Taking pictures during sports – ideas for an appliance


If you do sports it typically requires another person to take the photos of you. Having the evening off in in Haifa Keith, Antonio and me went climbing at http://www.shafan-hasela.com/. It was not easy to get there – we used the typical way – first: take a bus to a random place (not intentially) – second: realize that the bus went to a place you did not want to go – third: take the taxi to where you wanted to go.

Being three people it was very easy to takes pictures while climbing – and I as I am climbing a class below Antonio and Keith I had a lot of time to take the pictures 😉

Being computer scientist you always think about cool, challenging, and exciting projects. So we wondered if we could build an autonomous flying object that contains a camera that follows you (in a defined distance) and takes exciting photos. We have an idea how this could be done – let me know if you would be interested in the project (e.g. bachelor/master)- may be even done in a collaboration with Lancaster.

Interaction technologies for display environments

I was invited to give a talk on “Embedded interaction with display environments” to discuss human computer interaction and technology issue for creating interactive display systems. The summer school has very diverse program! and I have enjoyed listening to my colleagues as much as presenting myself 🙂

In the talk I have a (more or less random) selection of technologies for making display environments interactive. There are the obvious vision based approaches (see the talk for the references) but I think there are many interesting approaches that are not yet fully explored. – including spatial audio location [1], eye tracking, and physiological sensors. Sebastian Boring create a focus and context input by combing different input technologies [2] – this can be especially interesting when scaling interaction up to larger surfaces. Additionally I think looking at the floor and the ceiling is worthwhile…

Please feel free to add further technologies and approaches for creating interactive displays in the comment.

[1] James Scott, Boris Dragovic: Audio Location: Accurate Low-Cost Location Sensing. Pervasive Computing: Third International Conference, PERVASIVE 2005, Munich, Germany, May 8-13, 2005. Springer LNCS 3468/2005. pp 1-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/11428572_1

[2] S. Boring, O. Hilliges, A. Butz. A Wall-sized Focus plus Context Display. In Proceedings of the Fifth Annual IEEE Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications (PerCom), New York, NY, USA, Mar. 2007

It is better to look beautiful… Aesthetics and HCI

During the summerschool in Haifa Prof. Noam Tractinsky from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev gave a presentation about Aesthetics in Human-Computer Interaction. It was good to meet him in person and get some more insight in his work – as I refer to it typically in my HCI class.


In short his finding can be summarized by: What is Beautiful is Usable [1], [2]. In his talk he had some interesting example – you can look at a web page for one second only and you will figure out if it is a good design or not. There has been previous work in Japan [3] similar results – suggesting that this may be universial. Methodical I think the research approaches are not straightforward and may be disputed in parts – but the basic findings are very intuitive and should be taken more into account.

[1] Tractinsky, N. 1997. Aesthetics and apparent usability: empirically assessing cultural and methodological issues. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, United States, March 22 – 27, 1997). S. Pemberton, Ed. CHI ’97. ACM, New York, NY, 115-122. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/258549.258626

[2] Tractinsky, N., Shoval-Katz A. and Ikar, D. (2000) What is Beautiful is Usable. Interacting with Computers, 13(2): 127-145.

[3] Kurosu, M. and Kashimura, K. 1995. Apparent usability vs. inherent usability: experimental analysis on the determinants of the apparent usability. In Conference Companion on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Denver, Colorado, United States, May 07 – 11, 1995). I. Katz, R. Mack, and L. Marks, Eds. CHI ’95. ACM, New York, NY, 292-293. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/223355.223680