Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas 2016


Look inside your envelope,

the Christmas card should have them all:

Wooden wheel, a snowflake, too.

Copper things, we have a few.

Resistor, light, they’re all brand new,

a paper cut out with a view.


To bring the gift of light,

for every winter night.

You will need the following pieces for the first assembly part:

four copper strips (two long, two short), LED, resistor, wooden rim, wooden plug and the black piece of paper.


Slide in the LED,

into the holes that be.

Long leg positioned through the oak,

on the left side of the thickest spoke.

First, insert the LED into the two holes on the wooden rim. The longer leg of the LED goes into the left hole, when the thickest spoke points away from you.


Resistor needs to be installed,

’cause, otherwise, it will explode.

Remember the longer diode leg,

it connects to the pole that adds (+).

Bend the legs towards the other side of the spoke and attach the resistor to one of the legs. Make sure it is tightly connected. Remember the position of the longer leg for later on. 


Onto the wooden ring,

attach with copper string.

Wrap around the leggy bit,

the extra strings will make it fit.

Now it is time to attach the copper strings to the rim. Carefully place the two longer copper strips on both sides of the thick spoke using the adhesive side. Twist it around the LED legs and use the short strips to fixate it. CAUTION: the adhesive side does not conduct electricity, so make sure the other side is attached to the LED legs.


The gluey side just won’t conduct,

hence wires must be nicely tucked.

Repeat the same step for the second leg. When finished, the result should look similar to the picture above.


Plus pole connects to long diode leg,

make sure this is correct.

Conductive strips for the plug,

need to be edge-snug.

Connect the plug to the two stripes using the small piece of black paper to keep the strips separated. Make sure to connect the longer LED leg to the plus pole (marked on the plug). If you followed all steps up until now, you can simply connect it as shown above. The strips attached to the plug should be spaced as far apart as possible (on both side), but must not overlap over the ledge.


Attach the plug you just might,

and you have a working light.

You may want to test your Christmas lantern for now. Plug it into a USB-charger and check if the LED lights up. If not, check the wiring, especially the connection between LED legs and copper strips. Consider checking for correct polarity. Do not despair if your light does not work. You can still proceed and build the final lantern.


The lantern stands on wooden feet,

and then you join the paper sheets.

Be aware of text alignment,

else you prolong the assignment.

Now it is time to make it look like a lantern. Attach the feet to the wooden rim and connect the two paper ornaments. Check the text orientation before connecting both pieces. Be sure to insert the paper hooks as shown in the picture for a stable and round lantern.


And now it’s time to mount the screen,

it wraps around the wooden rim.

Slide the transparent paper into the lantern. For best visual results, position the fold in front of the overlap.


The snowflake goes on top,

ensure that room lights are now off.

Position the quadratic transparent paper on top of the lantern and add the snowflake ornament.


Now it’s time to plug it in,

and pour yourself a Christmas drink.


Highlights 2016!

Congratulations to our PhDs

This year we had 6 people finishing their PhD – the highest number for a single year till now – congratulations!


Exciting new Projects

In 2016 we started a number of new projects:


Event Highlight

Congratulation to Dr. Florian Alt (No. 6)

Florian Alt defended his PhD thesis “A Design Space for Pervasive Advertising on Public Displays” at the University of Stuttgart. Over the last years Florian work at the crossroads of interactive public displays and pervasive advertising. His research output during the last years and while working on the project was amazing, see his DBLP entry.

The dissertation will be soon available online. If you are curious about his work right now, there are a few papers or a book you should read. A high level description of the findings is described in a paper published in IEEE Computer on Advertising on Public Display Networks [1]. The initial paper that paved the way towards understanding design space of public displays [2] is providing a comprehensive descriptions of ways for interaction with public displays. One of the highlights of the experimental research is the paper “Looking glass: a field study on noticing interactivity of a shop window” [3], which was done during Florian’s time at Telekom Innovation Laboratories in Berlin (it received a best paper award at CHI 2012). Towards the end of the thesis everyone realizes that evaluation is a most tricky thing, hence there is one paper on “How to evaluate public displays” [4]. If you are more interested on the advertising side, have a look at the book he co-edited with Jörg Müller and Daniel Michelis: Pervasive Advertising by Springer Verlag, 2011, available as kindle version at Amazon.

Florian joined my research group already back in Munich as a student researcher, where we explored ubiquitous computing technologies in a hospital environment [5]. He followed to Fraunhofer IAIS to do his MSc thesis, where he created a web annotation system that allowed parasitic applications on the WWW [6]. I nearly believed him lost, when he moved to New York – but he came back to start his PhD in Duisburg-Essen… and after one more move in 2011 to the University of Stuttgart he graduated last week! Congratulations! He is no. 6 following Dagmar Kern, Heiko Drewes, Paul Holleis, Matthias Kranz, and Enrico Rukzio. The photo shows the current team in Stuttgart – when looking at the picture it seems there are soon more to come 😉

[1] Alt, F.; Schmidt, A.; Müller, J.; , “Advertising on Public Display Networks,” Computer , vol.45, no.5, pp.50-56, May 2012. DOI: 10.1109/MC.2012.150, URL:
[2] Jörg Müller, Florian Alt, Daniel Michelis, and Albrecht Schmidt. 2010. Requirements and design space for interactive public displays. In Proceedings of the international conference on Multimedia (MM ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1285-1294. DOI=10.1145/1873951.1874203
[3] Jörg Müller, Robert Walter, Gilles Bailly, Michael Nischt, and Florian Alt. 2012. Looking glass: a field study on noticing interactivity of a shop window. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 297-306. DOI=10.1145/2207676.2207718
[4] Florian Alt, Stefan Schneegaß, Albrecht Schmidt, Jörg Müller, and Nemanja Memarovic. 2012. How to evaluate public displays. In Proceedings of the 2012 International Symposium on Pervasive Displays (PerDis ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, , Article 17 , 6 pages. DOI=10.1145/2307798.2307815
[5] A. Schmidt, F. Alt, D. Wilhelm, J. Niggemann,  and H. Feussner,  Experimenting with ubiquitous computing technologies in productive environments. Journal Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik. 2006, 135-139.
[6] Florian Alt, Albrecht Schmidt, Richard Atterer, and Paul Holleis. 2009. Bringing Web 2.0 to the Old Web: A Platform for Parasitic Applications. In Proceedings of the 12th IFIP TC 13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Part I (INTERACT ’09). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 405-418. DOI=10.1007/978-3-642-03655-2_44

Land of ideas – Award for the innovation factory at the University of Duisburg-Essen

Every day per year one place or institution is Germany is awarded “a place in the land of ideas“. This initiative is quite completive (each year well over 2000 institutions apply and the year has only 365 days…).

The innovation factory at the University of Duisburg-Essen has a really interesting vision and received the award for its concept of converting ideas into innovations and products. It promotes thinking in product rather and by this challenges researchers to look how their research results could enable new products or enhance existing products. I find this a most useful exercise – especially when having basic research results that are not directly linked to an application. To facilitate thinking in products they have a number of industrial designers that act as innovation scouts.

Such events always offer the official speeches (not my favorite part but I see one needs them) but also the chance to meet interesting people. I enjoyed the discussions – in particular one question I found interesting – whether or not the ebook reader based on eInk (now just entering the marked on massive scale) is already dead… and replace by the next generation of multimedia extra-thin wireless tablets.

USA votes, election party in our lab

There many good reason to have an international team – especilly when doing research in pervasive computing and user interface engineering. This morning I learned another one: you can have election parties (=drinks and food in the lab ;-). 
Predicting elections results goes new ways and it is interesting that the Xbox Live Polls ( were quite close to the result – already quite some time ago. Perhaps this large poll produced just by accident good results – but it may be a first step towards internet elections. Having internet voting on a game console brings new models for voting to one’s mind (e.g. only if you have reached a certain level in the game you can vote 😉

Workshop on Smart Homes at Pervasive 2008

Today we had our Pervasive at home workshop – as part of Pervasive 2008 in Sydney. We had 7 talks and a number of discussions on various topics related to smart homes. Issues ranged from long term experience with smart home deployments (Lasse Kaila et al.), development cycle (Aaron Quigley et al.), to end-user development (Joëlle Coutaz). For the full workshop proceedings see [1].

One trend that can be observed is that researchers move beyond the living lab. In the discussion it became apparent that living labs can start research efforts in this area and function as focus point for researchers with different interests (e.g. technology and user-centred). However it was largely agreed that this can only be a first step and that deployments in actual home settings are becoming more essential to make an impact.

On central problem in smart home research is to develop future devices and services – where prototyping is based on current technologies and where we extrapolate from currently observed user behavior. We had some discussion how this can be done most effectively and what value observational techniques add to technology research and vice versa.

We discussed potential options for future smart home deployments and I suggested creating a hotel where people can experience future living and agree at the same time to give away their data for research purpose. Knowing what theme-hotels are around this idea is not as strange as it sounds 😉 perhaps we have to talk to some companies and propose this idea…

More of the workshop discussion is captured at:

There are two interesting references that came up in discussions that I like to share. First the smart home at Duke University (, which is dorm that is a live-in laboratory at Duke University – and it seems it is more expensive that the regular dorm. The second is an ambient interactive device, Joelle Coutaz discussed in the context of her presentation on a new approach to end-user programming and end-user development. The Nabaztag ( is a networked user interface that includes input and output (e.g. text2speech, moveable ears and LEDs) which can be programmed. I would be curious how well it really works to get people more connected – which relates to some ideas of us on having an easy communication channels.

[1] A.J. Brush, Shwetak Patel, Brian Meyers, Albrecht Schmidt (editors). Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on “Pervasive Computing at Home” held at the 6th international Conference on Pervasive Computing, Sydney, May 19 2008.

New working group on tangible interaction

This morning a new working group on tangible interaction in mixed realities (in German Be-greifbare Interaktion in Gemischten Wirklichkeiten) was established as part of the German Computer Science Society (GI). About 30 people from all over Germany gathered at B-IT in a pre-conference event to TEI’08. The group was interdisciplinary, including computer science, design, psychology, and pedagogic. The diversity of research projects as well as teaching programs in Germany in impressive.

Learntec – Session on pervasive computing

I was today in Karlsruhe at Learntec, a trade fare and congress for technologies in learning, training and education. Alois Ferscha organized a session on pervasive computing and learning.

My talk was entitled “back to the roots – technologies for interweaving learning and experience”. I stared out with the question: What is the difference between an apple tree and a biology book. In essence my argument is that (1) first hand experience can not be replaced, (2) we need consolidated knowledge based on the experience to learn efficiently, and (3) pervasive computing technologies can bridge the gulf between them.

The slides of the talk “Zurück zum Ursprung – Technologien für die Verflechtung von Lernen und Erfahren” (in German) are available on my web page.

Talk at the opening of the Fraunhofer IAO interaction lab

The Fraunhofer institute IAO opened today a new interaction lab in Stuttgart under the topic interaction with all senses. Prof. Spath, director of the Fraunhofer IAO, made a strong argument for new user interfaces. In his talk he discussed adaptive cruse control in cars as an example for user interface challenges.

My talk on “implicit interaction – smart living in smart environments” argues for a sensible mix of user centred design and technology driven innovation. As one example I used the Sensor-Knife which Matthias Kranz implemented.

Prof. Jürgen Ziegler, a colleague at the University of Duisburg-Essen who was previously at IAO, showed in his talk a short video of a “galvanic vestibular stimulation” GVS explored by NTT (SIGGRAPH 2005 Demo) to highlight trends and indicate at the same time ethical problems that can arise when we interfere with human senses.

Ubicomp 2007

Over the last few days at Ubicomp 2007 in Innsbruck it was great to catch up with many people from the community. The discussions in the evenings are very inspiring and so were some of the talks.

We tried to explain the idea of ubiquitous computing to journalist and it seems they got the idea. And hence Ubicomp 2007 was featured in the Austrian Press:

Ubicomp 2008 will be in Korea.

Museum Audio Guides – is there a way to make this a good experience?

We visited the archeology and Stone Age museum in Bad Buchenau For our visit we rented their audio guide system – they had one version for kids and one for adults. The audio guides were done very well and the information was well presented.

Nevertheless such devices break the joint experience of visiting a museum! We had three devices – and we stood next to each other listening but not talking to each other. Even though it may transport more information than the written signs it makes a poorer experience than reading and discussing. I wonder how one would design a good museum guide… There are plenty of projects but so far I have not seen the great solution.

Pervasive 2007 in Toronto

The internatonal conference on pervasive computing in Toronto had an exiting program.

The keynote was by Adam Greenfield on “Everyware: Some Social and Ethical Implications of Ubiquitous Computing” – matching a number of issues we discussed the day before at the doctoral colloquium. The talk was enjoyable even though I think some of the statements made, in particular with regard to opting out and informing the users (e.g. logos) are over-simplified. Furthermore the fact that our society and its values are changing was very little reflected, e.g. privacy is not a constant.

The best paper (by Rene Mayerhofer and Hans Gellersen) “Shake well before use: Authentication based on accelerometer data” was my favourite, too. A further very interesting paper was “Inference Attacks on Location Tracksby John Krumm. Two papers from ETH Zürich were also quite interesting: “Operating Appliances with Mobile Phones – Strengths and Limits of a Universal Interaction Deviceby Christof Roduner et al. showed surprising results for the use of phones as remote control (in short – more usable than one thinks). And “Objects Calling Home: Locating Objects Using Mobile Phones” by Christian Frank et al. showed that phones have a great utility as sensors (in this case to find lost objects.)

We presented a in the video proceedings the smart transport container and a novel supply chain scenario (cutting out all intermediaries and enabling producer to customer transactions).

The tutorial day was excellent – I think the set of tutorials presented can give a good frame for preparing a course or lecture on pervasive computing.

Pervasive 2008 will be in Australia!

Our Presentations at CHI’07 in San Jose

At this years CHI the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems we presented 3 contributions: a full paper, a CHI-note, and a work in progress paper. Have a look at them!

Holleis, P., Otto, F., Hussmann, H., and Schmidt, A. 2007. Keystroke-level model for advanced mobile phone interaction. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, California, USA, April 28 – May 03, 2007). CHI ’07. ACM Press, New York, NY, 1505-1514. DOI=

Atterer, R. and Schmidt, A. 2007. Tracking the interaction of users with AJAX applications for usability testing. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, California, USA, April 28 – May 03, 2007). CHI ’07. ACM Press, New York, NY, 1347-1350. DOI=

Holleis, P., Kern, D., and Schmidt, A. 2007. Integrating user performance time models in the design of tangible UIs. In CHI ’07 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, CA, USA, April 28 – May 03, 2007). CHI ’07. ACM Press, New York, NY, 2423-2428. DOI=

Panel on Users as Producers at Schloss Birlinghoven

In the castle on campus Ute Schütz and Michael Krapp from IAIS and SCAI organize a public panel discussion on citizen journalism and Web 2.0 trends. The discussion looked at the topic from several angles including technology, content, and communication. I had the honour to be on the panel with Wolfgang Back, Frank Patalong, Moritz „mo.“ Sauer and Thomas Tikwinski.

On issue was how much blogs are (mis)used to transport information or to do advertising. The web seems to be to many people a very believable medium. This reminded me of an article I read some time ago on story-telling o n the web (Miller, J. 2005. Storytelling evolves on the web: case study: EXOCOG and the future of storytelling. interactions 12, 1 (Jan. 2005), 30-47. DOI= I think something along this lines would an interesting project with students.

The questions what is going to change in the near future on the WWW brought many trend statements out, but for me it is amazing that most of the infrastructure and technology we need to make this happen is out there. One comment which I think is really true is that it is more an more about content and communication again. As Thomas said before the panel – most of the great things that are called Web 2.0 have been in the original proposal for the WWW (e.g. annotations by everyone or users as editors) – but now technology is finally there that people can use it.

Girls’ day at Fraunhofer in Birlinghoven

In Germany there are still too few girls and women interested in studying technical subjects – it may have different reasons but I think trying to convince young girls that technology is really exciting is a good way of addressing the problem.

We had this morning 7 girls visiting our lab. Matching our current teaching at B-IT (and using the test implementation Dagmar made 😉 we offered the topic “The computer knows where I am – how does this work”. First we played a mini geocaching game where they had to find a bag of jelly babies behind the castle.

After they had some experience with GPS and an electronic map we explained how it works and even parse together a NMEA-0183 sentence. We also discussed some application ideas, e.g. kids monitoring with GPS. The discussion, in particular the privacy issues that came up, were quite interesting.

I can really see that for some projects running focus groups with kids could be fun for them and a great value for the projects.

Panel on Sensor Networks – Applications are the Key

Debora Estrin made an interesting statement. The “early challenges” (the thousands or millions of randomly scattered sensor notes) do not have much applicability outside the battlefield. The new challenges are heterogeneity (specific sensors with specific capabilities) and interactivity (basically sense-making is a process where humans are involved). She made the point that the logical consequence is that dealing with data is the essential issue and statistics have an increasing role. Furthermore these new research directions make a stromg call for application driven research. With these very insightful comments she criticised a lot of the current work in sensor networks. Especially the observation that there is no such thing as a “general sensor” – it points out that concrete applications are required to make meaningful contributions, even to basic research in sensor networks research.

Best Demo Award at Percom 2007

Gregor got for our Perci prototype (Supporting Mobile Service Usage through Physical Mobile Interaction) the best demo award. So it paid off that he spend a night configuring the data services on the phones for the US networks 😉 It is amazing that it is still quite an effort to configure data services for a new provider.

Talks and Demos at PerCom 2007 in White Plains, NY

This year we (my previous group from LMU Munich) have a significant presence at PerCom. Form the 20 full papers the Embedded Interaction Research Group ( has 3, and additionally 1 of the 7 concise papers is from us. With a total of 207 submissions and an acceptance rate of around 10% this is quite an achievement for the team – and a good high point for the project before moving it to University of Bonn.

Gregor(y) Broll had the demo developed in the Perci-Project yesterday. Lucia Terrenghi and I had our talks today. And Gregor Broll, Sebastian Boring, and Raphael Wimmer have their talks tomorrow. Overall the conference has quite a diverse and interesting program, which seem to be more technical and network oriented than Ubicomp or Pervasive. The publications will be online available at the IEEE digital library or on our new publication webpage.

What can you do with a Wii controller? Use tape and connect a toothbrush and program a nice UI (fish tank) in Flash. Quite an interesting demo from Waseda University in Japan – at least the person who did the demo had really clean teeth in the evening.

PerTec Workshop in NY, Ripping off the Antenna

At PerCom 2007 ( Florian Michahelles (Auto-ID labs, ETH Zurich), Frédéric Thiesse (University of St. Gallen), John R. Williams (MIT Cambridge) and I are running the the PerTec workshop ( There is quite some interest in the topic and the range of topics is from technical to user interface and security.

In contrast to the workshop 1 year ago at Pervasive 2006 it seems that item level RFID-tagging is undisputed and that the only discussion point is when it is coming – in 6 month or 10 years. There is also still some discussion about what types of products are the first ones that are tagged – is it pharmaceuticals or cloth?

There was an interesting contribution by Paul Moskowitz from IBM, the clipped tag. It is a tag where you can physically rip off some part the antenna to reduce the read range from several meters to centimetres (see the pictures). It is really interesting that people can do a very clear and visible action to change the characteristics of a tag. The only questions that remains for me – will people trust that this really rips of the antenna? Probably yes…

The topics we discussed included security, privacy, location and RFID, end user issues, and connection of sensors to RFID, we hope to write it up in an overview article.

In the break out groups one discussion centered on the question what would we need to enable end-users to create novel applications using RFID? Further results of the discussion will be available on the workshop webpage soon.

The overall theme that emerged again and again is impact of real world constraints in RFID systems. Questions like: Can you achieve anonymity with a certain protocol? Can not be answered without knowing how it is used in the real world. Especially having recently learned a lot about data-mining (being at Fraunhofer IAIS) for me the questions of exploiting data collected in RFID systems looks really challenging.

Wearable Computing – Is it here?

10 years after I have got seen first see the crazy idea of wearable computing it appears that the technology is now really pushing into the marked. Even though one could argue whether or not this is really wearable computing (but this argument is as old as the idea of wearable computing). The last thing I would have expected 10 years ago was Bavarian Lederhosen with a built in user interface for an mp3-player. But nevertheless many challenges are still the same (integration with the aesthetics and fashion statement, durability and wash-ability, connectivity between computer and garment, integrated user interfaces) and some are nicely solved (

After Falke presented some years ago a sensor/ECG-t-shirt there was another one at CeBIT this year. It is not on the marked yet and it did not yet look fully convincing (you need to button in the electrodes). In our lab class on programming mobile systems we could use such a t-shirt. Currently we use stick on electrodes from which work really good but for the scenarios in mind having a t-shirt would be nicer.

In my recent entry on St. Petersburg I wondered about a communication glove. There was one on display – it includes only the essential (basically a speaker and a microphone) – but it enforced my opinion that creating a communication glove would be an interesting project. There were also hats with included speaker and microphones.

I was told that garments that keep warm – with active heating – are a hot topic 😉 Not fully convinced, but if projected consequently into the future it could change the way we dress completely. Want to show off you body at -20°C? Just power up the heating in your underwear a bit more and walk outdoors in your favourite summer dress without a coat. Not sure if this is the way we should push, I rather take my warm coat and save some energy. Apropos saving energy – there were interesting laptop bags with solar panels on the outside for harvesting energy.

Fraunhofer at CeBIT

“Deutschland – Land der Ideeen” – Germany land of ideas was really visible at the Fraunhofer exhibitions at CeBIT. For me having just recently joined Fraunhofer Gesellschaft I was amazed on the many research areas covered and the quality of the exhibits. Next generation MP3, interaction in public spaced, smart transport solutions, robots, micro-electronics, sensors – it is not really feasible to make a list… Our institute (IAIS) showed several exiting exhibits (see for details).

CeBIT: Context-Awareness for Novel Transport and Logistics Services

At the Fraunhofer Forum at CeBIT I had the chance to talk about future transport solutions. One of my students in Munich (Michael Müller) is working on a pro-active transport container. In the project aware-goods ( we looked into this domain already in 2000 at TecO together with SAP Research. Reiterating over the idea is really interesting as now the technology is really here – sensor network nodes are available, mobile phones offer massive processing power, there is ubiquitous data connectivity, and web service interfaces are available for many applications.

The big question is now on algorithms and software for context recognition and data mining in the collected sensor data, the integration with processes and company software systems, and the exploitation for optimising transport and logistics processes.

Educational Fair in St. Petersburg

Together with Alexandra Reitelmann I am in St. Petersburg (Russia) to advertise our study programs at the B-IT and University of Bonn ( In particular we talk to potential students about the master programs in Media Informatics and Life Science Informatics. The educational fair is held in the centre of St. Petersburg at the Russian Museum of Ethnography, which is a truly magnificent building. Overall I was surprised by the city, the buildings, the shops and the quality of the hotel.

The discussions with potential students and in some cases with their parents were interesting. It showed that there is a demand for high quality education and that Germany is an attractive place to study. Given the background of many people we talked to it could be interesting to look into the potential of a conversion master in media informatics, where people with different degrees (e.g. psychology, business studies, math, or engineering) can enter. In comparison to other countries education seems to be a bargain in Germany.

Tangible and Embedded Interaction 2008 in Bonn

The second international conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction (TEI’08) will be in Bonn, Germany. Together with Hans Gellersen from Lancaster University I will chair the conference in 2008. I am absolutely delighted that Elise van den Hoven from Eindhoven University of Technology and Ali Mazalek from Georgia Institute of Technology will co-chair the program. The conference will be held in the B-IT-Center in February or March 2008 – we will soon put more information on

Some thoughts to keep in mind for 2008… In the discussion it was suggested that we capture the conference next year on video and put the online or stream them. Furthermore several people argue for workshops as part of the conference. To have papers of different length, which may be presented in different forms (talks, exhibitions, demos, posters) but which are all equal in the proceedings was generally welcome. It was suggested that videos should feature in the submission to the program in one way or another. To make it easier for participants to have demos but also see other demos it was suggested to have student volunteers to help. The publication in the ACM digital library was seen by most people I spoke to as an important plus of the conference.

Affectionate Computing

Thecla Schiphorst introduced us in her talk “PillowTalk: Can We Afford Intimacy? to the concept of Affectionate-Computing.
The central question is really how can we create intimacy in communication an interaction with and through technology? The prototype showed networked soft objects, that include sensors that recognize tactile qualities and gesture interaction. There are more details in her paper published at TEI’07.

Keynote at TEI’07 by Tom Rodden

Tom presented (in socks) a very inspiring keynote at TEI’07. He questioned if the notion of seamless integration of technology based on several examples from the Equator Project (

A central lesson from his talk for me is to look more closely how to design interactive systems so that people can exploit the technical weakness of system creatively. We will always have to deal with sensors systems, context-recognition, and learning algorithms that are not 100% perfect. I find it interesting to see this rather as a resource for design than a problem. The experience Tom reported from CYSMN ( show nicely how people make use of GPS inaccuracies in a game.

A further point to keep in mind is that when triggering events based on context you may get boundary effects that can break the user experience. Tom gave an example of children finding virtual animals based on location. The effect was that they stopped when the saw an animal on their device – and this was at the boundary of the trigger area. This led to cases where the animal appeared and disappeared on the device and the children were puzzled about this effect. Hence one should really be careful how to put triggers – and I would expect that this is generally applicable to context-awareness not just to location-aware application.


We got the message that our workshop proposal at the German Informatik2007 Conference is accepted. Together with colleagues from the University of Bonn and from the AutoID-Labs in Zurich I will organize a workshop on context-aware and ubiquitous computing applications in logistics. With the workshop we hope to get together interesting people who look into smart transport and logistics solutions.

The Workshop webpage is online at: and papers are due at 29.04.07. I am really looking forward to seeing the submissions.