commercial products via a spin-off company. The Roomware® components were the first steps towards the design of Cooperative Buildings proposed and published by Norbert Streitz already in 1998. Since 2007, he is working on Smart Hybrid Cities and as a special case Smart Airports, where the guiding objective is the ambition to develop a Humane, Sociable and Cooperatice Hybrid City. This involves also work on automated driving and artificial intelligence as well as privacy issues in hybrid urban environments. 

(* This list does not cover his research as a physicist working on general relativity theory, differential geometry and elementary particle physics and no details about his initial research as a psychologist working in cognitive science focusing on memory and perception, dual task performance, problem solving and knowledge representations.)

Publications and Editorial Boards

Norbert Streitz has published or co-edited 32 books/proceedings, 2 special issues of journals, and authored/ coauthored more than 160 papers published in prominent peer-reviewed journals and proceedings of respected national and international conferences or as invited book chapters. An overview of most of his publications and their citations can be found at Google Scholar (h-index = 41, i10-index = 82, 7500+ citations, status on 15.09.2021) and ResearchGate.


Selected Overview Publications:

Norbert A. Streitz (2021). From Smart-Only Cities towards Humane and Cooperative Hybrid Cities.Technology | Architecture + Design. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Special Issue on Intelligence). pp. 127 - 133. (Taylor & Francis). DOI: 10.1080/24751448.2021.1967050


Norbert Streitz (2019). Beyond 'Smart-Only' Cities: Redefining the 'Smart-Everything' Paradigm. Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Humanized Computing. vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 791-812. (Springer). First online: 31. May 2018.

DOI: 10.1007/s12652-018-0824-1


Norbert Streitz, Dimitris Charitos, Maurits Kaptein, Marc Böhlen (2019).
Grand Challenges for Ambient Intelligence and Implications for Design Contexts and Smart Societies. Tenth Anniversary Issue, Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments. vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 87 - 107. (IOS Press).

DOI: 10.3233/AIS-180507

Norbert serves on program and organization committees of many international conferences and editorial boards of journals, e.g, JAISE (Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments), JAIHC (Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Humanized Computing), ADCI (Advances in Computational Intelligence), HISI (Human-Intelligent Systems Integration),
MTI (Multimodal Technologies and Interaction), UAIS (Universal Access
in the Information Society
) and previously ACM TOCHI (ACM Transactions on Computer-Human-Interaction) as well as for the recently established
Springer Book Series in Adaptive Environments. He was also appointed as a member of juries for design and software competitions as well as project reviewer and evaluator for national and international science and funding foundations and the European Commission. He is regularly asked to present keynote speeches, invited talks and tutorials at scientific as well as commercial events in Europe, USA, South America, Middle East (Qatar), Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong, China, Korea and Japan.

UAIS Festschrift and IEEE Pervasive Interview

Special Issue (Festschrift) in the International Journal Universal Access in the Information Society published by Springer: “The Streitz Perspective: Computation is Ubiquitous, Yet Must be Designed for Human Use -
A Festschrift for Norbert Streitz
”. Guest Editor: Daniel M. Russell

The Streitz Perspective: Computation is Ubiquitous, Yet Must be Designed for Human Use - A Festschrift for Norbert Streitz
PDF-Dokument [420.1 KB]

"An Interview with UbiComp Pioneer Norbert Streitz" by Nigel Davies (Editor in Chief) published in IEEE Pervasive Computing, January-March 2012, pp. 62 - 66.
(special issue dedicated to 20 years after Mark Weiser's vision was published as
"The Computer for the 21. Century" in Scientific American, September 1991),

An Interview with UbiComp Pioneer Norbert Streitz
PDF-Dokument [1.5 MB]

Advisory Boards, Conference Chairs / Committees

Norbert Streitz initiated and co-organizes the international conference series on Distributed, Ambient and Pervasive Interactions (DAPI). It started in 2013 in Las Vegas, USA and was organized as an annual series (2014 Crete, Greece; 2015 Los Angeles, USA; 2016 Toronto, Canada, 2017 Vancouver, Canada, 2018 Las Vegas, USA, 2019 Orlando, USA). The 8th edition (DAPI 2020) was planned to take place physically in Copenhagen, Denmark, in July 2020, but had to be replaced by a virtual version due to the Corona situation. The 9th edition
(DAPI 2021), scheduled for Washington, D.C., USA in July 2021 was held as a virtual event. The 10th edition (DAPI 2022), scheduled for Gothenburg, Sweden will be held as a virtual event in June 2022.

Norbert Streitz is a member of the European Japan Experts Association (EJEA).


Norbert Streitz is a member of the Steering Committee of the International Joint Conferences on Ambient Intelligence series which is instrumental for organizing the last AmI Conferences, e.g., AmI 2010 in Malaga, AmI 2011 in Amsterdam, AmI 2012 in Pisa, AmI 2013 in Dublin, AmI 2014 in Eindhoven, AmI 2015 in Athens, AmI 2017 in Malaga (where he was also the Honorary Chair and opening Keynote Speaker), AmI 2018 in Larnaca (Cyprus) and AmI 2019 in Rome.
He was the Chair of the Steering Group of the EU-funded proactive initiative "
The Disappearing Computer", a cluster of 17 projects, and the co-chair of CONVIVIO: the EU-funded Network of Excellence on People-Centred Design of Interactive Systems. He chaired the Working Group on "Ambient Computing and Communication Environments" which is part of the EU-funded InterLink Coordinated Action. He was also the co-chair of the ERCIM Working Group

"Smart Environments and Systems for Ambient Intelligence (SESAMI )".

Since 2010, Norbert was on the
Advisory Board of the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (M-ITI), which was recently transformed into the Interactive Technology Institute (ITI) now based in Madeira as well as in Lisbon, Portugal, where he is again on the External Advisory Board

Norbert is also on the Advisory Board of the FORWARD Project on "Fostering Research Excellence & Innovation Capacity in the Outermost Regions of Europe" (funded by the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 Programme).

In the past, he served on several project advisory or evaluation committee boards. Selected examples from recent and past activities: in 2019, he was the Chair of the Review Panel for the evaluation of the ENABLE Programme "Connecting Communities to Smart Urban Environments through the Internet of Things" funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). In 2011 and 2012, he was on the Evaluation and Review Board of the Keio-NUS CUTE Center (Smart Systems Insitute) in Singapore, operated by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Keio University, Japan. Norbert participated also in the Frankfurter Zukunftsrat (a future think tank), and the Future Network/Future Convention, both based in Frankfurt.



He was or still is active in various special interest groups (some of them were initiated and chaired by him) on Software-Ergonomics, Human-Computer Interaction, Hypertext/Hypermedia, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Work and Organisation Psychology in different scientific organizations, e.g.,

  • GI (Gesellschaft für Informatik),
  • DGPs (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie),
  • EJEA (European Japan Experts Association)
  • ACM (Association for Computing Machinery),
  • EACE (European Association for Cognitive Ergonomics).

Selection of Current and Past Research Projects

Norbert and his different interdisciplinary teams have carried out a number of research and consulting projects for various clients and sponsors in industry or via public funding agencies (e.g., European Commission, National Foundations). Examples of current and past projects (listed only since 1997) are:

  • Currrent Research Activities
  • Redefining the “Smart Everything” Paradigm
  • Beyond 'Smart-Only' Cities towards Humane and Cooperative Cities
  • Smart Privacy as Privacy-by-Design
  • Selection of Past Projects
  • Future Office Dynamics: R&D consortium funded by industrial partners
  • Roomware and i-LAND: Integration of information and communication technology in room elements, such as doors, walls, and furniture, transforming the ‘world around us’ as the interface to information and for the cooperation of people. (Best Project Award of GMD).
  • Ambient Agoras: Dynamic Information Clouds in a Hybrid World (EU-project)
  • InterSmart: part of project cluster “Living in a Smart Environment – Implications of Ubiquitous Computing” (Daimler-Benz Foundation)
  • InterSpace: Novel Group Interaction with Heterogeneous Displays and Devices (Microsoft Research, USA)
  • Amigo: Ambient Intelligence for the Networked Home Environment (EU-project)
  • Interlink: Coordinated Action exploring future trends in ICT, especially in the thematic area "Ambient Computing and Communication Environments" with a white paper on a future research agenda. One major focus was that Smart Cities should be designed as Humane Cities. (EU-project)