Our Papers at Mensch and Computer

The last 3 days we were at the German HCI conference (Mensch und Computer) in Weimar. Overall the conference had a really interesting program (21 papers with an acceptance rate of 30%), presentations from usability professionals and a number of workshops.

Dagmar Kern presented our research on improving in-car telecommunication that was carried out together with people from BMW group in Munich. For details see:
Dagmar Kern, Albrecht Schmidt, Michael Pitz, Klaus Bengler. Status- und Kontextinformationen für die Telekommunikation im Auto. Mensch & Computer 2007. Weimar, September 2007.

Heiko Drewes showed the initial results of the studies on eye-gestures for interaction. In this paper we proof that it is possible and sensible to use gesture with the eyes to interact with a computer. For more see the picture:
Heiko Drewes, Heinrich Hußmann, Albrecht Schmidt. Blickgesten als Fernbedienung. Mensch & Computer 2007. Weimar, September 2007.

Automotive User Interface Workshop

At the German HCI conference (Mensch und Computer) I organized together with Paul Holleis and Klaus Bengler (BMW Group) a workshop on automotive user interfaces. We were surprised how many people work and research in this area in Germany and Austria.

The 9 talks showed a wide range of research results and questions ranging from activity recognition, search interfaces, cultural issues to research methods. Dagmar Kern presented our work on a new method for interviewing drivers at the gas station. Stefan Graf from BMW groups had an interesting demo on object oriented interaction and in-car text input.

In the final session we discussed on future challenges of automotive user interfaces and it seems that it is a great challenge as cars are very emotional products. One interesting point was that user interfaces may not be central for the decisions which car to buy – but if not satisfied it will influence the decisions not to buy such a car again.

Context and context-awareness (e.g. based on user activity, driving parameters and location) seems to provide a great opportunity for future interfaces and in-car applications. One nice example was presented by Susanne Boll from a joint project with VW (C3World, connected cars in a connected world).

Watching movies on the train

At the moment I am travelling a lot on the train and it seems that there is an increase in people using their mobile devices (e.g. Sony PSP, mobile phones) to watch cinema movies and episodes of TV-shows. Some individually and others even share the experience. Over the last years it become popular that people watched DVDs on their notebook computer on the train – but it seems the real mobile age is moving on.

Even though the screen is very small it shows again that one needs little to create the illusion of a movie. In the end it comes always back to the story…

Cologne – New Pixel Window

On Saturday on our way back home we made a stop in Cologne. After mounting the tower (509 steps) we had a look at the new window which lead to some discussion over the recent weeks.

It looks like pixels and is abstract in comparison to the other windows (which have traditional picture motives). To me it seems a neat idea that somehow reflects our time.