Monthly Archives: January 2009

Looking at interesting and novel interaction devices that would be challenging for students to classify (e.g. in the table suggested by Card et al 1991 [1]) I can across some pretty unusual device. Probably not really useful for an exam but perhaps next year for discussion in class…

Ever wanted to rearrange the keys on your keyboard? ErgoDex DX1 is a set of 25 keys that can be arranged on a surface to create a specific input device. It would be cool if the device could also sense which key is where – would make re-arranging part of the… Continue reading

As many of us I am skeptical of rankings (as long as I was not involved in making them 😉 Nevertheless sometimes they are interesting and helpful in assessing where to publish or what better not to read… This morning we discussed where to publish some interesting work related to web technology (a follow-up of the UsaProx) and for the discussion such a list may have been helpful.  A colleague from Munich sent me the link to an Australian conference ranking and obviously they also have ranked Journals, too. They use A+, A, B, L, and C as… Continue reading

The February 2009 edition of technology review (German version) has its focus on new user interfaces and titles “Streicheln erwünscht” (translates to stroking/caressing/fondling welcome). It has a set of articles talking about new way of interacting multimodality, including tangible user interfaces and tactile communication. In the article “Feel me, touch me” by Gordon Bolduan on page 74 a photo of Dagmar’s prototype of tactile steering wheel is depicted. The full paper on the study will be published at Pervasive in May 2009 (so you have to be patient to get the details – or come and visit our lab… Continue reading

In the User Interface Engineering lecture we discussed today input devices, especially to interact with 3D environments. In 3D environments having 6 degrees of freedom (3 directions in translation and 3 options for rotation) appears very natural. Looking back at 2D user interfaces with this in mind one has to ask why are we happy (an now for more than 25 years) with translation (in 2D) only and more specifically why is it not possible to rotate my application windows in Vista (or perhaps it is and I just dont know it). At first this questions seems like a joke… Continue reading

Earlier I had a tele-conference with Christian Becker and Gregor Schiele (we still try to write a book 😉 and I tryed MeBeam.com for the video. And to my great suprise it work instandly and well and the conference setup took about 5 seconds – open website, chose a name for the conference, distribute the link over skype. And as one can see video adds another quality to the conversation

This morning I was coming back from Munich* on the train I got a phone call from a journalist from Radio Essen (http://www.102.2radioessen.de/). As their studio is very close to the railways station in Essen I went there spontaneously before going back to University. 

We talked a little about web services for students to rate their profs (e.g. meinProf.de). The numbers of ratings most professors have received so far is extremely small (in comparison to the number of students we teach) and hence you get interesting effects that are far from representative or in many cases even meaningful. Last term I registered my course and we sent proactively a mail to all students who complete the course with the request to rate the lectures. This seems to be a good way to generate a positive selection There are many of these services out – rating teachers, doctors, shops, etc. Thinking a little more about the whole concept of rating others one could image many interesting services – all of them creating a clear benefit (for someone) and a massive reduced privacy for others.  To make it more specific I offer you one idea: Rate your fellow students’ professonal capabilities and academic performance. Students have typically a very good insight into the real qualities of their peers (e.g. technical skills, social compatibility, creativity, mental resilience, ability to cope with workload, diligence, honesty etc.). Having this information combined with the official degree (and the transcript the university offers) a potential employer would get a really interesting picture… We discussed this with students last term an the reactions were quite diverse – as one can image.> Obviously such a service would create a lot of criticism (which lowers the cost of marketing) and one would have to carefully think in which countries it would be legal to run it. An interesting question would… Continue reading

Paul Holleis defended today his PhD thesis on “Integrating Usability Models into Pervasive Application Development” in Munich – My No.3. He worked together with Matthias on the DFG project “Embedded Interaction”. Paul is now with Docomo Eurolabs in Munich.  The set of publication Paul produced is impressive – you probably don’t have time to read all of them 😉 but at least take a look at the following ones: an extension to KLM for mobile phones [1], an integrated development environment that includes usability models [2], and a explorative study in wearable computing [3].  In Germany… Continue reading

Instead of covering the history of calculating machines in the DSD lecture, we took the train and went to the Arithmeum in Bonn to the see the artefacts live and to play with some of them. We started with early means for counting and record keeping. The tokens and early writings did not use numbers as abstract concepts, rather as representatives of concrete objects – this is very inspiring, especially from a tangible interaction point of view. The knots, as used in south America, show impressively how the tools for calculation have to fit the context people live in. Interestingly… Continue reading
We organize at this year’s Pervasive computing conference in Nara, Japan a workshop on Pervasive Advertising – http://pervasiveadvertising.org.  We expect that there is a lot of interesting research going on in the area and it is clearly a controversial topic. Being an optimist – I see the new options that arise. In particular a future with less annoying advertisements is one hope But many people are focusing on the risks that arise – an interesting positing with some criticism of our workshop objective can be found at the near future laboratory  I do not share… Continue reading

Hans was for a meeting in Stuttgart and he stayed another day to discuss project ideas with me – won’t tell them here ;-). Nevertheless there are always small new things to discover, too. Hans showed Vivien the Ocarina application for the iPhone – it is quite amazing how little it takes to create an interesting application – and that is very different from a traditional musical instrument. Especially the interweaving of playing yourself with the worldwide community is extremely well done. 

Over new year we went for a short skiing trip to Bödele in Austria. It is a small ski resort but great for learning to ski (and this is what Vivien did We stayed in Dornbirn (not far from Lake Constance) in at Hotel Krone and had a really nice room – and it had a remarkable light installation. 

There were several lights (like you have them typical in a hotel room), then there were many switches, and finally there was a full page manual how to use the light – welcome to ambient intelligence! Instead of switching… Continue reading