Monthly Archives: March 2007

This week the final presentations of the lab course were due. It was really interesting to see what motivated students can achieve in just 4 weeks! The projects explored the idea of contextual ECG and students implemented the data acquisition, transmission over the network, and visualisation. The user studies showed that there is quite some potential in the idea (even though there is also still some way to go before the system is perfect 😉 We plan to publish a paper on the results of the course.

An event this week reminded me that life has an end. Getting a link to a Google Map page (satellite image) where someone found his last resting place shows how far reaching new technologies have penetrated our life. This made me think about a demo I saw at Ubicomp last year (http://mastaba.digital-shrine.com/). The digital family shrine did not really relate to my cultural experience and felt somehow strange, but still very interesting and intriguing

Debora Estrin made an interesting statement. The “early challenges” (the thousands or millions of randomly scattered sensor notes) do not have much applicability outside the battlefield. The new challenges are heterogeneity (specific sensors with specific capabilities) and interactivity (basically sense-making is a process where humans are involved). She made the point that the logical consequence is that dealing with data is the essential issue and statistics have an increasing role. Furthermore these new research directions make a stromg call for application driven research. With these very insightful comments she criticised a lot of the current work in sensor networks. Especially… Continue reading

Gregor got for our Perci prototype (Supporting Mobile Service Usage through Physical Mobile Interaction) the best demo award. So it paid off that he spend a night configuring the data services on the phones for the US networks 😉 It is amazing that it is still quite an effort to configure data services for a new provider.

This year we (my previous group from LMU Munich) have a significant presence at PerCom. Form the 20 full papers the Embedded Interaction Research Group (www.hcilab.org) has 3, and additionally 1 of the 7 concise papers is from us. With a total of 207 submissions and an acceptance rate of around 10% this is quite an achievement for the team – and a good high point for the project before moving it to University of Bonn.

Gregor(y) Broll had the demo developed in the Perci-Project yesterday. Lucia Terrenghi and I had our talks today. And Gregor Broll, Sebastian… Continue reading

At PerCom 2007 (www.percom.org) Florian Michahelles (Auto-ID labs, ETH Zurich), Frédéric Thiesse (University of St. Gallen), John R. Williams (MIT Cambridge) and I are running the the PerTec workshop (www.autoidlabs.org/events/pertec2007). There is quite some interest in the topic and the range of topics is from technical to user interface and security.

In contrast to the workshop 1 year ago at Pervasive 2006 it seems that item level RFID-tagging is undisputed and that the only discussion point is when it is coming – in 6 month or 10 years. There is also still some discussion about what… Continue reading

10 years after I have got seen first see the crazy idea of wearable computing it appears that the technology is now really pushing into the marked. Even though one could argue whether or not this is really wearable computing (but this argument is as old as the idea of wearable computing). The last thing I would have expected 10 years ago was Bavarian Lederhosen with a built in user interface for an mp3-player. But nevertheless many challenges are still the same (integration with the aesthetics and fashion statement, durability and wash-ability, connectivity between computer and garment, integrated user interfaces)… Continue reading

“Deutschland – Land der Ideeen” – Germany land of ideas was really visible at the Fraunhofer exhibitions at CeBIT. For me having just recently joined Fraunhofer Gesellschaft I was amazed on the many research areas covered and the quality of the exhibits. Next generation MP3, interaction in public spaced, smart transport solutions, robots, micro-electronics, sensors – it is not really feasible to make a list… Our institute (IAIS) showed several exiting exhibits (see http://www.iais.fraunhofer.de/ for details).

At the Fraunhofer Forum at CeBIT I had the chance to talk about future transport solutions. One of my students in Munich (Michael Müller) is working on a pro-active transport container. In the project aware-goods (http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/~albrecht/awaregoods/) we looked into this domain already in 2000 at TecO together with SAP Research. Reiterating over the idea is really interesting as now the technology is really here – sensor network nodes are available, mobile phones offer massive processing power, there is ubiquitous data connectivity, and web service interfaces are available for many applications.

The big question is now on algorithms and… Continue reading

Thomas Doppelberger and Andreas Aepfelbacher from Fraunhofer Venture Group (http://www.venturecommunity.de/) came to our lab course to teach us how to get from a technical idea to a successful business. They talked us through the essentials of a business plan, discussed common mistakes and gave us an insight how companies are evaluated and furthermore encouraged our “entrepreneurial thinking”.

After such a day and the interesting discussions with them and the students one wonders why we are not trying more often to look into the option of starting a company. Obviously not every start-up is the next youtube or second… Continue reading

Jonna Häkkilä, a principle scientist from Nokia Research Center in Helsinki/Oulu, is visiting us for two days. As you can see on the pictures she enjoyed arguing with our students. She also gave a talk on her recent work. We talked a lot about the format of the course and the results are really interesting. I think getting 10 students for 4 weeks into one room (every day from 9-5) makes a lot of sense – it is amazing how quick students learn is such a setting.

Jonna was a co-author of a paper on tactile output at TEI’07 (“Tap… Continue reading

This morning the first 3 students completed the exercise part of our lab class. For the first team the basics are done and we start with the exciting part 😉

We have different sensors that can be connected via Bluetooth to the phone (e.g. heart rate, pulse oximeter, GPS) and the task for the project is to invent a new application that makes use of sensors and creates a new user experience.

In the brainstorming session some were tearing out their hair – but it was rewarding. Some of the ideas that came out are really novel – and perhaps… Continue reading

By accident I have seen that Heiner Wolf (he was a researcher at the University of Ulm when I was a student there) has a new company – http://portal.zweitgeist.com/. Back then in 1996 he worked on a European funded project called CoBrow – Cooperative Browsing – looking how to create a system that allows you to meet other people who are on the same web page as you are.

Since then I think that is a really exiting idea. But looking at his current work it is easy to imagine that this could really take of. It is extremely… Continue reading