>Visiting the Culture Lab in Newcastle

>While being in the north of England I stopped by in Newcastle at the Culture Lab. If the CHI-conference is a measure for quality in research in Human Computer Interaction Culture Lab is currently one of the places to be – if you are not convinced have look at Patrick Olivier’s publications. The lab is one of a few places where I think a real ubicomp spirit is left – people developing new hardware and devices (e.g. mini data acquisition boards, specific wireless sensor, embedded actuators) and interdisciplinary research plays a central role. This is very refreshing to see, especially as so many others in Ubicomp have moved to mainly creating software on phones and tables…

Diana, one of our former students from Duisburg-Essen, is currently working on her master thesis in Newcastle. She looks into new tangible forms of interaction on table top UIs. Especially actuation of controls is a central question. The approach she uses for moving things is compared to other approached, e.g. [1], very simple but effective – looking forward to reading the paper on the technical details (I promised not to tell any details here). The example application she has developed is in chemistry education.

Some years back at a visit to the culture lab I had already seen some of the concepts and ideas for the kitchen. Over the last years this has progressed and the current state is very appealing. I really thing the screens behind glass in the black design make a huge difference. Using a set of small sensors they have implemented a set of aware kitchen utensils [2]. Matthias Kranz (back in our group in Munich) worked on a similar idea and created a knife that knows what it cuts [3]. It seems worthwhile to exploring the aware artifacts vision further …

References
[1] Gian Pangaro, Dan Maynes-Aminzade, and Hiroshi Ishii. 2002. The actuated workbench: computer-controlled actuation in tabletop tangible interfaces. In Proceedings of the 15th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST ’02). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 181-190. DOI=10.1145/571985.572011 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/571985.572011 

[2] Wagner, J., Ploetz, T., Halteren, A. V., Hoonhout, J., Moynihan, P., Jackson, D., Ladha, C., et al. (2011). Towards a Pervasive Kitchen Infrastructure for Measuring Cooking Competence. Proc Int Conf Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (pp. 107-114). PDF

[3] Matthias Kranz, Albrecht Schmidt, Alexis Maldonado, Radu Bogdan Rusu, Michael Beetz, Benedikt Hörnler, and Gerhard Rigoll. 2007. Context-aware kitchen utilities. InProceedings of the 1st international conference on Tangible and embedded interaction (TEI ’07). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 213-214. DOI=10.1145/1226969.1227013 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1226969.1227013 (PDF)

Visiting the Culture Lab in Newcastle

While being in the north of England I stopped by in Newcastle at the Culture Lab. If the CHI-conference is a measure for quality in research in Human Computer Interaction Culture Lab is currently one of the places to be – if you are not convinced have look at Patrick Olivier’s publications. The lab is one of a few places where I think a real ubicomp spirit is left – people developing new hardware and devices (e.g. mini data acquisition boards, specific wireless sensor, embedded actuators) and interdisciplinary research plays a central role. This is very refreshing to see, especially as so many others in Ubicomp have moved to mainly creating software on phones and tables…

Diana, one of our former students from Duisburg-Essen, is currently working on her master thesis in Newcastle. She looks into new tangible forms of interaction on table top UIs. Especially actuation of controls is a central question. The approach she uses for moving things is compared to other approached, e.g. [1], very simple but effective – looking forward to reading the paper on the technical details (I promised not to tell any details here). The example application she has developed is in chemistry education.

Some years back at a visit to the culture lab I had already seen some of the concepts and ideas for the kitchen. Over the last years this has progressed and the current state is very appealing. I really thing the screens behind glass in the black design make a huge difference. Using a set of small sensors they have implemented a set of aware kitchen utensils [2]. Matthias Kranz (back in our group in Munich) worked on a similar idea and created a knife that knows what it cuts [3]. It seems worthwhile to exploring the aware artifacts vision further …

References
[1] Gian Pangaro, Dan Maynes-Aminzade, and Hiroshi Ishii. 2002. The actuated workbench: computer-controlled actuation in tabletop tangible interfaces. In Proceedings of the 15th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST ’02). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 181-190. DOI=10.1145/571985.572011 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/571985.572011 

[2] Wagner, J., Ploetz, T., Halteren, A. V., Hoonhout, J., Moynihan, P., Jackson, D., Ladha, C., et al. (2011). Towards a Pervasive Kitchen Infrastructure for Measuring Cooking Competence. Proc Int Conf Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (pp. 107-114). PDF

[3] Matthias Kranz, Albrecht Schmidt, Alexis Maldonado, Radu Bogdan Rusu, Michael Beetz, Benedikt Hörnler, and Gerhard Rigoll. 2007. Context-aware kitchen utilities. InProceedings of the 1st international conference on Tangible and embedded interaction (TEI ’07). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 213-214. DOI=10.1145/1226969.1227013 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1226969.1227013 (PDF)

Visiting the Culture Lab in Newcastle

While being in the north of England I stopped by in Newcastle at the Culture Lab. If the CHI-conference is a measure for quality in research in Human Computer Interaction Culture Lab is currently one of the places to be – if you are not convinced have look at Patrick Olivier’s publications. The lab is one of a few places where I think a real ubicomp spirit is left – people developing new hardware and devices (e.g. mini data acquisition boards, specific wireless sensor, embedded actuators) and interdisciplinary research plays a central role. This is very refreshing to see, especially as so many others in Ubicomp have moved to mainly creating software on phones and tables…

Diana, one of our former students from Duisburg-Essen, is currently working on her master thesis in Newcastle. She looks into new tangible forms of interaction on table top UIs. Especially actuation of controls is a central question. The approach she uses for moving things is compared to other approached, e.g. [1], very simple but effective – looking forward to reading the paper on the technical details (I promised not to tell any details here). The example application she has developed is in chemistry education.

Some years back at a visit to the culture lab I had already seen some of the concepts and ideas for the kitchen. Over the last years this has progressed and the current state is very appealing. I really thing the screens behind glass in the black design make a huge difference. Using a set of small sensors they have implemented a set of aware kitchen utensils [2]. Matthias Kranz (back in our group in Munich) worked on a similar idea and created a knife that knows what it cuts [3]. It seems worthwhile to exploring the aware artifacts vision further …

References
[1] Gian Pangaro, Dan Maynes-Aminzade, and Hiroshi Ishii. 2002. The actuated workbench: computer-controlled actuation in tabletop tangible interfaces. In Proceedings of the 15th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST ’02). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 181-190. DOI=10.1145/571985.572011 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/571985.572011 

[2] Wagner, J., Ploetz, T., Halteren, A. V., Hoonhout, J., Moynihan, P., Jackson, D., Ladha, C., et al. (2011). Towards a Pervasive Kitchen Infrastructure for Measuring Cooking Competence. Proc Int Conf Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (pp. 107-114). PDF

[3] Matthias Kranz, Albrecht Schmidt, Alexis Maldonado, Radu Bogdan Rusu, Michael Beetz, Benedikt Hörnler, and Gerhard Rigoll. 2007. Context-aware kitchen utilities. InProceedings of the 1st international conference on Tangible and embedded interaction (TEI ’07). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 213-214. DOI=10.1145/1226969.1227013 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1226969.1227013 (PDF)

Lab Tour on arrival in Tokyo

After a long day/night of travelling I arrived in Tokyo. Arriving at the hotel we were met by our Japanese Colleague Yoshito Tobe and guided us to a Lab tour in the afternoon. We went by train to the Morikawa Labs in the Komaba Research Campus at the University of Tokyo.

At the lab students from different group showed us their work and discussed their ideas with us. To mention only a few things I got to try out a tutoring system for Japanese calligraphy, we saw prototypes for phone based urban sensing, and saw an implementation of a system that communicates between two devices using accelerometers and vibration motors [1].

After the tour we went up a tower building to look at the sunset above Tokyo and we even had a view on Mount Fuji. And as the observation floor is a touristy place there are all sorts of interesting things – and I operated a nice machine to get a puri-CUBE.

Some more photos are available at: http://tinyurl.com/LabTok11 (facebook account required) or public on flickr.

[1] vib-connect: A Device Selecting Interface Using Vibration by Hiroshi Nakahara et al. Demo at IOT 2010.

>Lab Tour on arrival in Tokyo

>After a long day/night of travelling I arrived in Tokyo. Arriving at the hotel we were met by our Japanese Colleague Yoshito Tobe and guided us to a Lab tour in the afternoon. We went by train to the Morikawa Labs in the Komaba Research Campus at the University of Tokyo.

At the lab students from different group showed us their work and discussed their ideas with us. To mention only a few things I got to try out a tutoring system for Japanese calligraphy, we saw prototypes for phone based urban sensing, and saw an implementation of a system that communicates between two devices using accelerometers and vibration motors [1].

After the tour we went up a tower building to look at the sunset above Tokyo and we even had a view on Mount Fuji. And as the observation floor is a touristy place there are all sorts of interesting things – and I operated a nice machine to get a puri-CUBE.

Some more photos are available at: http://tinyurl.com/LabTok11 (facebook account required) or public on flickr.

[1] vib-connect: A Device Selecting Interface Using Vibration by Hiroshi Nakahara et al. Demo at IOT 2010.

Lab Tour on arrival in Tokyo

After a long day/night of travelling I arrived in Tokyo. Arriving at the hotel we were met by our Japanese Colleague Yoshito Tobe and guided us to a Lab tour in the afternoon. We went by train to the Morikawa Labs in the Komaba Research Campus at the University of Tokyo.

At the lab students from different group showed us their work and discussed their ideas with us. To mention only a few things I got to try out a tutoring system for Japanese calligraphy, we saw prototypes for phone based urban sensing, and saw an implementation of a system that communicates between two devices using accelerometers and vibration motors [1].

After the tour we went up a tower building to look at the sunset above Tokyo and we even had a view on Mount Fuji. And as the observation floor is a touristy place there are all sorts of interesting things – and I operated a nice machine to get a puri-CUBE.

Some more photos are available at: http://tinyurl.com/LabTok11 (facebook account required) or public on flickr.

[1] vib-connect: A Device Selecting Interface Using Vibration by Hiroshi Nakahara et al. Demo at IOT 2010.

PARC – touching computing history

At PARC I had the chance to talk to people about some of our current projects. Les Nelson has done interesting work on public displays [1]. This work is highly relevant to ideas we pursue in the pdnet project and it was great to get a first person view from the researchers involved.

Being at PARC history of computing is all around you! Seeing the original Ethernet cable, tapes from Alan Kay or Lucy Suchman, the Alto computer, one of the original laser printer, and different Ubicomp artifacts from Mark Weiser’s group really makes you feel that this is a special place for anyone interested in personal computing and ubicomp.

[1] Elizabeth F. Churchill, Les Nelson, and Gary Hsieh. 2006. Cafe life in the digital age: augmenting information flow in a cafe;-work-entertainment space. In CHI ’06 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’06). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 123-128. DOI=10.1145/1125451.1125481 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1125451.1125481

PARC – touching computing history

At PARC I had the chance to talk to people about some of our current projects. Les Nelson has done interesting work on public displays [1]. This work is highly relevant to ideas we pursue in the pdnet project and it was great to get a first person view from the researchers involved.

Being at PARC history of computing is all around you! Seeing the original Ethernet cable, tapes from Alan Kay or Lucy Suchman, the Alto computer, one of the original laser printer, and different Ubicomp artifacts from Mark Weiser’s group really makes you feel that this is a special place for anyone interested in personal computing and ubicomp.

[1] Elizabeth F. Churchill, Les Nelson, and Gary Hsieh. 2006. Cafe life in the digital age: augmenting information flow in a cafe;-work-entertainment space. In CHI ’06 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’06). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 123-128. DOI=10.1145/1125451.1125481 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1125451.1125481

>PARC – touching computing history

>At PARC I had the chance to talk to people about some of our current projects. Les Nelson has done interesting work on public displays [1]. This work is highly relevant to ideas we pursue in the pdnet project and it was great to get a first person view from the researchers involved.

Being at PARC history of computing is all around you! Seeing the original Ethernet cable, tapes from Alan Kay or Lucy Suchman, the Alto computer, one of the original laser printer, and different Ubicomp artifacts from Mark Weiser’s group really makes you feel that this is a special place for anyone interested in personal computing and ubicomp.

[1] Elizabeth F. Churchill, Les Nelson, and Gary Hsieh. 2006. Cafe life in the digital age: augmenting information flow in a cafe;-work-entertainment space. In CHI ’06 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’06). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 123-128. DOI=10.1145/1125451.1125481 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1125451.1125481

Teaching Ubicomp? What is it we should teach?

Why should we teach Ubicomp? What are the core issues when teaching Ubicomp? How do we cope with the rapid changes in technologies if we provide practical exercises in our Pervasive Computing classes? What skills will students take away from the course?

As Ubicomp is still a young and dynamic subject it is inevitable that we have to ask these questions. To share our experiences in teaching we met at the ETH Zürich. Friedemann Mattern, Marc Langheinrich, Michael Rohs, Kay Römer, and many of our PhD students (and me ;-) spent two days in Zürich to collect materials and discuss the above questions. The hardest one is obviously the what is ubicomp question…

For me the key thing is that we teach about distributed computing systems that are aware and linked to the real world and which are used by humans. The systems aspect is key and I think which specific technologies, tools, methods, we teach are exchangeable. The second point I want to make in my pervasive computing class is to get students excited and aware of the potential of computing in the future and how we are at the heart of a major change that goes beyond technology.

We are currently compiling a Wiki with teaching materials which we hope will become public in the future (at least in parts). If you teach a ubicomp related course or if you know of course please feel free to add a comment with link to the webpage and we will try to include it in the collection.

PS: examples of the UI challenge of ubicomp are everywhere.