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… Continue reading

After my talk at the Minerva School Roy Weinberg pointed me to a paper by Chris Harrison and Scott Hudson [1] – it also uses audio for creating an interactive surface. The novelty on the technical side is limited but nevertheless the approach is interesting and appealing because of its simplicity and its potential (e.g. just think beyond a fingernail on a table to any contact movement on surfaces – pushing toy cars, walking, pushing a shopping trolley…). Perhaps having a closer look at this approach a generic location system could be created (e.g. using special shoe soles that make… Continue reading

Yesterday after my talk I met briefly Prof. Brian Randell from the School of Computing Science at Newcastle University. Today we had a chat over a coffee and it is really interesting to think more about dependability implications of ubicomp technologies.

Besides many other points I got a set of interesting pointers to books:

Aaron announced that he is going to be the founding director of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory Australia and Professor at the University of Tasmania. After HITLab in Washington and New Zealand this is the third one. It is quite a challenge- but he is the person for it!

What can one say? Congratulations and a quote from Mark Twan: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.… Continue reading

It was a great honor to be invited to Prof Thomas Christaller’s 60th Birthday. During my time at Fraunhofer IAIS I had the pleasure of working with him and learning from him! He has many interests and skills! See his web page at Fraunhofer IAIS and at Lebenskunst.

The symposium at Schloß Birlinghoven featured an impressive list of people and I learned more about the history of German computer science. It is impressive to see that many people that shaped AI in Germany worked at some point together in one project (HAM-RPM, HAM-ANS, see [1]). This highlighted to me… Continue reading

Bastian Pfleging joined us some weeks ago – his first day at work was at TEI’09 in Cambridge. We he came back he was so well integrted in the team that I forgot to write a blog entry. In fact he was already at a workshop with us some weeks ago – remember the photo?

Bastian studied computer science at TU Dortmund and his final project was on computer vision based interaction in smart environments in the Group of Gernot A. Fink.

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

Looking into Paul Rayson’s blog and discovered an interesting link: http://www.genderanalyzer.com. It is a web form where you can put in an URL and you get an estimate whether the author of this text is male or female. For me it worked great 😉 It says that the text I wrote in my blog is with 88% written by a male. I tried it with a few more of my pages and it worked. Then I looked at some pages of some of my female colleagues and to my surprise it seems they do not write their web… Continue reading
Florian Michahelles, associate director of the AutoID-Labs in Zürich visited our group and gave a presentation in my course on Pervaisve Computing. He introduced the vision of using RFID in businesses, gave a brief technology overview and discussed the potential impact – in a very interactive session. Florian and I worked together in the Smart-its project and during his PhD studies he and Stavros were well know as the experts on Ikea PAX [1], [2]. In 2006 and 2007 we ran workshops on RFID technologies and published the results and a discussion on emerging trends in RFID together [3],… Continue reading

Last month Aliresa Sahami finished his master thesis on multi-tactile interaction at BIT Bonn and joined our group in Essen. Ali worked for me a student resesearch assistant at Fraunhofer IAIS. During his studies in Bonn we published an interesting workshop paper on mobile health [1] and gave a related demo at Ubicomp [2].

[1] Alt, F., Sahami Shirazi, A., Schmidt, A. Monitoring Heartbeat per Day to Motivate Increasing Physical Activity. Ubiwell workshop at Ubicomp 2007.

[2] Sahami Shirazi, A.; Cheng, D.; Kroell, O.; Kern, D.; Schmidt, A.: CardioViz: Contextual Capture and Visualization for Long-term ECG Data. In:… 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 the exam board meeting at Trinity College in Dublin (I am external examiner for the Ubicomp program) I went back with Mads Haahr (the course director) to his office. Besides the screen on which he works he has one extra where constantly the log entries of his web server is displayed. It is an interesting awareness devices 😉 some years ago we did a project where we used the IP-address of incoming HTTP-requests to guess who the visitors are and to show their web pages on an awareness display [1], [2]. Looking back at web visitors works very… Continue reading

Florian Alt studied media informatics at the LMU in Munich and has now joined our group. In Munich he worked during his project thesis with me on how to improve hospital work in pervasive computing technologies [1]. Last year he came to Fraunhofer IAIS and did his master thesis (a annotation system for the WWW based on the UsaProxy, http://fnuked.de/usaproxy/). Before joining us he worked for some months in New York setting up an IT department for a German company that opened a branch in the USA… we are happy for the brain gain 😉

[1] A. Schmidt, F.… Continue reading

Today Tanja Döring started with our group in Essen. She did her MSc at the University of Hamburg with Steffi Beckhaus and Horst Oberquelle. I met her first last year at TEI’07 in Baton Rouge, where she presented work on a table for art historians [1]. This year Tanja was a student volunteer at TEI’08 in Bonn.

[1] Döring, T. and Beckhaus, S. 2007. The card box at hand: exploring the potentials of a paper-based tangible interface for education and research in art history. In Proceedings of the 1st international Conference on Tangible and Embedded interaction (Baton Rouge,… 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

At the dinner of this yeas GI conference Professor Gerhard Krüger became the 6th honorary member of the German Computer Science Society (GI, Gesellschaft für Informatik). He was one of the people who understood very early that computer science is a central topic and pushed in the 1980ies form higher capacities in computer science at German Universities.

When I was at Karlsruhe (1998-2001) he was my supervisor and taught me a lot! In short: invest in the development of people.

In the castle Birlinghoven on the Fraunhofer campus I had the privilege to meet Prof. Carl Adam Petri. He is a great mathematician and computer scientist who invented the Petri-Net. Today was a reception to celebrate that he received the “2007 Academic Gold Medal of Honor” from “the Academy of Transdisciplinary Learning and Advanced Studies”.

Prof. Petri was from 1963 to 1968 head of the computing centre at the University of Bonn and after this head of a GMD institute in Birlinghoven. (The GMD was merged with Fraunhofer in 2000/2001 and became part of Fraunhofer). To my knowledge he… Continue reading