Yearly Archives: 2009

While travelling I came across two very different books. On one of the airports I came through I came across Superfreakonimics by Levitt and Dubner [1] I had also read their earlier book (Freakonomics) as well as The Undercover Economist from Tim Harford – so I got this one. It is funny to read and I enjoyed most of it. The Geo-Engineering statements in the book received quite some critism on the net. So don’t by it for its discussion on climate ;-). Reading the books it seems one gets a good explanation of certain things in the world (and… Continue reading

December was filled with travel – twice to the US and several trips in Europe – and for the first time in two years I did not really get around to write my blog…

I am still wondering what technology we require that could make physical meetings less important. Video conference is getting better and I use it a lot – but it still does not facilitate a discussion between 30 or more people well. Besides the work that is in reviewing I really emjoy that part of my job – I find it really exciting to see so much… Continue reading

On Wednesday and Thursday Enrico visited our group in Essen. He gave a part of my lecture on user interface engineering talking about mobile interaction with the real world. He include interesting examples, such as QR-code/NFC/RFID use in Asia, SixthSense project (camera projection system to wear around the neck) and handheld mobile projections. Enrico also explained some of the multi-tag work he does at Lancaster University [1].

In the lecture we talked briefly about future devices and interfaces. I mentioned one example: projection in the large – on building scale. The 3D visualization overplayed on buildings seem impressive – at… Continue reading

The 8th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM 2009) was held in Cambridge, UK. The conference is fairly specific and had an acceptance rate of about 33% – have a look at the table of content for an overview. Florian Michahelles presented our paper on a design space for ubiquitous product recommendation systems [1]. Our work contributes a comprehensive design space that outlines design options for product recommendation systems using mobile and ubiquitous technologies. We think that over the next years mobile recommendation systems have the potential to change the way we shop in the real world.… Continue reading

Finland is one country in Europe were it seems pretty hard to get to in the morning from Germany or Austria. If you have a meeting before 11 am you have to fly the day before.

I was invited to Helsinki to be opponent (together with Kaisa Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila) for the PhD defense of Elina Vartiainen at Helsinki University of Technology. The first time I came across work she was involved in was at CHI 2006 in Montreal. She worked with Virpi Roto on the Minimap web browser [1]. Last year in a doctoral colloquium in Finland we first discussed some… Continue reading

Florian Alt presented our work on pervasive advertising, in particular on creating dynamic user profiles in the real world [1]. This research was carried out together with colleagues in marketing and software systems and implemented in one of our course. We are proud that it got named best paper at AmI 2009! Another paper to look at in this context was presented by Jörg Müller; it looked at pervasive advertisement utilizing screens on public phone boxes. The study is amazing in size (20 displays all over Münster, 17 participating shops) and duration (1 year, 24/7) [2]. Even though the results… Continue reading

In the opening keynote of AMI 2009 Frits Grotenhuis (who stepped in for Emil Aarts) looked back at the last 10 years ambient intelligence. In his talk he showed a number of examples of devices that Philips created in this time, including iCat, the Entertaible, Ambilight, and medical devices. He discussed briefly the forces in such developments between market-pull and technology-push and it became evident that many products in this domain are more technology push than market-pull.

I liked the reference back to the Electronic Poem at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, which must have been at that… Continue reading

The central role of ICT becomes very visible when it does not work. Sometimes for the good as I was late arriving at Düsseldorf airport but the Airberlin check-in system was down for a few minutes – just enough that I was still in time

In the evening I met Prof. Lorenz Hilty, who gave a talk in the afternoon at ETH Zurich. I missed the talk but after the interesting and though provoking dinner conversation I decided I should finally really read his book [1] – perhaps over Christmas. Meeting with Friedemann Mattern and Hans Gellersen was very… Continue reading

In the refurbished railway station (not yet finished) there is an interesting new pixel display in one main underpass. One wall is covered with a display. It is about 10 pixel (probably about 4 meters) high and several hundred pixels long (have not counted/measured them). It changes colors and shows writing (so far not really exciting).

How cool would it be if there is a freely accessible programmable web-service to control these pixel? I would guess people could create all sorts of interesting content… Perhaps people would start to bargain to get their 5 minutes of virtual graffiti shown…

Together with Antonio’s group we looked at new forms of interaction beyond the desktop. The journal paper Tangible, Embedded, and Reality-Based Interaction [1] gives overview and examples of recent trends in human computer interaction and is a good starting point to learn about these topics.

Abstract: Tangible, embedded, and reality-based interaction are among novel concepts of interaction design that will change our usage of computers and be part of our daily life in coming years. In this article, we present an overview of the research area of tangible, embedded, and reality-based interaction as an area of media informatics. Potentials and… Continue reading

Base on work we did together with DoCoMo Eurolabs in Munich we have published the article “Perci: Pervasive Service Interaction with the Internet of Things” in the IEEE Internet Computing special issue on the Internet of Things edited by Frédéric Thiesse and Florian Michahelles.

The paper discusses the linking of digital resources to the real world. We investigated how to augment everyday objects with RFID and Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to enable simpler ways for users to interact with service. We aim at creating a digital identities of real world objects and by this integrating them into… Continue reading

In my lecture on user interface engineering I start out with a short history of human computer interaction. I like to discuss ideas and inventions in the context of the people who did it, besides others I take about Vannevar Bush and his vision of information processing [1], Ivan Sutherland’s sketchpad [2], Doug Engelbart’s CSCW demo (including the mouse) [3], and Alan Kay’s vision of the Dynabook [4].

One aspect of looking at the history is to better understand the future of interaction with computers. One typical question I ask in class is “what is the ultimate user interface” and… Continue reading

Having coordinated the editing of a shared document with about 100 pages I still wonder why I have not come across a really good solutions that work in a real life context. We were 10 people working on the document which also contained about 100 references various tables and graphs, which originated in spreadsheets. Our solution using (different version) of Microsoft Word and Excel on different platforms (Win and Mac) was at best sup-optimal. Track changes works great if I write something and someone else corrects it – but with a larger number of people creating and reworking the document… Continue reading

The next European deadline is close and hence everyone is writing proposals…

I wonder if someone has assessed how much work goes into proposal writing on a European scale. On one hand I see the value of forcing researchers to write proposals and to articulate their ideas but on the other hand it seems a great lot of research could be conducted if senior people would use this time for doing actual research. In proposals formulating the actual core of the research idea is exciting (often even more exciting than carrying out research) but this is only one part of… Continue reading

Over the last three years I have been regularly to Dublin to act as external examiner for the Ubicomp MSc course. For me this was a good experience to see how serious The School of Computing at Trinity College takes external quality control and how well processes are managed. And besides the administrative part I saw a great many interesting MSc dissertations over the years. Even though the term has come to an end I hope to travel to Dublin in the future too – perhaps on Holiday to see more of the city (which I did not really manage… Continue reading

What did I do with Vivien the last weekends? We soldered a radio receiver kit (retro style) and it worked – there are still plenty of stations on the air all over Europe. Nowadays you have to make quite some effort to find interesting electronic kits – besides the radio we got a candle light simulator (it is an LED controlled by a PIC microcontroller that imitates a realistic flickering candle in the form factor a small candle).

Do you remember the Sony walkman? It was at the time quite a revolution – looking at it now it looks a… Continue reading

Every day per year one place or institution is Germany is awarded “a place in the land of ideas“. This initiative is quite completive (each year well over 2000 institutions apply and the year has only 365 days…).

The innovation factory at the University of Duisburg-Essen has a really interesting vision and received the award for its concept of converting ideas into innovations and products. It promotes thinking in product rather and by this challenges researchers to look how their research results could enable new products or enhance existing products. I find this a most useful exercise –… Continue reading

Following our first workshop on this topic in Nara during Pervasive 2009 earlier this year we had on Friday the 2nd Pervasive Advertising Workshop in Lübeck as part of the German computer science conference Informatik 2009.

The program was interesting and very diverse. Daniel Michelis discussed in his talk how we move from an attention economy towards an engagement economy. He argued that marketing has to move beyond the AIDA(S) model and to consider engagement as central issue. In this context he introduced the notion of Calm Advertising and interesting analogy to Calm Computing [1]. Peter van Waart… Continue reading

For some of the recent proceedings (Automotive User Interfaces Conference and Pervasive Advertising Workshop) we used a tag cloud generator (http://www.wordle.net/) to generate a picture for the title page. The tag cloud below of the pervasive advertising workshop is based on the whole proceedings and the one above based on my professional CV.Bastian just told me there are other interesting ways to characterize a person … see http://personas.media.mit.edu/

The Auto-UI 2009 conference in Essen is over – and for us it was very enjoyable to have this many visitors at the University of Duisburg-Essen – see the photos. The conference facilitated good discussions and had a very constructive atmosphere. We should continue this exchange of ideas and there is always room for improvement… and that is why there is a Auto-UI conference 2010 in Pittsburgh, US – and there is interest beyond this in hosting the conference.

You can register to get information about the next conference on the Auto-UI webpage.

The proceedings are now online in… Continue reading

The Auto-UI 2009 conference in Essen is over – and for us it was very enjoyable to have this many visitors. The conference facilitated good discussions and had a very constructive atmosphere. We should continue this exchange of ideas and there is always room for improvement… and that is why there is a Auto-UI conference 2010 in Pittsburg, US – and there is interest beyond this.

You can register to get information about the next conference on the Auto-UI webpage.

The proceedings are now online in the ACM DL and the linked on the program website.

In the evening we went to Zeche Zollverein – a world cultural heritage site called “the most beautiful coal mine in the world”. We got a guided tour and had dinner in the Kokerei.It was interesting to see and learn about working conditions – which were really hard. 100 years ago it was common that live expectancy of the workers was less that 60, that there was typically one serious accident per day and that about 30 people died every year in the coal mine.

We find that nowadays inhumane and it would be in Germany (and many other… Continue reading

The proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications (AutomotiveUI 2009) [1] are freely available on the conference website and in the ACM digital library (see the table of contents of the proceedings). We created a printed version of the proceedings and it seemed that a lot of participants used it during the conference – so paper seems to have still a value (at least to some of us).

We decided to pursue an open policy for disseminating the proceedings. The authors keep the copyright of their paper and the authors grant the… Continue reading

Dagmar presents her work on a design space for automotive user interfaces [1]. The design space allows to categorize user interface components and elements with regard to interaction agent, position in the car, and type of interaction. The design space can be used to compare interfaces and as tool for assessing new opportunities for interaction.

The design space is based on an analysis of more than 700 pictures from IAA 2007. The photos (and soon photos from IAA 2009) are available at https://www.pcuie.uni-due.de/AUI/

[1] Kern, D. and Schmidt, A. 2009. Design space for driver-based automotive user interfaces. In Proceedings… Continue reading

Tom Seder and I openend the conference and welcomed our keynote speaker.

I was very excited that Gert Volker Hildebrand accepted to be the keynote speaker for the 1st International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications (AutomotiveUI 2009). He is with BMW Group in Munich and is the director of design for MINI. The topic of his talks was: “MINI Design: From the Original to the Original. The path from Center Speedo to Center Globe”. When I first came across the UI concept I wanted to meet the person – and a keynote is always one… Continue reading

On the weekend I went with Vivien to a fairground at the Volksfest in Crailsheim (smaller Version of the Oktoberfest). Vivien is now old enough for some of the attractions – giving me an excuse to try them out The forces on the body are pretty exciting when you feel them for the first time or after 20 years again…

It is amazing how much (mechanical) engineering is in these attractions, even though many are still the same as when I was a child (about 30 years ago). It seems that computer science plays a very minor role (besides controlling… Continue reading

Kentaro Toyama presented the closing keynote of MobileHCI 2009 with the title “Technology for Global Socio-Economic Development”. He gave an experience report of projects he works on in India. I liked especially that he included things that work but also discussed a set of myth with regard to ICT in the developing world (see Myths of ICT4D).

It is worthwhile to read more about his work, see Kentaro’s home page for more.

Ali presented our joint work with Nokia Rearch and DoCoMo Eurolab in the paper on sharing emotions [1] (the acceptance rate was about 20%). The research is motivated by the question how we can make communication more emotional and how we can enable digital craft creating. The idea is to have a new communication medium were a communication item is hand crafted and can carry emotion. The questions were encouraging and we hope to continue to work on this topic.

In the poster session we had two contributions. Christian Winkler showed his project on Flash-light interaction [2]. The idea is… Continue reading

At the evening event of MobileHCI2009 the best paper awards were presented. The best short paper was “User expectations and user experience with different modalities in a mobile phone controlled home entertainment system” [1]. There were two full papers that got a best paper award: “Sweep-Shake: finding digital resources in physical environments” [2] and “PhotoMap: using spontaneously taken images of public maps for pedestrian navigation tasks on mobile devices” [3]. We often look at best papers of a conference to better understand what makes a good paper for this community. All of the 3 papers above are really well done… Continue reading

Yesterday we discussed (again during the evening event of MobileHCI2009) how hard it would be to support the process of writing a high quality research paper. In many conference there is a very defined style what you need to follow, specific things to include, and certain ways of how to present information. This obviously depends on the type of contribution but within one contribution type there could be probably provided a lot of help to create the skeleton of the paper… In many other areas Sounds like another project idea 😉

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