World Champion visiting IAIS

Sven Behnke, who won with his humanoid robots the RoboCup, visited us today at Fraunhofer IAIS. In his talk he presented the RoboCup vision – wining in 2050 with humanoid robots against the human world champions and his work towards this goal. There are interesting videos of the robots at http://www.nimbro.net

When I saw Sven presenting the first time (in 2003 at the DFG final round for the “Aktionsplan Informatik”) I was convinced that humanoid robots are far in the future and that the robocup vision is more wishful thinking than vision. Seeing how much it advanced over the last 4 years I am really curious if it will take till 2050.

In his group there is also some interesting work on human-robot interaction. For more see: http://www.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/hr/

Bluetooth marketing in the wild


Arriving in Zurich I was quite surprised by the masses of people in the train station. We picked the weekend of the Street Parade for our visit 😉 makes you really think about your own age…

In the railway station they had digital giveaways – you just had to switch your Bluetooth on.

Object with included sensing

I often wonder why one would like to include sensing into other objects. It seems however that there is a tradition and has its roots before the digital 🙂

The pencil case has a thermometer included. The function is that the pupil can figure out when they get the rest of the day off due to high temperature (Hitzefrei). Not convinced that is was a great seller…

Museum Audio Guides – is there a way to make this a good experience?

We visited the archeology and Stone Age museum in Bad Buchenau http://www.federseemuseum.de/. For our visit we rented their audio guide system – they had one version for kids and one for adults. The audio guides were done very well and the information was well presented.

Nevertheless such devices break the joint experience of visiting a museum! We had three devices – and we stood next to each other listening but not talking to each other. Even though it may transport more information than the written signs it makes a poorer experience than reading and discussing. I wonder how one would design a good museum guide… There are plenty of projects but so far I have not seen the great solution.

Satellite Television –Challenges

My first day of the holidays I got myself into an interesting project – setting up a satellite dish that receives Astra 19.2 (German TV) and Astra 28.2 (major UK TV stations). Going back between my roof and living room I finally got it to work – thanks to many posts on the Internet. That brings me back to a question I ask myself more and more (not just for setting up TVs): how did people share technical and practical information before the Internet? It seems that the Internet really is a catalyst for implementation.

After having the hardware in place (which is more difficult than the theory of pointing it at a certain angle – especially without the right tools) I was surprised by the number of channels and the user interfaces of the digital sat receivers. It seems that much of the usage and interaction concept is still from a time where there were 3 channels – youtube is much easier to use… Perhaps satellite television could provide a much more exciting experience with new means for interaction (perhaps those devices are out there an I just got the poor ones).