In the last years, the research effort of the scientific community to study systems for ambient intelligence has been really strong. Usually, the systems developed so far base their analysis on images acquired by automatic cameras. In this paper, we propose a way to develop new smart systems that are able to actively decide both what to see and how to see it. In particular, the main idea is to tune the acquisition parameters on the basis of what the system desires to acquire. The regulation strategy is based on two camera parameters, focus and iris. It aims to identify an optimal sequence of steps to enhance the acquisition quality of an object of interest. To this end, a hierarchy of neural networks has been employed first to select which parameter must be regulated then to adjust it. The proposed solution can be applied to both static and moving cameras. The results show how the proposed technique can be applied to images acquired by a moving camera with zoom capabilities for surveillance purposes.