Yearly Archives: 2008

We met in Munich at Docomo Euro Labs to start a new project that is related to context and ambient visualizations. And everyone already got bunnies 😉

Related to this there is a large and very interesting project: IYOUIT. Besides other things it can record and share your context – if you have a Nokia series 60 phone you should try it out. As far as I remember it was voted best mobile experience at mobile HCI 2008. 

Over the last day I have learned about some (more) interesting things out there – here are some to share with you:

This afternoon Gordon Bolduan from Technology Review was visiting the lab. We talked about haptic and tactile interfaces and showed some demos (e.g. navigation with tactile cues).  When preparing for the visit I looked for some good examples of tactile interaction – and interestingly there is more and more work out there that has the potential to change future interfaces and means of communication.  Recent work on connecting people [1] and [2] at the boundary between computing and design shows new options for emotional communication. 

We used in our work multiple vibration motors and explored the potential… Continue reading

This term we teach digital system design and besides the essential (gates, flip-flops, 2-complements, alu, data path, etc) we decided to include some practical parts. In the first part we introduced Verilog. We did the exercises with Icarus Verilog (free, text-based verilog) and there are more powerful tools available, e.g. ISE WebPACK.

In the second part we have practical exercises in assembly language using the Ez430-F2013 development kit. We borrowed one kit to each student (just in case someone is bored over Christmas) and the current task is to complete and assembly program (incomplete sample) that the… Continue reading

Enrico Rukzio (my first PhD from Munich, now lecturer in Lancaster) visited our Lab. He was make a small tour of Germany (Münster, Essen, Oldenburg). In the user interface engineering class Enrico showed some on his current work on mobile interaction, in particular mobile projectors and NFC tags. After the presentation we wondered how long it will take till kids on the train will play with mobile projections 😉 We showed Enrico a demo of eye-tracking for active customization of browser adverts. In our setup we use the Tobii X120. For tracking of people in the room we still have… Continue reading

Arriving at the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport I saw some extra installations (and extra lines) for iris scan immigration. Arriving at 4 am in the morning they were closed and there were not queues – but I could see that it is very attractive at other times of day when queues are long. On the official website they claim that border control will be down to 20 seconds. There is a more detailed document on the schema – I saved the document to have it in 10 years when we will have a very different view on privacy.

On Thursday morning I flew to Boston for the CHI 2009 PC meeting. The review and selection process was organized very professional and efficient. We discussed all papers in one and a half days – and I think an interesting program came out and I learned a lot about what values my colleagues see or see not in papers. On Friday afternoon I flew back to the UK for the Pervasive 2009 PC meeting in Cambridge (with the same crew on the plane).

Nevertheless the question remains how sustainable is it that 100 people fly to a face-2-face meeting. In… Continue reading

Going to Christmas market is in Germany a tradition – and obviously our group went, too 😉It is interesting that most of us had time for this “appointment” with only two days notice – usually it takes us weeks to find a date for a meeting and so far we did not find a date for a strategy meeting in the near future. Perhaps offering Glühwein (that is what you drink at Christmas markets) would help…The quality of photos taken with a mobile phone is in difficult context (e.g. night, lights around) still not satisfactory (even with 5MP, downscaling, and image enhancing).

Mandy Marder, a doctoral student at university hospital in Essen has done an interesting study, looking at the activity of the brain at different driving situations. It seems that if you are driving a well know route you are less alert than when you drive an unknown route (see press release, we have yet to find the appropriate reference). This is an interesting finding that may help to inform some of our work on automotive user interfaces. Together with trends that move more responsibility from the driver to assitive functions this nay be an indication that driving could… Continue reading
In our user interface engineering class one of the tasks in the exercise is to create a concept design for providing information from the car on the mobile phone (e.g. millage, amount a fuel in the car, next service date, alram status, etc). The first part is to assess what information could be made accessible and what value it would create for the user.  Today I came across a device (Tyredog TD-1000A) that is concerned with a one sub-part of this scenario: checking your pressure in the tires of the car. It is a simple sensor… Continue reading

The PC meeting for Percom 2009 took place at IBM in Hawthorne, NY. Percom had about 200 submissions and many good ones – so we could compile an exciting program across the whole field of pervasive computing and communication. As one of three program vice chairs I have looked in detail in about 1/3 of the submissions that were application related. It is interesting to observe that research as a whole in the field becomes more major and at the same time more incremental. 

To me this puts up the big question in which domains will the new big… Continue reading

Looking into Paul Rayson’s blog and discovered an interesting link: http://www.genderanalyzer.com. It is a web form where you can put in an URL and you get an estimate whether the author of this text is male or female. For me it worked great 😉 It says that the text I wrote in my blog is with 88% written by a male. I tried it with a few more of my pages and it worked. Then I looked at some pages of some of my female colleagues and to my surprise it seems they do not write their web… Continue reading

Exoskeletons have received some attention over the last years (some with a clear application area in the army), e.g. Robot suit HAL and the BLEEX Project.   Honda showed now an interesting exoskeletons as walking aid. It is called  “computerized leg device” or “walking assist device” and there is an short movie on youtube and it is designed to help people walk. The application areas are probably broad – I expected mainly in care and rehabilitation, but looking around there seem to be more application domains…
In Cologne in the Museum Ludwig I gave in the afternoon a talk on “Illusions 2.0 – embedded interactive media” at the Forum Mediendesign. The talk focused on the new qualities of magical experiences we will be able to create with pervasive computing technologies in the future and linked this to Alan Kay’s notion of user illusion and metaphors. I looked at trends that are ingredience for creating Illusions 2.0 – in particular ubiquitous communication and display, constant tracking and logging, and the decrease of value of traditional content (text, audio, video, software, tv, statistical data). I highlighted one… Continue reading

We arrived in the evening in Köln and went to our hotel and around 10:30 pm the fire alarm sounded (really loud – you want to leave) and a voice over the speaker system asked us to leave the hotel immediately. When we checked in an hour earlier we overheard that they called for the elevator repair man…

Better safe than sorry I packed up my laptop and rucksack and we went downstairs. At the reception they were pretty busy – but it seemed everyone clear that this a false alarm but it seemed they had no way of really… Continue reading

There many good reason to have an international team – especilly when doing research in pervasive computing and user interface engineering. This morning I learned another one: you can have election parties (=drinks and food in the lab ;-).  Predicting elections results goes new ways and it is interesting that the Xbox Live Polls (http://blog.wired.com/games/2008/09/xbox-live-poll.html) were quite close to the result – already quite some time ago. Perhaps this large poll produced just by accident good results – but it may be a first step towards internet elections. Having internet voting on a game console brings new… Continue reading

On Saturday we went for a walk and to make it more exciting we decided to look for a geocache (GCXP87, N 49° 08.775 E 010° 06.672). To our surprise it took us quite some time (10 minutes) to find it as the GPS reception was not perfect. Vivien, my daughter was excited by the idea of geo caching (I think I can anticipate some of our activities on the next weekends ;-), especially as we even found a travel bug. The travel bug is alreay on its second continent and we still discuss where we place it 😉 

I have been chairing the Stream “Aging as a Global Issue” at the conference Technologies of Globalization 2008 in Darmstadt. It is always very suprising who different research is across different diciplines…

On-Kwok Lai from Kwansei Gakuin University gave a really interesting overview on the current situation in Asia and in particular in Japan with regards the aging society. Learning more about ageing I find myself more often thinking the current “aging research” is more like treating a symptom and not looking at the real problem. And it seems the real problem: reduced reproduction in industrial states –… Continue reading

Today I was teaching my class on user interface engineering and we covered a selected history of HCI and looked at the same time at a potential future. We discussed how user interface evolved and where UI revolutions have happed. To my question “What is the ultimate user interface?” I got three very interesting answers (1) a keyboard, (2) mind reading, and (3) a system that anticipates what I want.  With regard to history in HCI one of my favorite texts is the PhD dissertation of Ivan Sutherland [1]. The work described was done in 1960-1963 when the idea… Continue reading
In our master course we offer a project on pervasive advertisement (it is an interdisciplinary course project from computer science and marketing) where we look at future forms of advertisement that become possible by new technologies. The students presented a set of really exciting ideas – an I would expect (if they get some of their ideas implemented) that advertising will be more entertaining and fun in the future. For some of the ideas we discussed potential privacy issues and I promised to provide later the reference to the German privacy law that restricts the use of optical/camera devices in… Continue reading

Lucia Terrenghi and Thomas Lang from Vodafone R&D in Munich visited our lab. We talked at lot about the future role of mobile devices and in particular how they may change personal computing in the near future. 

After lunch they gave a talk for our students describing Vodafone research and their particular research interests. Using a nice visualization of train lines they showed the research themes and introduced some of their research foci. One area of interest is electronic paper, resulting future devices and potential applications and services. In the discussion I briefly mentioned that I had a look… Continue reading

Lucia Terrenghi and Thomas Lang from Vodafone R&D in Munich visited our lab. We talked at lot about the future role of mobile devices and in particular how they may change personal computing in the near future. 

After lunch they gave a talk for our students describing Vodafone research and their particular research interests. Using a nice visualization of train lines they showed the research themes and introduced some of their research foci. One area of interest is electronic paper, resulting future devices and potential applications and services. In the discussion I briefly mentioned that I had a look… Continue reading

As one issue this morning we came across issues related to privacy. In particular it seems that social network analysis based on behavior in the real world (e.g. the reality mining project [1]) is creating serious interest beyond the technology people. Beyond measuring the frequency of encounters qualifying the way people interact (dominance, emotion, …) will reveal even more about social networks…  In our discussion I made a reference to a book: “The Transparent Society” by David Brin. Even Though it is now nearly 10 years since it was first published I still think it is an interesting starting… Continue reading

The last 2 day we had a meeting – with all faculty of the ICB – discussing the future challenges of work at universities in the context of our current situation. For me the this time was very well spent as I got to know many of my colleagues better and it was incredible to see the potential (from a scientific perspective as well as looking at the people) we have in our organization. To me it is always amazing how much of a difference it makes to have a professional external moderator running such workshops (and we were… Continue reading

Visiting Dublin is always a pleasure – even if the weather is rainy. Most of the day I was at Trinity College reading master theses (which is the second best part of being external examiner, best part is to have lunch at the 1592 😉 In the evening I met with Aaron Quigley and we talked about some ongoing display and advertsing projects in our groups. He told me about one of their recent workshop papers [1] on public displays where they investigated what people take in and what people remember of the content on displays in an academic… Continue reading

At LMU in Munich Richard Atterer defended his PhD thesis on Usability Tool Support for Model-Based Web Development. The external examiner was Prof. Martin Gaedke– it was great meeting Martin again, we shared an office some years back at TecO, University of Karlsruhe. While I was with LMU I worked with Richard on a number of interesting topics and I learned to value his technical skills and insightful reflection – hope he stays in academia 😉  Our experiments with remote usability assessment and effectively fine-grain user tracking on web pages [1] created a number of ideas for… Continue reading

The current issue of the ct-Magazine (one of the largest computing magazines in Germany) features an introductory article on tangible user interfaces (in German).

The article is based on three interviews (Eva Hornecker, Reto Wettach, Albrecht Schmidt) and provides a good overview on this topic for a general audience. The article is in c’t no 21, 2007, p86-88 (no online version yet).

While waiting for my conneting flight a saw a women posting a letter and filming this as she did it. She created some sort of proof. Thinking a little more and having further information in the background (e.g. a clock, the schedule display, people waiting) this this has some potential to replace registered mail for certain domains? This gives me an idea for a small weekend project…

The closing panel at Ubicomp dicussed the last 10 years of ubicomp and potential future direction (with regard to community and technology). On the panel were Gregory Abowd, Hide Tokuda, Lars Eric Holmquist, Eric Paulos, and Albrecht Schmidt. In the following I will just describe some of the points I raised in my short statement.  For me the first observation is that many ideas that were discussed at the first HUC99 (the first ubicomp conference started by Hans Gellsersen) – and were considered very speculative ideas have become common products and services by… Continue reading

Over the last days there were a number of interesting papers presented and so it is not easy to pick a selection… Here is my random paper selection from Ubicomp 2008 that link to our work (the conference papers link into the ubicomp 2008 proceedings in the ACM DL, our references are below):

Don Patterson presented a survey on using IM. One of the finding surprised me: people seem to ignore “busy” settings. In some work we did in 2000 on mobile availability and sharing context users indicated that they would respect this or at least explain when… Continue reading

1 2 3 6