What to do with a Wii?

Andreas Bulling from Zürich sent me a link to some amazingly creative Wii projects: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/ – it is really interesting how many people play with this device and get interesting ideas going!

At the TEI’08 conference in Bonn Susanne Boll an her team presented interesting work on gesture recognition using Wiimote’s acceleration sensor [1]. People from Georgia Tech presented another idea using this controller: WiiArt [2]. We currently think of using it in teaching to make some exercises (e.g. measuring Fits’ law 😉 more exciting…

[1] Schlömer, T., Poppinga, B., Henze, N., and Boll, S. 2008. Gesture recognition with a Wii controller. In Proceedings of the 2nd international Conference on Tangible and Embedded interaction (Bonn, Germany, February 18 – 20, 2008). TEI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 11-14. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1347390.1347395

[2] Lee, H., Kim, H., Gupta, G., and Mazalek, A. 2008. WiiArts: creating collaborative art experience with WiiRemote interaction. In Proceedings of the 2nd international Conference on Tangible and Embedded interaction (Bonn, Germany, February 18 – 20, 2008). TEI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 33-36. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1347390.1347400

Teacher Training: mobile phone programming in JAVA

Yesterday evening we organized a teacher training session on JAVA programming for mobile phone. We introduced them to the basics of Java ME and gave a tutorial on using Netbeans with mobility pack for creating applications. One idea for using the phone as an application platform is to increase motivation.

In some of the discussions we came across the issue of “how to teach programming” in school. I personally thing that explaining and learning the basic concepts of statement, variable, if-then, and loop is best done with not much around… I showed some of the activities on the OLPC for programming: Pippy (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Pippy) and Turtle Art (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Turtle_Art) and we talked about processing (http://www.processing.org/) as a further option.

Mensch und Computer program committee meeting in Lübeck

Yesterday night I flew to Hamburg and traveled on to Lübeck – a quite nice town in the north of Germany – for the program committee meeting of Mensch und Computer 2008. This morning I got up a little earlier to walk around the city – as it was my first time visiting. The building I could see when walking into town however was oddly familiar, after some moments I recalled that it is the Holstentor which was pictured on the 50DM note (DM = German Mark – the money used in Germany till 2001 before we exchanged it for the Euro ;-).

In the meeting we discussed a large number of submission made to Mensch und Computer 2008. It seems there are quite an interesting number of papers in the program which make the conference worth while. We will also run the second edition of our workshop on Automotive User Interface and Interactive Applications. The automotive workshop we ran 2007 in Weimar was with about 30 participants very successful.

Meeting on Human Centered in Vienna

Ina Wagner, Volker Wulf and Kjeld Schmidt organized a meeting to get together people from all over Europe that work on human centred computing. We had interesting discussions what is specific and distinct European human centred computing and how well it is represented in organizations such as the ACM.

Some years ago there has been significant support in this area of research on a European level – namely I3 and the disappearing computer initiative. Currently many of us feel that the value of user centred research is not supported enough and hence innovation happens somewhere else which can lead to massive disadvantages for European industries. One central issue is that we need more to communicate value of user interface research.

The need for user interface research is undoubtedly accepted. One example is the ISTAG report of 2001 that tried to look into 2010 – a future that is now not too far anymore. Looking at the challenges stated in this report it becomes clear that most of the technical issues are solved but this does has not lead to a breakthrough with regard to the visionary scenarios. But towards the challenge “natural interfaces” we have still a long way to go. If we really want to get closer to those scenarios of ambient intelligence that are human friendly we really have to push on interaction and user interfaces – hopefully decision makers on a European level will get it 😉

Florian Alt back from the US – and now with us in Essen

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. Alt, D. Wilhelm, J. Niggemann, H. Feussner. Experimenting with ubiquitous computing technologies in productive environments. e & i Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik, Springer Verlag. Volume 123, Number 4 / April, 2006. pages 135-139

Wolfgang Spießl presented our CHI-Note

People take mobile devices into their cars and the amount of information people have on those devices is huge – just consider the number of songs on an MP3-Player, the address database in a navigation system and eventually the mobile web. In our work we looked at ways to design and implement search interfaces that are usable while driving [1]. For the paper we compared a categorized search and a free search. The was another paper in the session looking at practice of GPS use by Leshed et al. which was really interesting and can inform future navigation or context-aware information systems [2]. One interesting finding is that you loose AND at the same time create opportunities for applications and practices. In the questions she hinted some interesting observations on driving in familiar vs. driving in unfamiliar environments using GPS units. Based on these ideas there may be an interesting student project to do…

The interest in Wolfgang’s talk and into automotive user interfaces in general was unexpected high. As you see on the picture there was quite a set of people talking pictures and videos during the presentation.

[1] Graf, S., Spiessl, W., Schmidt, A., Winter, A., and Rigoll, G. 2008. In-car interaction using search-based user interfaces. In Proceeding of the Twenty-Sixth Annual SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Florence, Italy, April 05 – 10, 2008). CHI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 1685-1688. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1357054.1357317

[2] Leshed, G., Velden, T., Rieger, O., Kot, B., and Sengers, P. 2008. In-car gps navigation: engagement with and disengagement from the environment. In Proceeding of the Twenty-Sixth Annual SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Florence, Italy, April 05 – 10, 2008). CHI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 1675-1684. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1357054.1357316

Dagmar Kern presented two WIP at CHI

Dagmar presented two work in progress papers at the poster session at CHI. One paper is a master thesis of Hema [1] and assess how we can personalize environments with coding preference into the Bluetooth friendly name. Here we were particularly interested into the acceptance in Germany and India. The second paper [2] was joint work with Nigel’s group from Lancaster. Here we look at targeted poster advertising and how preference information should be stored.

[1] Mahato, H., Kern, D., Holleis, P., and Schmidt, A. 2008. Implicit personalization of public environments using bluetooth. In CHI ’08 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Florence, Italy, April 05 – 10, 2008). CHI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 3093-3098. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1358628.1358813

[2] Kern, D., Harding, M., Storz, O., Davis, N., and Schmidt, A. 2008. Shaping how advertisers see me: user views on implicit and explicit profile capture. In CHI ’08 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Florence, Italy, April 05 – 10, 2008). CHI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 3363-3368. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1358628.1358858

Session on Tactile UIs

Tampere University presented a study where a rotation element is used to create tactile output and the assessed emotional perception of the stimuli (http://mobilehaptics.cs.uta.fi [1]). One application scenario is to use haptics feedback to create applications that allow us to “be in touch”. From Steven Brewsters group a project was presented that looks into how the performance of a touchscreen keyboard can be enhanced by tactile feedback [2]. In one condition they use two actuators. Both papers are interesting and provide insight for two of our current projects on multi-tactile output.

[1] Salminen, K., Surakka, V., Lylykangas, J., Raisamo, J., Saarinen, R., Raisamo, R., Rantala, J., and Evreinov, G. 2008. Emotional and behavioral responses to haptic stimulation. In Proceeding of the Twenty-Sixth Annual SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Florence, Italy, April 05 – 10, 2008). CHI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 1555-1562. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1357054.1357298

[2]
Hoggan, E., Brewster, S. A., and Johnston, J. 2008. Investigating the effectiveness of tactile feedback for mobile touchscreens. In Proceeding of the Twenty-Sixth Annual SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Florence, Italy, April 05 – 10, 2008). CHI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 1573-1582. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1357054.1357300