Dagmar Kern has successfully defended her PhD on “Supporting the Development Process of Multimodal and Natural Automotive User Interfaces” in Essen. External examiner was Antonio Krüger from University of Saarbrücken. Her dissertation will be available online soon. The core contribution of the thesis is the investigation of how to improve a user centered design process for automotive user interfaces. In order to systematically assess user interface designs in cars she developed a design space (inspired by Card et al [5]). In various cases studies she create novel in-car user interfaces and explored experimentally the implications on driver distraction.

Dagmar started… Continue reading

For the second time we organize a doctoral seminar for PhD students in CS from Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg und Essen. The main purpose is to provide networking opportunities beyond the own subject area and to highlight to options for life after the PhD.

This year we had 4 invited speakers highlighting opportunities in academia, industry, and in SMEs:

Friday and Saturday we hosted the GI working groups on tangible interaction (GI Arbeitskreis Be-greifbare Interaction in gemischten Wirklichkeiten) for the second inventor’s workshop. We were positively surprised that more than 30 people took part. We started with a set of nice demos from our students and then Nicolas Villar presented an invited talk.

The concept of the workshop was to create ideas by looking more closely at different materials that may be used for interaction and by assessing novel interaction technologies. On Friday afternoon we had several tables with material (e.g. smart materials, conductive fabric, magnetic materials,… Continue reading

Today we had an open lab day – our first one in Essen. We invited colleagues, admin staff, students, friends, and family to have a look how we spent our days 😉 and what interesting systems we create with our students and in our research projects. We had several applications on our multi-touch table running, showed two prototypes in the automotive domain (text input while driving and vibration feedback in the steering wheel), demonstrated a new form of interaction with a public display and let people try an eye-tracking application.

This morning I met with Claudius Lazzeroni, a colleague from Folkwang Hochschule (they were part of our University till two years ago).   They have different study programs in design and art related subjects. He showed me some projects (http://www.shapingthings.net/ – in German but lots of pictures that give you the idea). Many of the ideas and prototypes related to our work and I hope we get some joint projects going. I think it could be really exciting to have projects with design and computer science students – looking forward to this! When I was in the UK… 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).

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 😉

Some weeks ago we had a Dr. Thomas Schönert, a journalist with Medienhaus Bauer visiting our group in Essen. We explained the idea that drives our research and showed some prototypes. Last week an article “We create our future” (“Wir bauen unsere Zukunft” in German) was published and it is interesting how well he summarized what we said and showed during 2 hours.

Today former colleagues from Fraunhofer IAIS visited the faculty of economics and computer science here in Essen. It was amazing how many topical connections we found between the research at IAIS and the work that is going on here in business studies, information system, and computer science. We discussed different options for future cooperation – in research and teaching – and I am very hopeful that we create interesting opportunities.

Last year, while still in Bonn, I organized summer @ IAIS. For this year we may go more interdisciplinary and set ourselves high goals… lets see.

Currently we work in one of our courses on a specific multi-touch table. Students have already created a first version of an interesting application – and ideas for many more are there. However so far our prototype does not look like a table.

Learning that our university has central workshops we went there to talk about our project and to get the mechanical parts built. Our first meeting was really interesting – we got a tour and saw drilling and milling machines as well as a cutter that works with water (can cut glass precisely – extremely impressive). Best of… Continue reading

Time is flying. We are nearly one month in Essen. Teaching started well and quite a number of students came to our course (see http://www.pervasive.wiwi.uni-due.de/en/teaching/). We have a reliable Internet connection and more furniture than we need 😉 Starting from scratch is a great experience – especially as everybody was very helpful.

Nevertheless it takes a lot of time and effort. I am extremly happy that I was able to start with a real team (Dagmar and Paul)!

From Monday on I will be at the University of Duisburg-Essen. After a little less than a year in Bonn a new challenge is ahead: setting up a new group on Pervasive Computing and User Interface Engineering. The lab will be situated at the campus in Essen (Schützenbahn 70) in the heart of the city. Our group will be in the Institute for Computer Science and Business Information Systems in the faculty of Economics. Teaching starts in the winter term with a lecture on User Interface Engineering and several project oriented courses.

The focus will be on systems, user… Continue reading