Monthly Archives: June 2008

Today I was at CDTM in Munich (http://www.cdtm.de/) to give a lecture to introduce Pervasive Computing. It was a great pleasure that I was invited again after last year’s visit. We discussed no less than how new computing technologies are going to change our lives and how we as developers are going to shape parts of the future. As everyone is aware there are significant challenges ahead – one is personal travel and I invited students to join our summer factory (basically setting up a company / team to create a news mobility platform). If you are interested,… Continue reading

Hans Gellersen, who was my supervisor while I was in Lancaster, visited our lab in Essen. We discussed options for future collaborations, ranging from student exchange to joined proposals. Besides other topics we discussed sustainable energy as this is more and more becoming a theme of great importance and Pervasive Computing offers many building blocks towards potential solutions. Hans pointed me to an interesting project going on at IBM Hursley “The House That Twitters Its Energy Use“.

At the Ubicomp PC meeting we recently discussed the value of face-2-face meetings in the context of scientific work and… Continue reading

Arriving this morning in Brussels I was surprised by the length of the queue for taxis. Before seeing the number of people I considered taking a taxi to the meeting place as I had some luggage – but doing a quick count on the taxi frequency and the number of people in the line I decided to walk to make it in time. Then I remembered that some months ago I had a similar experience in Florence, when arriving at the airport for CHI. There I calculated the expected waiting time and choose the bus. Reflecting briefly on this it… Continue reading

What is a birthday cake without a candle? Sometimes it is hard to find a candle but having a creative team there is always a solution – less than 3 minutes away 😉 As always with new technologies – after deployments ideas for Version 2 (which will include much more functionality) emerge… An there was another business idea – interactive wedding cakes – perhaps we explore this later this year 😉

I had a day off an was as “teaching assistant” on a school trip with the kids my wife is teaching. The trip went to a museum village (Wackershofen), which tries to preserve and communicate how people lived about 100 years ago.

On side observation was that in digital photography the limiting factor is now not anymore the memory space but the batteries in the camera. This has changed over the last 2 years – there children still selected which pictures they have to delete – now that is no issue anymore. This shows that some of the trends… Continue reading

After several month of building work we could finally move into our new lab space. It is still largely empty but provides great opportunities for the research we have planed.

In order to conserve resources we decided to re-use furniture that was already used by another group within the university (which is not there anymore). This group apparently had a different approach in storing information (physical – real paper) and Florian and Ali had to get rid of several GB before they got their shelves 😉

Florian Michahelles, associate director of the AutoID-Labs in Zürich visited our group and gave a presentation in my course on Pervaisve Computing. He introduced the vision of using RFID in businesses, gave a brief technology overview and discussed the potential impact – in a very interactive session. Florian and I worked together in the Smart-its project and during his PhD studies he and Stavros were well know as the experts on Ikea PAX [1], [2]. In 2006 and 2007 we ran workshops on RFID technologies and published the results and a discussion on emerging trends in RFID together [3],… Continue reading

This evening I went to Münster to meet with Antonio Krüger and Lucia Terrenghi (who is now with Vodafone), who was visiting there. Advertisement is a hot topic and it was interesting that we shared an interesting observation “If the advert/information is the least boring thing to look at people will read it ;-)”. Each of us having their favorite anecdotal evidence: my favorites are people reading the same map everyday at their U-station and the advertising flyers in the Munich S-Train. For context-aware advertisement this is the major challenge to find the time/location where people are bored and happy… Continue reading

While browsing the equator website I came again across an interesting publication – I had seen two years ago at MobileHCI – in the domain of pedestrian navigation [1]. The Basic idea is to use a collection of geo-tagged photos to provide visual cues to people in what direction they should go, e.g. “walk towards this building”. This is an interesting application linking two concepts we discussed in the part on location in my lecture on pervasive computing. It follows the approach of augmenting the user in a way that the user does what he does well (e.g. matching visual… Continue reading

AJ Brush and John Krumm organize for the people who are in Redmond for the Ubicomp PC meeting a visit to Microsoft. In the morning we got a tour at the home lab – Microsoft’s vision of future home environments – was quite interesting, but had to sign an NDA.After lunch we went over to Microsoft Research (which is in a new building). We got to see some cool demos. Andy Wilson showed us some new stuff moving the SURFACE forward (physics rocks!). I learned more about depth sensing cameras and Andy showed a fun application [1] – there… Continue reading

Flying back from Sydney with Qantas and now flying to Seattle with Lufthansa I had to long distance flights in which I had the opportunity to study (n=1, subject=me, plus over-shoulder-observation-while-walking-up-and-down-the-aisle 😉 the user interface for the in-flight entertainment.

The 2 systems have very different hardware and software designs. The Qantas infotainment system is a regular screen and interaction is done via a wired moveable remote control store in the armrest. The Lufthansa system uses a touch screen (It also has some hard buttons for volume in the armrest). Overall the content on the Qantas system comprised of more content… Continue reading

After last year’s successful workshop on automotive user interfaces we are planning to run another one this year. We – Susanne Boll (Uni Oldenburg), Wolfgang Spießl (BMW), Matthias Kranz (DLR) and Albrecht Schmidt – are really looking forward to many interesting submissions and a cool workshop program. The theme gains a the moment some momentum, which was very visible at the Special Interest Group meeting at CHI2008.

More information on the workshop and a call for paper is available at: http://automotive.ubisys.org/

Last month Aliresa Sahami finished his master thesis on multi-tactile interaction at BIT Bonn and joined our group in Essen. Ali worked for me a student resesearch assistant at Fraunhofer IAIS. During his studies in Bonn we published an interesting workshop paper on mobile health [1] and gave a related demo at Ubicomp [2]. [1] Alt, F., Sahami Shirazi, A., Schmidt, A. Monitoring Heartbeat per Day to Motivate Increasing Physical Activity. Ubiwell workshop at Ubicomp 2007.

[2] Sahami Shirazi, A.; Cheng, D.; Kroell, O.; Kern, D.; Schmidt, A.: CardioViz: Contextual Capture and Visualization for Long-term ECG Data. In:… Continue reading

Reading the new products section in the IEEE pervasive computing magazine (Vol.7, No.2, April-June 2008) I came across a child monitoring systems: Kiddo Kidkeeper – In the smart-its project Henrik Jernström developed 2001 a similar system in his master thesis at PLAY which was published as a Demo at Ubicomp [1]. I remember very lively the discussion about the validity of this application (basically people – including me – asking “Who would want such technology?”). However it seems society and values are constantly changing – there is an interesting ongoing discussion related to that: Free Range Kids (this is the… Continue reading

Attention is precious and there is a clear fight for it. This is very easy to observe on advertising boards and in news shops. Coming back from Berlin I went in Augsburg into the news agent to get a news paper – and not really looking at magazines is still discovered from the corner of my eyes an issue of FHM with a changing cover page. Technically it is very simple: a lenticular lens that presents and image depending on the viewing angle – alternating between 3 pictures – one of which is a full page advert (for details on… Continue reading