Smart User Settings

by Nicole Faerber, 16th of July 2003


Many modern devices like computer devices and thelike require that a user inputs a preference for some setting. Since we deal with computers this setting is represented by a number.

Some settings are only valid or meant for a certain environment. This environment can itself again be described by a number or value, e.g. assume a number of a user profile or a value measured by some sensor.

The smart user settings system takes this into account and correlates between those touples (not necessarily only a two-touple, more values are of course possible).

Basically a formula is calculated that outputs a value if one of the input values changes. The smart fact about this system shall be that the calculation formula itself is felxible and created automatically by the system taking into account the user's input.


As example the modern PDA computer system Compaq/HP iPAQ is used. Those device have a light sensor that measures the environment light and outputs a value to the system.

The intention is that the backlight level of the PDA display is regulated according to the light level of the environment.

A smart-user-setting would now be like the following:

Basically the backlight level is a function of the environment light level. For example you will want the backlight to be switched on to quite low level when the environment is dark, then higher levels with lighter environment and getting lower again at full environment light since the display is a reflective one and does not need any further artificial light in bright sunlight for example.

With the smart-user-setting the user adjusts the backlight level in some environments and the smart-user-settings system then interpolates the levels in between. This can be done for example by special Bezier curve algorithms.

The user only adjusts the backlight for a very limited number of environment situations and the system calculates the rest automatically in a smart fashion. The results will be much better than simply using several thershold parameters with hysteresis.

The smart-user-settings can for sure also be used for many other purposes where user preferences are set but are related to another measurable second source.

First published here.