This year RUHR.2010 – Essen and the Ruhr area – is European Capital of Culture. If you ever dreamed of visiting Essen – this is the year!
Today and yesterday I am visiting a conference that is concerned with ageing – looking at the topic from different perspective (computer science, psychology, medicine, economics) run at the MPI in Berlin. The working group is associate with the the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and I was invited by Prof. Ulman Lindenberger who is director at the Max Planck Insititut and works in Lifespan Psychology. The working group is called ageing in Germany (in German).
Antonio Krüger and I represented the technology perspective with example from the domain of ubiquitous computing. My talk “ubiquitous computing in adulthood and old age” is a literature review in pictures of selected ubicomp systems targeted as an introduction to non-CS people to the domain. The discussions were really inspiring. In one talk Prof. Jim-Chern Chiou from National Chiao Tung Univeristy in Taiwan (the brain research lab) presented interesting dry electrodes that can be used for EEG – but also for other applications where one need electrodes.
Slides from my talk: ubiquitous computing in adulthood and old age (PDF).
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 😉
Dagmar presented two work in progress papers at the poster session at CHI. One paper is a master thesis of Hema  and assess how we can personalize environments with coding preference into the Bluetooth friendly name. Here we were particularly interested into the acceptance in
 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
 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