On Friday afternoon I had the privilege to present the closing keynote at AMI2011 in Amsterdam with the title ‘Beyond Ubicomp – Computing is Changing the Way we Live’. The conference featured research in Ambient Intelligence ranging from networking and system architecture to interfaces and ethnography. It brought an interesting set of people together and it was good to see many students and young researchers presenting their work.

In my closing keynote at talked about my experience of the last 13 years in this field and about a vision of the future. My vision is based on a… Continue reading

Mohan Kumar and Marco Conti organized an EU/NSF workshop on Future Directions in Pervasive Computing and Social Networking for Emerging Applications. They managed to get together an interesting set of people and the discussion in the break out session were very enjoyable and I got a number of ideas what really are the challenges to come.

There are the position statements on the web page and at some point the identified grand challenges will be available.

PS: blackboards are still highly effective 😉

At the moment there is an interesting discussion in Germany: should the state buy data (leaked out of a Swiss bank) that give details on people who have not paid their taxes in Germany. I will not add to the political discussion on that as there have been many arguments – some interesting and others funny. I am only amused about a small party that is very much against it. But one has to be fair – this is after all an indicator that democracy works 😉 parties represent the interests of their voters…

I think on a more general… Continue reading

Since a wireless charger (RCA Airnergy) was announces at CES that harvests energy from wifi signals that are around the topic is everywhere in the (tech) news. It is an exciting prospective to imagine mobile devices that will recharge themselves from the environment they are in. However I am not sure how well harvesting energy from RF will worked in regular environments – not saturated with radio signals.

The topic is really exciting – and in the end people probably do not care much if the energy is harvested from their movement, from light, temperature or RF – as… Continue reading

At Nokia Research Center in Tampere I gave a talk with the title “Computing Beyond Ubicomp – Mobile Communication changed the world – what else do we need?“. My main argument is that the next big thing is a device that allows us to predict the future – on a system as well as on a personal level. This is obviously very tricking as we have a free will and hence the future is not completely predictable – but extrapolating from the technologies we see now it seems not farfetched to create a device that enables predictions of… 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

BJ Fogg gave the opening keynote at mobile HCI 2008 in Amsterdam. The talk explained very well the concept of Captology (computers as persuasive technologies) and the newer projects are very inspiring. He put the following questions at the center: How can machines change people’s minds and hearts? How can you automate persuasion? His current focus is on behavior change.

He reported of a class he is teaching at Stanford on designing facebook applications. The metric for success (and on this students are marked) is the uptake of the created application over the time of the course. He reported… 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

Today and yesterday I am visiting a conference that is concerned with ageing – looking at the topic from different perspective (computer science, psychology, medicine, economics) run at the MPI in Berlin. The working group is associate with the the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and I was invited by Prof. Ulman Lindenberger who is director at the Max Planck Insititut and works in Lifespan Psychology. The working group is called ageing in Germany (in German).

Antonio Krüger and I represented the technology perspective with example from the domain of ubiquitous computing. My talk “ubiquitous computing in adulthood and… Continue reading

Mark Billinghurst presented an interesting history of augmented reality and he showed clearly that camera phones are the platform to look out for. He reminded us that currently the 3D performance of mobile phones is similar to the most powerful 3D graphics cards show 15 years ago at SIGGRAPH. Looking back at Steven Feiner’s backpack [1] – the first augmented reality system I saw – can tell us that we should not be afraid to create prototypes that may be a bit clumsy if they allow us to create a certain user experience and for exploring technology challenges.

In an… Continue reading

After having frost and snow yesterday morning in Germany being in Porto (Portugal) is quite a treat. The KDubiq application workshop is in parallel to the summer school and yesterday evening it was interesting to meet up with some people teaching there.

The more I learn about data mining and machine learning the more I see even greater potential in many ubicomp application domains. In my talk “Ubicomp Applications and Beyond – Research Challenges and Visions” I looked back at selected applications and systems that we have developed over the last 10 year (have a look at the… Continue reading

It was great to spend some time chatting with Alois Ferscha and Gabi Kotsis in Linz. We discussed future forms of advertisement and it seems that it is very clear that pervasive computing technologies – ranging from new displays, to tracking and implicit and explicit interaction – will change our high streets (and any other place where we expect or don’t advertising) in the near future significantly. Looking at current installations we can already see that the race for grapping customer’s attention is on. Given the many ideas around I expect it will be quite exciting.

One interesting movie on… Continue reading

In Frankfurt there was today an expert meeting on RFID and ubicomp organized by the Fraunhofer ISI. The purpose was a discussion about the impact of RFID technologies. The organizers will use our input to inform the creation of a document of technology assessment for the German parliament. The majority of the participants came from companies developing RFID technology or system.In the first part of my talk “RFID and Beyond” I highlighted results from two workshops where I was a co-organizer: PTA2006 and Pertec2007 held at the Pervasive and Percom conferences. The results were also published in 2 papers… Continue reading

The Fraunhofer institute IAO opened today a new interaction lab in Stuttgart under the topic interaction with all senses. Prof. Spath, director of the Fraunhofer IAO, made a strong argument for new user interfaces. In his talk he discussed adaptive cruse control in cars as an example for user interface challenges.

My talk on “implicit interaction – smart living in smart environments” argues for a sensible mix of user centred design and technology driven innovation. As one example I used the Sensor-Knife which Matthias Kranz implemented.

Prof. Jürgen Ziegler, a colleague at the University of Duisburg-Essen… Continue reading

Herbert Burkert gave a presentation at IAIS on the very basics of public law. He is professor of public law, information and communication law at the research center for information law at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He is currently on leave from Fraunhofer IAIS.

For developers and researchers in computer science that build real systems which can be deployed it is a great challenge to ensure compatibility with the law. In particular systems that are accessible over the world wide web in almost any country it appears really difficult to conform to all laws in the countries… Continue reading

Skype is down for a few hours and is has an impact on users. It is interesting that for some people I do not have regular phone numbers anymore. This minor (at least to me) inconvenience and the massive reaction in the news shows however how much we start to rely on network centred infrastructure tools.

Thinking about myself: xing and linked have largly replaced my local contacts database and my calendar is online, too; the acm-digital library, springer link, computer.org and google-scholar make me through away papers after I have read them (at the beginning of my PhD-studies I… Continue reading

It is always great to visit the pervasive computing labs in Linz – always new and cool research to see. Looking at my my Google News-Alert it seems that the term “pervasive” is dominate by Alois 🙂

Alois Ferscha showed me their interaction cube. It is a really interesting piece of research and the background and argument of the cinematic of the hand shows a deep insight. There are some slides on the Telekom Austria Cube that are worthwhile to look at. It is interesting that he has gone successfully the full cycle from concept to product (image is taken… Continue reading

In 2005 Friedeman Mattern organized a symposium at ETH Zurich on how computing impacts everyday life (http://www.comp21.inf.ethz.ch/). He edited a book (Die Informatisierung des Alltags. Leben in smarten Umgebungen, @Amazon) which includes versions of most of the talks. The book is in German.

I contributed a chapter to the book (draft version) on the symbioses between humans and computers. In the paper the idea of novel user interfaces that augment human capabilities and improve our ability in what we can do with technology is assessed. It is mainly based on the work done… Continue reading

It was interesting to see that smart objects / smart object services, context, NFC, and RFID become very mainstream. It seems that nearly everyone buys into these ideas now.

Dr. Mohsen Darianian (from Nokia Research, same building as Paul Holleis is at the moment) showed an NFC-advert video which reminded me on the results of an exercise we did on concept videos within an HCI-class at the University of Munich 🙂

Overall it seems that acceptance and business models are of great interest and that to create them a lot of technical insight is required. The issues related to user… Continue reading

In the castle on campus Ute Schütz and Michael Krapp from IAIS and SCAI organize a public panel discussion on citizen journalism and Web 2.0 trends. The discussion looked at the topic from several angles including technology, content, and communication. I had the honour to be on the panel with Wolfgang Back, Frank Patalong, Moritz „mo.“ Sauer and Thomas Tikwinski.

On issue was how much blogs are (mis)used to transport information or to do advertising. The web seems to be to many people a very believable medium. This reminded me of an article I read some time ago on story-telling… Continue reading

Debora Estrin made an interesting statement. The “early challenges” (the thousands or millions of randomly scattered sensor notes) do not have much applicability outside the battlefield. The new challenges are heterogeneity (specific sensors with specific capabilities) and interactivity (basically sense-making is a process where humans are involved). She made the point that the logical consequence is that dealing with data is the essential issue and statistics have an increasing role. Furthermore these new research directions make a stromg call for application driven research. With these very insightful comments she criticised a lot of the current work in sensor networks. Especially… Continue reading

At PerCom 2007 (www.percom.org) Florian Michahelles (Auto-ID labs, ETH Zurich), Frédéric Thiesse (University of St. Gallen), John R. Williams (MIT Cambridge) and I are running the the PerTec workshop (www.autoidlabs.org/events/pertec2007). There is quite some interest in the topic and the range of topics is from technical to user interface and security.

In contrast to the workshop 1 year ago at Pervasive 2006 it seems that item level RFID-tagging is undisputed and that the only discussion point is when it is coming – in 6 month or 10 years. There is also still some discussion about what… Continue reading

This morning the first 3 students completed the exercise part of our lab class. For the first team the basics are done and we start with the exciting part 😉

We have different sensors that can be connected via Bluetooth to the phone (e.g. heart rate, pulse oximeter, GPS) and the task for the project is to invent a new application that makes use of sensors and creates a new user experience.

In the brainstorming session some were tearing out their hair – but it was rewarding. Some of the ideas that came out are really novel – and perhaps… Continue reading

Thecla Schiphorst introduced us in her talk “PillowTalk: Can We Afford Intimacy? to the concept of Affectionate-Computing.The central question is really how can we create intimacy in communication an interaction with and through technology? The prototype showed networked soft objects, that include sensors that recognize tactile qualities and gesture interaction. There are more details in her paper published at TEI’07.