hciLab

Human-Computer-Interaction

Monthly Archives: December 2007

When driving back from a Workshop with the ART group of Fraunhofer IAIS at Naafs Häuschen I saw some interesting posters. A new car-related portal for selling and buying cars (pkw.de) has an interesting advertising campaign out. The only argument is on an easy to use and quick user interface – nothing else. So far many of them have tried to argue with the largest set of offers, but recently many of the major players (mobile.de and autoscout24.de) have improved their user interfaces.

It seems that a broader awareness for the user interface – basically that… Continue reading

We currently run a survey on “Implicit Personalization of Public Environments” as part of a master thesis. The thesis looks at the technical realization of this approach based on Bluetooth and mobile devices with a focus on creating an acceptable solution with regard to users’ privacy. If you are interested in the topic and can spare 5 minutes have a look at our questionnaire on implicit personalization, there is a German version of the survey, too.

The questionnaire is set up on a server (http://onlineforschung.org) that offers free hosting for scientific/non-profit surveys.

Today Lucia Terrenghi completed her PhD at the University of Munich. The topic of her dissertation is “Designing Hybrid Interactions through an Understanding of the Affordances of Physical and Digital Technologies”. She presented interesting insights from prototyping new interaction tools the combine the digital and the physical.

One finding in a case study was that it seems really hard to get people into using both hands for interaction (bi-manual interaction) when digital objects are involved, even though there are physical/tangible artefacts to manipulate. I made a similar observation when recently working with small children who were writing the first time… Continue reading

The Pervasive 2008 TPC meeting on Saturday was held distributed over 3 continents and linked via video conference. In Germany we had a really good time slot (12:00 to 20:00) – Australia and California had a really late/early day.

The meeting worked well over video and considering the saved travel time it seems this is a acceptable alternative to a full physical meeting. It was interesting to see that the video conferencing quality did not really improve much over the last years. We ran the TPC meeting for Ubicomp 2003 between the UK and the USA also with a video… Continue reading

The online registration for the 2nd international conference tangible and embedded interaction is now open. The early registration deadline is January 8th 2008. There is also the list of accepted papers and travel page online.

We have a really cool cover – it is not final, but I could not resist to give a preview (see above). Bart Hengeveld did a really good job! I am looking forward to holding the proceedings in my hand.

Recently an interesting mobile health product was launched: the glucoboy – http://www.glucoboy.com/ . It is designed as an add-on to the Nintendo Gameboy. The basic idea is to combine blood glucose measuring for children and video gaming.

This product shows that an in-depth understanding of the problem domain can create novel interactive products (in this case the idea was conceived by a parent with a direct insight into the problem). For user interface engineering we see again a clear value of contextual enquiry (or at least contextual understanding) combined with a clever utilization of technology.

In Linz the students of the course unconventional user interfaces showed their first set of functional prototypes. The topics are related to interactive mirrors, context-aware advertisement posters, healthy rear-seat entertainment, and text input while driving. The assignment was to create a system that allows creating an authentic user experience for the concept. The technical solutions were very different and ranged from a dismantled keyboard to a system using a micro-controller, from a two-way mirror with display behind to direction detection in front of an advert. Even though the prototypes were fairly simple most of them showed impressively how much of… Continue reading

Thought experiment: if we have the same number of trains we have at the moment and we let them travel as we do at the moment – but without time tables (basically a train is always on time – it is there when it arrives – similar to today). Customers would have real time access to all trains and the system could provide estimates when a certain train is where – perhaps with a confidence interval and probabilities of connections and travel times (obviously with an understandable user interface).

Would this be a better or worse model of public transport?… Continue reading

In Frankfurt there was today an expert meeting on RFID and ubicomp organized by the Fraunhofer ISI. The purpose was a discussion about the impact of RFID technologies. The organizers will use our input to inform the creation of a document of technology assessment for the German parliament. The majority of the participants came from companies developing RFID technology or system.In the first part of my talk “RFID and Beyond” I highlighted results from two workshops where I was a co-organizer: PTA2006 and Pertec2007 held at the Pervasive and Percom conferences. The results were also published in 2 papers… Continue reading

In our course “case studies in pervasive computing” we re-build systems that are described in the research literature and try to improve them or to apply them to new domains. This term the topic is on multi-touch displays. Starting out with Jeff Han’s paper “Low-cost multi-touch sensing through frustrated total internal reflection” we think about novel interaction methods for large screens. And after some initial problems (filter in the web cam we used) we have a first hardware prototype that shows the FTIR effect. The page of Thomas M. Brand is a good starting point if you too… Continue reading

At the CHI PC-meeting in Amsterdam I talked to a number of people – and it seems we are not the only one’s who are interested in interactive mirrors. It seems that breaking the physical limitations in time and space, a convention mirror imposes, creates some interest within the research community.

I talked to Boris de Ruyter about the Philips mirror project in the homelab and learned from Bo Begole about their work on interactive mirrors at PARC. It may be interesting to propose a workshop on interactive mirrors at one of the upcoming conference to get the people together… Continue reading

What have learned to do when our computer or phone does not work anymore? Easy just reboot it. A colleague recently told me his rental car broke down (basically did not work anymore) but after resetting it, it worked fine again. When he told me I found this pretty strange – ok the radio or opening the car boot – but essential functions related to driving?

Today I was travelling on an ICE high-speed train to Amsterdam for the CHI-Notes committee meeting and shortly after we left Germany the train lost speed and became slower and just rolled out. Then… Continue reading