This year’s ACM MobiSys conference is in the Lake District in the UK. I really love this region in the UK. Already 15 years back when I studied in Manchester I often came up over the weekend to hike in the mountains here. The setting of the conference hotel is brilliant, overlooking Lake Windermere.The opening keynote of MobiSys 2012 was presented by Dr. Paul Jones, the NHS Chief Technology Officer who talked about “Mobile Challenges in Health”. Health is very dear to people and the approach to health care around the world is very different.

The NHS is a unique… Continue reading

Kenton O’Hara, a senior researcher in the Socio-Digital-Systems group at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, presented the keynote at the pervasive displays symposium in Porto on the topic “Social context and interaction proxemics in pervasive displays“. He highlighted the importance of the spatial relationship between the users and the interactive displays and the different opportunities for interaction that are available when looking at the interaction context.

Using examples from the medical field (operating theater) he showed the issues that arise from the need of sterile interaction and hence avoiding touch interaction and moving towards a touchless interaction mode. A prototype,… Continue reading

Margaret Gould Stewart, a highly regarded user experience designer currently leading UX design at YouTube, presented the opening keynote at CHI2012.  She started her talk with reminding us that humans are story tellers – they always have been and probably always will. What is not constant is the medium – as technologies change so do means for storytelling and sharing.

The topic started out with talking about video connects the world. It extended to a larger view – changing the world through experience design (in the context of video). I often wonder what designers are and she added… Continue reading

In his Keynote “Computing for the Future of the Planet” Andy Hopper brought up 4 topics and touched shortly on each of them: (1) Optimal digital infrastructure – green computing, (2) Sense and optimize – computing for green, (3) Predict and react – assured computing, and (4) Digital alternatives to physical activities.

In the beginning of his talk he discussed an interesting (and after he said it very obvious) option of Green Computing: move computing towards the energy source as it is easier to transmit data than to transmit power. Thinking about this I could imagine that Google’s server farms… Continue reading

I was invited to Leipzig to talk about social networks and in the context of insurance companies (http://www.versicherungsforen.net/social-media). The main focus of the talk was to show what people currently do in social networks and to speculate why they do it (and  I used a picture of the seven deadly sins as an illustrations…) Additionally I discussed some prototypes of activity recognition and their potential once integrated into social media.My talk was entitled “500 Freunde (auf Facebook): Wozu noch eine Versicherung?“ – „500 friends (on Facebook) – Is there still need for insurance… Continue reading

Bryan started his keynote talk the automotive user interface conference (auto-ui.org) in Salzburg with reminding us that having controversial discussions about the HMI in the car is not new. Quoting a newspaper article from the 1930s on the introduction of the radio in the car and its impact on the driver he picked an interesting example, that can be seen as the root of many issues we have now with infotainment systems in the car.

The central question he raised is: how to create user interface that fit human users? He made an important point: humans are not “designed”… Continue reading

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

On Tuesday morning Steve Benford presented the entertainment interfaces keynote. He is interested in how to use computer technology to support performances. Steve works a lot with artist group, where the University is involved in implementing, running and studying the experiences. The studies are typically done by means of ethnography. The goal of this research is to uncover the basic mechanisms that make these performances work and potentially transfer the findings to human computer interaction in more general.

I particularly liked the example of “Day of the figurines“. Steve showed the video of experiences they created and discussed… Continue reading

Ed H. Chi from PARC presented the opening keynote for Mensch&Computer 2010. In the motivation of the talk he showed a document on “Applied Information processing psychology” from 1971 – probably very few had seen this before. It makes an argument for an experimental science that is related to augmented cognition. The basic idea is very similar to Vannevar Bush’s Memex – to extend the human cognitive power by machines (and especially computer technology). It is apparent that these ideas became the backdrop of the many innovations that happened at PARC in the early days.

Ed stressed that there… Continue reading

2343 attendees came to CHI 2010 this year to Atlanta. Participants are from 43 countries and the colored map suggested that a good number came from Germany. Outside it really feels like spring 🙂

Overall CHI 2010 received 2220 submission across 13 categories of which 699 were accepted. In the paper and nodes categories there were 1345 submissions of which 302 were accepted (22% acceptance rate).

Genevieve Bell from Intel is a cultural anthropologist and she presented the CHI opening keynote with the title: “Messy Futures: culture, technology and research”. She is a great story teller and showed exemplarily the… Continue reading

Pertti Huuskonen from Nokia presented his keynote at Percom in Mannheim. I worked with Pertti in 1999 on a European Project TEA – creating context-aware phones [1].

After telling us about CERN and some achievements in physics he raised the issue that an essential skill of humans is that they are context-aware. Basically culture is context-awareness – learning how to appropriately behave in life is essential to be accepted. We do this by looking at other people and by learning how how they act and how others react. “Knowing how to behave” we become fit for social life and this… Continue reading

About 300 people are at Percom 2010, which is held in the palace in Mannheim – and amazing location! The conference had 233 submission and is truly international (1/3 of the papers come from Europe, 1/3 from America, and 1/3 from Asia/pacific) and highly competitive (acceptance rate of about 12%).

Kurt Rothermel from the University of Stuttgart presented the opening Keynote on Large-scale Context Management. He presented a set of interesting example from Nexus (Collaborative Research Center 627, Spatial World Models for Mobile Context-Aware Applications) that showed the challenge in large scale systems. The size of the problem is can… 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

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

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.

The opening keynote of MobileHCI 2009 in Bonn was given by Jun Rekimoto. He showed selected work that he did over the last year and showed that some of the far out concepts (from a few years ago) are becoming products now – augmented reality with playing cards as one example and WIFI based location using placeEngine.

Context also featured in his talk: but there was little new in it – still where when why who what how. He suggested the notion of sensonomy (as folksonomy – just for sensor information). I can see the value of share… Continue reading

On Tuesday I was at the German human computer interaction conference called Mensch und Computer. The keynote by Alex Kirlik was on Ethical Design (slides from his talk) and he showed how ethics extends beyond action to technology leading to the central question: Why should we build certain systems? His examples and the following discussion made me wonder whether “Ethics become the next Material for innovation”. Taking his example of 9/11 where old technology (air planes) and a different view on ethics was used to strike this is in contrast to previous/typical warfare where new technologies (e.g.… Continue reading

Toshio Iwai gave the keynote at Pervasive 2009 on expanding media art. He introduced us to the basics of moving images and films. The examples were fun and I think I will copy some for my introductory class on user interfaces for explaining the visual system (afterimages with a black-and-white negative image; the concept of combining images on two sides of a disk; the idea of moving images by using a flip book).

In his introduction he also went back to explain what he learned as a child and I found this very interesting and encouraging to expose smaller children… Continue reading

Bob Iannucci from Nokia presented his keynote “ubiquitous structured data: the cloud as a semantic platform” at HotMobile 2009 in Santa Cruz. He started out with the statement that “Mobility is at the beginning” and he argued that why mobile systems will get more and more important.

He presented several principles for mobile devices/systems

  • Simplicity and fitness for purpose are more important than feature
  • use concepts must remain constant – as few concepts as possible
  • presentations (what we see) and input modalities will evolve
  • standards will push the markets

Hearing this, especially the first point, from someone from Nokia… Continue reading

The opening keynote at Ubicomp 2008 was presented by Dr. Shim Yoon (Vice President Samsung SDS) on Realizing Ubiquitous Cities. She stated out with a few  scenarios of life in the future. Information is embedded into the environment – just in place and just in time – just what you need. Environments become pleasant and technologies look nice, so you can mistake a power distribution box for a sculpture. Cities will be really save as monitoring will be ubiquitous and continuous. Much of the vision is convincing and convenient (given that you have given up… Continue reading

This year the German HCI conference (Mensch und Computer) is co-located with the German e-learning conference. The opening keynote this morning by Rolf Schulmeister was an interesting analysis of how young people use media in the context of learning. Over the last year that have been plenty of popular science books that tell us how human kind changes with the internet, e.g. Digital Native vs. Digital Immigrands by Marc Prensky (extract). The talk seriously questioned if a “Net Generation” exists and it seems that many of the properties associated with it (e.g. short attention spans, use of… 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

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

In the evening Prof. Hiroshi Ishii from the MIT Medialab presented a fascinating keynote at TEI’08. He gave an exciting overview of his work in tangible user interfaces, starting from tangible bits [1]. Right after the demos it was impressive to see how much impact he had on this area of research. He has a paper that accompanies the keynote in the proceedings, that will be soon available in the ACM DL.

On central piece of advice on research was to work on visions rather than on applications. He argues visions may last 100 years and applications are likely to… Continue reading

Prof. Hiroshi Ishii from the MIT Media Laboratory, kindly accepted our invitation to be the keynote speaker of TEI’08 in Bonn. We are absolutely delighted that he will come to the conference. Looking back at last year’s proceedings of TEI, and seeing the references in the papers, it is obvious how much he has inspired and shaped this research field.

I recently learned that Prof. Ishii has lived and worked in Bonn in 1987-1988 at GMD (which became later Fraunhofer. He was then a Post-Doc and worked topics related to CSCW.

There are so many paper of tangibles… Continue reading