Karin Bee has defended her dissertation.

Karin Bee (nee Leichtenstern) has defended her dissertation at the University of Augsburg. In her dissertation she worked on methods and tools to support a user centered design process for mobile applications that use a variety of modalities. There are some papers that describe her work, e.g. [1] and [2]. To me it was particularly interesting that she revisited the experiment done in her master thesis in a smart home in Essex [3] and reproduced some of it in her hybrid evaluation environment.

It is great to see that now most of our students (HiWis and project students) who worked with us in Munich on the Embedded Interaction Project have finished their PhD (there are some who still need to hand in – Florian? Raphael?, Gregor? You have enough papers – finish it 😉

In the afternoon I got to see some demos. Elisabeth André has a great team of students. They work on various topics in human computer interaction, including public display interaction, physiological sensing and emotion detection, and gesture interaction. I am looking forward to a joined workshop of both groups. Elisabeth has an impressive set of publications which is always a good starting point for affective user interface technologies.

[1] Karin Leichtenstern, Elisabeth André,and Matthias Rehm. Tool-Supported User-Centred Prototyping of Mobile Applications. IJHCR. 2011, 1-21.

[2] Karin Leichtenstern and Elisabeth André. 2010. MoPeDT: features and evaluation of a user-centred prototyping tool. In Proceedings of the 2nd ACM SIGCHI symposium on Engineering interactive computing systems (EICS ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 93-102. DOI=10.1145/1822018.1822033 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1822018.1822033

[3] Enrico Rukzio, Karin Leichtenstern, Vic Callaghan, Paul Holleis, Albrecht Schmidt, and Jeannette Chin. 2006. An experimental comparison of physical mobile interaction techniques: touching, pointing and scanning. In Proceedings of the 8th international conference on Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp’06), Paul Dourish and Adrian Friday (Eds.). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 87-104. DOI=10.1007/11853565_6 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/11853565_6

Our Paper and Note at CHI 2010

Over the last year we looked more closely into the potential of eye-gaze for implicit interaction. Gazemarks is an approach where the users’ gaze is continuously monitored and when leaving a screen or display the last active gaze area is determined and store [1]. When the user looks back at this display this region is highlighted. By this the time for attention switching between displays was in our study reduced from about 2000ms to about 700ms. See the slides or paper for details. This could make the difference that we enable people to safely read in the car… but before this more studies are needed 🙂

Together with Nokia Research Center in Finland we looked at how we can convey the basic message of an incoming SMS already with the notification tone [2]. Try the Emodetector application for yourself or see the previous post.

[1] Kern, D., Marshall, P., and Schmidt, A. 2010. Gazemarks: gaze-based visual placeholders to ease attention switching. In Proceedings of the 28th international Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10 – 15, 2010). CHI ’10. ACM, New York, NY, 2093-2102. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1753326.1753646

[2] Sahami Shirazi, A., Sarjanoja, A., Alt, F., Schmidt, A., and Hkkilä, J. 2010. Understanding the impact of abstracted audio preview of SMS. In Proceedings of the 28th international Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10 – 15, 2010). CHI ’10. ACM, New York, NY, 1735-1738. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1753326.1753585

PS: the social event was at the aquarium in Atlanta – amazing creatures! Again supprised how well the N95 camera works even under difficult light conditions…

EmoDetector App is online – Hear The Feeling of SMS

EmoDetector, by University of Duisburg-Essen and Nokia Research Center, is an application that provides auditory cues in addition to the notification tone upon receiving an SMS based on a real-time analysis of a message’s contents, see [1].The application responds currently to the following characters sets:

  • 🙂 or 🙂
  • 🙁 or 🙁
  • 😉 or 😉
  • ok (case insensitive)
  • ?

There is a version for Nokia Series 60 phones and for Android, see the download site. Have a look at the http://www.emodetector.tom-lab.de/ website for more information.

[1] Sahami Shirazi, A., Sarjanoja, A., Alt, F., Schmidt, A.,Häkkilä, J.: Understanding the Impact of Abstracted Audio Preview of SMS. In Proceeding of CHI 2010, April 10-15, Atlanta, GA, USA

MUM 2009 in Cambridge, no technical solution for privacy

The 8th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM 2009) was held in Cambridge, UK. The conference is fairly specific and had an acceptance rate of about 33% – have a look at the table of content for an overview. Florian Michahelles presented our paper on a design space for ubiquitous product recommendation systems [1]. Our work contributes a comprehensive design space that outlines design options for product recommendation systems using mobile and ubiquitous technologies. We think that over the next years mobile recommendation systems have the potential to change the way we shop in the real world. It probably will be normal to have access in-depth information an price comparison while browsing in physical stores. The idea has been around for a while, e.g. the pocket bargain finder presented at the first ubicomp conference [2]. In Germany we see also a reaction of some electronics stores that asked users NOT to use a phone or camera in the shop.

The keynote on Tuesday morning was by Martin Rieser on the Art of Mobility. He blogs on this topic on http://mobileaudience.blogspot.com/.
The examples he presented in his keynote concentrated on locative and pervasive media. He characterized locative media as media that by social interaction that is linked to a specific place. He raised the awareness that mapping is very important for our perception of the world, using several different subjective maps – I particular liked the map encoding travel times to London . A further interesting examples was a project by Christian Nold: Bio mapping – emotional mapping of journeys. QR or other bar code markers on cloth (large and on the outside) have a potential … I see this now.

In the afternoon was panel on “Security and Privacy: Is it only a matter of time before a massive loss of personal data or identity theft happens on a smart mobile platform?” with David Cleevely, Tim Kindberg, and Derek McAuley. I found the discussion very inspiring but in the end I doubt more and more that technical solutions will solve the problem. I think it is essential to consider the technological, social and legal framework in which we live. If I would need to live in a house that provides absolute safety (without a social and legal framework) it would be probably not a very nice place… hence I think here we need really interdisciplinary research in this domain.

[1] von Reischach, F., Michahelles, F., and Schmidt, A. 2009. The design space of ubiquitous product recommendation systems. In Proceedings of the 8th international Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (Cambridge, United Kingdom, November 22 – 25, 2009). MUM ’09. ACM, New York, NY, 1-10. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1658550.1658552

[2] Brody, A. B. and Gottsman, E. J. 1999. Pocket Bargain Finder: A Handheld Device for Augmented Commerce. InProceedings of the 1st international Symposium on Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing (Karlsruhe, Germany, September 27 – 29, 1999). H. Gellersen, Ed. Lecture Notes In Computer Science, vol. 1707. Springer-Verlag, London, 44-51.

Workshop at MobileHCI: Context-Aware Mobile Media and Mobile Social Networks

Together with colleagues from Nokia, VTT, and CMU we organized a workshop on Context-Aware Mobile Media and Mobile Social Networks at MobileHCI 2009.

The topic came up in discussions some time last year. It is very clear that social network have moved towards mobile scenarios and that utilizing context and contextual media adds a new dimension. The workshop program is very diverse and ranges studying usage practices to novel technological solutions for contextual media and application.

One topic that is interesting to further look at is to use (digital) social networks for health care. Taking an analogy in history it is evident that the direct social group you were in took were the set of people that helped you in case of illness or accident. Looking at conditions and illnesses that cause a loss of mobility or memory it could be interesting to find applications on top of digital social networks to provide help. Seems this could be a project topic.

In one discussion we explored what would happen if we would change our default communication behavior from closed/secret (e.g. Email and SMS) to public (e.g. bulletin boards). I took the example of organizing this workshop: our communication has been largely on email and has not been public. If it would had been open (e.g. public forum) we probably would have organized the workshop in the same way but at the same time provided an example how one can organize a workshop and by this perhaps provided useful information for future workshop chairs. In this case there are little privacy concerns but images all communication is public? We would learn a lot about how the world works…

About 10 years ago we published at paper there is more to context than location [1]. However, looking at our workshop it seems: location is still the dominant context people think of. Many of the presentations and discussions included the term context, but the examples focused on location. Perhaps we do need location only? Or perhaps we should look more closely to find the benefit of other contexts?

[1] A. Schmidt, M. Beigl, H.W. Gellersen (1999) There is more to context than location, Computers & Graphics, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 893-901.

Social networks connected to the real world

Florian Michahelles mentioned in his blog a talk [1] and paper [2] by Aaron Beach on mobile social networks that are linked to artefacts (e.g. clothing) in the real world. This is really interesting and I think we should look more into this…

[1] Aaron Beach. University of Colorado. Whozthat: Mobile Social Networks. Whoz touching me? Whoz Music? Whoz Watching? Who Cares?

[2] Beach, A.; Gartrell, M.; Akkala, S.; Elston, J.; Kelley, J.; Nishimoto, K.; Ray, B.; Razgulin, S.; Sundaresan, K.; Surendar, B.; Terada, M.; Han, R., “WhozThat? evolving an ecosystem for context-aware mobile social networks” Network, IEEE , vol.22, no.4, pp.50-55, July-Aug2008

Maps – still the tool for navigation in the mountains

On Saturday we went to Garmisch and walked up to Höllentalklamm (a nice canyon) and had lunch at Höllentalangerhütter. Our GPS tracking data from the canyon was pretty poor (as one would expect as the canyon is in parts only a few meters wide).

Observing other hikers (especially people who did the larger tours) it was very interesting to see how maps are used in social situations – planning, discussion, reflection, and storytelling (this time n>10). It is hard to image how this experience can be replaced by an implementation on a mobile device.

Will we have to wait till we have 1 meter by 1 meter foldable e-ink displays with 200dpi? Or are there other means to implement a good hiking map on a mobile phone screen? There is a lot of ongoing research in this domain. For driving I would guess the paper map has been largely replaced by electronic devices – when will it happened for hiking?

My guess is that traditional hiking maps will be the standard tool for another 10 years – obviously combined with a mobile device with GPS (e.g. phone, watch, or specific hiking GPS). There many ideas on how to do this – Johannes Schöning and Michael Rohs have worked on that for a while. The WIP they hat at CHI is an interesting example [1] or see the video on youtube.

Projector phones are a hot topic – Enrico had some interesting work on interaction with projector phones at Mobile HCI 2008 [2] & [3]. I would expect that in a years time we will see quite a number of those devices on the market.

[1] Schöning, J., Rohs, M., Kratz, S., Löchtefeld, M., and Krüger, A. 2009. Map torchlight: a mobile augmented reality camera projector unit. In Proceedings of the 27th international Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Boston, MA, USA, April 04 – 09, 2009). CHI EA ’09. ACM, New York, NY, 3841-3846. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1520340.1520581

[2] Hang, A., Rukzio, E., and Greaves, A. 2008. Projector phone: a study of using mobile phones with integrated projector for interaction with maps. In Proceedings of the 10th international Conference on Human Computer interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 02 – 05, 2008). MobileHCI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 207-216. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1409240.1409263

[3] Greaves, A. and Rukzio, E. 2008. Evaluation of picture browsing using a projector phone. In Proceedings of the 10th international Conference on Human Computer interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 02 – 05, 2008). MobileHCI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 351-354. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1409240.1409286

Statistical Data on phone usage and ICT

Ever wanted to cite the number of “Mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitance” in Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, …., United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia or Zimbabwe? Or the spending on mobile telephony or the computer penetration in these countries? Then the website I just came across may be interesting for you too: http://measuring-ict.unctad.org/

Here are the direct links to documents containing data:

Some of the figures seem really high to me – but I have not looked into detail. They have also publish a handbook on how to measuring ICT access and uses:
MANUAL for Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals

Rubber-like stretchable display

Jörg just sent me a link on a rubber-like stretchable display that is published in Nature Material. There is a previous press release with some photos [2]. This is a significant step towards new nteractive devices, such as the one suggested in the GUMMI project [3].

[1] Stretchable active-matrix organic light-emitting diode display using printable elastic conductors, Tsuyoshi Sekitani et al., Nature Materials, doi: 10.1038/nmat2459

[2] http://www.ntech.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/Archive/Archive_press_release/press_stretchable/documents/press_release_en.pdf

[3] Schwesig, C., Poupyrev, I., and Mori, E. 2004. Gummi: a bendable computer. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Vienna, Austria, April 24 – 29, 2004). CHI ’04. ACM, New York, NY, 263-270. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/985692.985726

Offline Tangible User Interface

When shopping for a sofa I used an interesting tangible user interface – magnetic stickers. For each of the sofas systems the customer can create their own configuration using these magnetic stickers on a background (everything in a scale 1:50).

After the user is happy with the configuration the shop assistant makes a xerox copy (I said I do not need a black and white copy I make my own color copy with the phone) and calculates the price and writes up an order. The interaction with the pieces is very good and also great as a shared interface – much nicer than comparable systems that are screen based. I could imaging with a bit of effort one could create a phone application that scans the customer design, calculates the prices, and provides a rendered image of the configuration – with the chosen color (in our case green ;-). Could be an interesting student project…

Visit to Newcastle University, digital jewelry

I went to see Chris Kray at Culture Lab at Newcastle University. Over the next months we will be working on a joined project on a new approach to creating and building interactive appliances. I am looking forward to spending some more time in Newcastle.

Chris showed me around their lab and I was truly impressed. Besides many interesting prototypes in various domains I have not seen this number of different ideas and implementations of table top systems and user interface in another place. For picture of me in the lab trying out a special vehicle see Chris’ blog.

Jayne Wallace showed me some of her digital jewelry. A few years back she wrote a very intersting article with the title “all the useless beauty” [1] that provides an interesting perspective on design and suggests beauty as a material in digital design. The approach she takes it to design deliberately for a single individual. The design fits their personality and their context. She created a communication device to connect two people in a very simple and yet powerful way [2]. A further example is a piece of jewelry that makes the environment change to provide some personal information – technically it is similar to the work we have started with encoding interest in the Bluetooth friendly names of phones [3] but her artefacts are much more pretty and emotionally exciting.

[1] Wallace, J. and Press, M. (2004) All this useless beauty The Design Journal Volume 7 Issue 2 (PDF)

[2] Jayne Wallace. Journeys. Intergeneration Project.

[3] 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

Mobile Boarding Pass, the whole process matters

Yesterday night I did an online check-in for my flight from Düsseldorf to Manchester. For convenience and curiosity I chose the mobile boarding pass. It is amazingly easy and it worked in principle very well. Only not everyone can work without paper yet. At some point in the process (after border control) I got a hand written “boarding pass” because this person needs to stamp it 😉 and we would probably have gotten into an argument if he tried to stamp my phone. There is some further room for improvement. The boarding pass shows besides the 2D barcode all the important information for the traveler – but you have to scroll to the bottom of the page to get the boarding number (which seems quite important for everyone else than the traveler – it was even on my handwritten boarding pass).

Final Presentation: Advertising 2.0

Last term we ran an interdisciplinary project with our MSc students from computer science and business studies to explore new ways in outdoor advertising. The course was jointly organized by the chairs: Specification of Software Systems, Pervasive Computing and User Interface Engineering, and Marketing and Trade. We were in particular interested what you can do with mobile phones and public displays. It is always surprising how much a group of 10 motivated students can create in 3 months. The group we had this term was extraordinary – over the last weeks they regularly stayed in the evenings longer in the lab than me 😉

The overall task was very open and the students created a concept and than implemented it – as a complete system including backend server, end user client on the mobile phone, and administration interface for advertisers. After the presentation and demos we really started thinking where we can deploy it and who the potential partners would be. The system offers means for implicit and explicit interaction, creates interest profiles, and allows to target adverts to groups with specific interest. Overall such technologies can make advertising more effective for companies (more precisely targeted adverts) and more pleasant for consumers (getting adverts that match personal areas of interest).

There are more photos of the presentation on the server.

PS: one small finding on the side – Bluetooth in its current form is a pain for interaction with public display… but luckily there are other options.

Modular device – for prototyping only?

Over the last years there have been many ideas how to make devices more modular. Components that allow the end-user to create their own device – with exactly the functionality they want have been the central idea. So far they are only used in prototyping and have not really had success in the market place. The main reason seems that you get a device that has everything included and does everything – smaller and cheaper… But perhaps as electronics gets smaller and core functions get more mature it may happen.

Yanko Design has proposed a set of concepts along this line – and some of them are appealing 🙂

Buglabs (http://www.buglabs.net) sells a functional system that allows you to build your own mobile device.

Being creative and designing your own system has been of interest in the computing and HCI community for many years. At last years CHI there was an paper by Buechley et al. [1] that looked how the LilyPad Arduino can make creating “computers” an intersting experience – and especially for girls.

[1] Buechley, L., Eisenberg, M., Catchen, J., and Crockett, A. 2008. The LilyPad Arduino: using computational textiles to investigate engagement, aesthetics, and diversity in computer science education. 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, 423-432. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1357054.1357123

Visit to Nokia Research Center Tampere, SMS, Physiological sensors

This trip was my first time in Tampere (nice to see sometimes a new place). After arriving yesterday night I got a quick cultural refresher course. I even met a person who was giving today a presentation to the president of Kazakhstan (and someone made a copy using a phone – hope he got back OK to Helsinki after the great time in the bar).

In the morning I met a number of people in Jonna Hakkila’s group at the Nokia Research Center. The team has a great mix of backgrounds and it was really interesting to discuss the project, ranging from new UI concepts to new hardware platform – just half a days is much too short… When Ari was recently visiting us in Essen he and Ali started to implement a small piece of software that (hopefull) improves the experience when receiving an SMS (to Ali/Ari – the TODOs for the Beta-release we identified are: sound design, screen design with statistics and the exit button in the menu, recognizing Ok and oK, autostart on reboot, volume level controlable and respecting silent mode). In case you have not helped us with our research yet please fill in the questionnaire: http://www.pcuie.uni-due.de/uieub/index.php?sid=74887#

I gave a talk (see separate post on the next big thing) and had the chance to meet Jari Kangas. We discovered some common interest in using physiological sensing in the user interface context. I think the next steps in integrating physiological sensors into devices are smaller than expected. My expectation is that we rather detect simple events like “surprise” rather than complex emotion (at least in the very near future). We will see where it goes – perhaps we should put some more students on the topic…

Bob Iannucci from Nokia presents Keynote at HotMobile 2009

Bob Iannucci from Nokia presented his keynote “ubiquitous structured data: the cloud as a semantic platform” at HotMobile 2009 in Santa Cruz. He started out with the statement that “Mobility is at the beginning” and he argued that why mobile systems will get more and more important.

He presented several principles for mobile devices/systems

  • Simplicity and fitness for purpose are more important than feature
  • use concepts must remain constant – as few concepts as possible
  • presentations (what we see) and input modalities will evolve
  • standards will push the markets

Hearing this, especially the first point, from someone from Nokia seemed very interesting. His observations are in general well founded – especially the argument for simple usage models and sensible conceptual models when targeting the whole population of the earth as users.

In the keynote he offered an alternative conceptual model: Humans are Relational. Model everything as relations between people, things and places. He moved on to the question what are the central shortcomings in current mobile systems/mobile phones and he suggested it comes down to (1) no common data structure and (2) no common interaction concept.

With regard to interaction concepts he argued that a Noun-Verb style interaction is natural and easy for people to understand (have heard this before, for a discussion about it in [1, p59]). The basic idea in this mode is to choose a noun (e.g. people, place, thing) and then decide what to do with it (verb). From his point of view this interaction concept fits well the mobile device world. He argued that a social graph (basically relationships as in facebook etc.) would be well suited for a noun-verb style interaction. The nodes in the graph (e.g. people, photos, locations, etc.) are nouns and transformations (actions) between the nodes are the verbs. He suggested if we represent all the information that people have now in the phone as a graph and we have an open standard (and infrastructure) to share we could create a universal platform for mobile computing. (and potentially a huge graph with all the information in the world 😉

I liked his brief comment on privacy: “many privacy problems can be reduced to economic problems”. Basically people give their information away if there is value. And personally I think in most cases people give it away even for a minimal value… So far we have no market place where people can sell their information. He mentioned the example of a personal travel data which can provide the basis for traffic information (if aggregated). I think this is an interesting direction – how much value would have my motion pattern have?

Somehow related to what you can do on a mobile phone he shared with us the notion of the “3-Watt limit”. This seems fundamental: you cannot have more than 3 Watt used up in a device that fits in your hand (typical phone size) as otherwise it would get to hot. So the processing power limitation is not on the battery, but on the heat generated.

[1] Jef Raskin. The Humane Interface. Addison-Wesley. 2000.

New project on ambient visualization – kick-off meeting in Munich

We met in Munich at Docomo Euro Labs to start a new project that is related to context and ambient visualizations. And everyone already got bunnies 😉

Related to this there is a large and very interesting project: IYOUIT. Besides other things it can record and share your context – if you have a Nokia series 60 phone you should try it out. As far as I remember it was voted best mobile experience at mobile HCI 2008. 

Lucia and Thomas from Vodafone R&D visiting

Lucia Terrenghi and Thomas Lang from Vodafone R&D in Munich visited our lab. We talked at lot about the future role of mobile devices and in particular how they may change personal computing in the near future. 

After lunch they gave a talk for our students describing Vodafone research and their particular research interests. Using a nice visualization of train lines they showed the research themes and introduced some of their research foci. One area of interest is electronic paper, resulting future devices and potential applications and services. In the discussion I briefly mentioned that I had a look at some of the displays with my microscope – have a look in the previous blog post if you are interested.

How long before traditional TV will be marginalized?

TV and media consumption changes and one gets aware of this especially here in Seoul. People watch mobile TV on the subway and watching youtube videos in the hotel is fun as the available bandwidth seems massive. At the same time there is a convergences in technologies (TV hardware and UI still looks much the same but on the insight they are some sort of PC) is apparent and it takes little imagination to picture a TV set that integrates traditional services (e.g. TV over cable, terrestric, satellite) with new services (e.g. youtube, basically all flash-based video portals) in a transparent way. I would guess such a UI could be created in a way that the user does not really see the difference between a video from youtube or from BBC (only that he cannot fast-forward the BBC one). 

Given this technical prediction we discussed over dinner when traditional TV will be marginalized (in Europe). We could not really agree how we could tell that the traditional TV has been marginalized; One indicators we discussed is there will be no commercial TV stations (as we know them now) that provide a full program with a schedule broadcast. 
Based on this we made our predictions (if I got you wrong please correct it in the comments):
Jakob Bardram: never (just the carrier will change to IP); Alireza Sahami: 8 years; Florian Alt, 14 years, Jani Mantyjarvi, 7 years; Steinar Kristoffersen, 12 years; Nick Villar: 10 years; Chris Kray: 15 years; Albrecht Schmidt: 12 years
For most people live broadcast was one of the issues that they though may keep the traditional stations living longer. But I would argue we will have with the next generation of mobile devices means for broadcasting live, too… The final question is if people really go for professional high quality content over home-made content – I am not sure…
Perhaps we explore an implementation of an integrated UI in our course on user interface engineering in the coming winter term or if good student looks for a project topic.
PS: Steinar added that paper business cards will disappear befor the TV…

Workshops at Informatik 2008 in Munich, e-ink prediction

Yesterday there was a workshop on Mobile and Embedded Interaction as part of Informatik2008 in Munich. The talks and discussions were very interesting. Lucia and Thomas raised interesting issues on a new notion of personal computing, where the mobile device becomes the center of a personal computing infrastructure. This idea has been around for some time (e.g. Roy Wants Personal Server [1]) but the new ideas and the feasibility with current hardware makes it really an exciting topic. On the general topic there are many open questions, as visible on the slide.

After the workshop, when swapping business cards, we started the discussion when in the future we will have business cards (in larger quantities, to give away) that have active display elements (e.g. eInk) included. Everyone gave a predictions in how many years we will have it (Lucia Terrenghi:never; Raimund Dachselt:7; Thomas Lang: business card will disappear; Albrecht Schmidt:9; Heiko Drewes:10; Florian Echtler:5; Michael Rohs:5; Paul Holleis:5). Lets get back in 5 years and see… In September 2008 the Esquire Magazine featured an e-ink cover page – have not seen it myself:-( but there is a video: http://www.esquire.com/the-side/video/e-ink-cover-video

Today we organized a workshop on Software, Services and Platforms for new infrastructures in telecommunication. We had a set of really interesting talks. As I did my PhD on context-awareness I was quite impressed by work on context oriented programming and the advances over the last years in this domain (good starting point on the topic with some publications [2]).

At the end of the workshop I gave the following scenario as an impulse for discussion: image there are 10 million facebook users that contniouly stream the video of what they see into the net, e.g. using eagle-i. The discussion raise many technical as well as social challenges!

[1] Want, R., Pering, T., Danneels, G., Kumar, M., Sundar, M., and Light, J. 2002. The Personal Server: Changing the Way We Think about Ubiquitous Computing. In Proceedings of the 4th international Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (Göteborg, Sweden, September 29 – October 01, 2002). G. Borriello and L. E. Holmquist, Eds. Lecture Notes In Computer Science, vol. 2498. Springer-Verlag, London, 194-209.

[2] http://www.swa.hpi.uni-potsdam.de/cop/

PS: there are few photos as someone in the workshop today objected to be on the net…

Some random papers from Mobile HCI 2008

During mobile HCI I came across many interesting things (that is why one goes to conferences 😉 here is a selection of papers to look at – if you have more time it is worthwhile to look at the whole proceedings of mobile HCI 2008 in the ACM DL.

Gauntlet: a wearable interface for ubiquitous gaming – exploring a new gaming UI for gestures.

Mobile phones as artifacts children use in their games are discussed. Shows again how creative children are 😉

An Investigation into round touch screen Wristwatch interaction – interesting topic and good example how to do a small study. Ideas to create a tactile rim, e.g. 2 parts moving to have different tactile cues, were brought up in the discussion.

Programming with children – taking programming it into the environment away from the computer, relates to Tangible User Interfaces

Projector phone: a study of using mobile phones with integrated projector for interaction with maps

Interaction based on Speech seems possible – even in noisy environment – the paper reports interesting preliminary results in the context of a fishing boot. Interesting in-situ tests (e.g. platform in a wave tank)

Wearable computing user interfaces. Where should we put the controls and what functions do uses expect?

Learning-oriented vehicle navigation systems: a preliminary investigation in a driving simulator

Enrico Rukzio followed up the work from Munich pushing the idea of touch interaction with NFC devices further.

Color matching using a mobile phone. The idea is to use a color chart, take a photo of face with a color chart, sent by mms to server, server process look up color match, reply by sms; no software installation only using MMS, SMS. Application in cosmetics are discussed.

Using Second Life to demonstrate a concept automobile heads up display (A-HUD)

Paul Holleis presented our paper on Wearable Controls

Last year Paul did an internship a Nokia in Finland. He worked there on the integration of capacitive sensors in phones and clothing. After Paul was back we jointly followed up on the topic which resulted in an interesting set of guidelines for placing wearable controls [1].

The paper gives a good overview of wearable computing and interaction with wearable computers. In the work we focused on integrating touch sensitive controls into garments and accessories for a operating the music player integrated in a phone. The study showed that there are prime locations where to place controls on their body: the right hip and above the right knee (for more details see the paper [1]). It furthermore showed that it is not clear expectations of functions (e.g. forward, backward, volume up/down) with regard to controls laid out on the close.

During his internship he also did research on integrating touch into buttons, which was published at Tangible and Embedded Interaction 2008 [2].

[1] Holleis, P., Schmidt, A., Paasovaara, S., Puikkonen, A., and Häkkilä, J. 2008. Evaluating capacitive touch input on clothes. In Proceedings of the 10th international Conference on Human Computer interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 02 – 05, 2008). MobileHCI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 81-90. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1409240.1409250

[2] Paul Holleis, Jonna Häkkilä, Jussi Huhtala. Studying Applications for Touch-Enabled Mobile Phone Keypads. Proceedings of the 2nd Tangible and Embedded Interaction Conference TEI’08. February 2008.

Andrew Greaves presents a study on photo browsing using projector phones

Since Enrico Rukzio (my first PhD student) went to Lancaster he discovered and advanced a very exciting topic for mobile interaction: mobile projector/projector phones. His group has a great presencs at this year’s mobile HCI (3 demonstrations, 2 short papers, 2 full papers, a workshop). In time for the conference the first projector phone appeared on the market (Cking Epoq EGP-PP01) – as to highlight the timeliness of the work.

The mobile projector study [1] revealed several interesting aspects. 1) it is faster to browser on the phone screen than using a project, 2) users do a lot of context switches between projection and device – even nothing is displayed on the screen, 3) the users see a great value in it (even if they may be slower). I am really looking forward to further results in this area. It may be significantly change the way we use mobile phones!

PS: see Enrico watching his student present I remember how exciting it is for a supervisor to just watch…

[1] Andrew Greaves, Enrico Rukzio. Evaluation of Picture Browsing using a Projector Phone. 10th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (Mobile HCI 2008). Amsterdam, Netherlands. 2-5 September 2008.

Keynote at MobileHCI2008: BJ Fogg – mobile miracle

BJ Fogg gave the opening keynote at mobile HCI 2008 in Amsterdam. The talk explained very well the concept of Captology (computers as persuasive technologies) and the newer projects are very inspiring. He put the following questions at the center: How can machines change people’s minds and hearts? How can you automate persuasion? His current focus is on behavior change.

He reported of a class he is teaching at Stanford on designing facebook applications. The metric for success (and on this students are marked) is the uptake of the created application over the time of the course. He reported that the course attracted 16 million users in total and about 1 million on a daily basis – that is quite impressive. This is also an example of the approach he advocates: “rather try than think”. The rational is to try out a lot of things (in the real market with real users, alpha/beta culture) rather than optimize a single idea. Here the background is that nowadays implementation and distribution is really easy and that the marked decides if it is hot or not… His advice is to create minimal application – simple application and then push it forward. All big players (e.g. google, flickr) have done it this ways…

With regard to the distribution methods for persuasion he referred over and over to social networks (and in particular facebook). His argument is that by these means one is able to reach many people in a trusted way. He compared this to the introduction of radio but highlighted the additional qualities. Overall he feels that Web 2.0 is only a worm up for all the applications to come on the mobile in the future.

At the center of the talk was that prediction that mobile devices will be within 15 years the main technology for persuasion. He argued that mobile phones are the greatest invention of human kind – more important than the writing and transportation systems (e.g. planes, cars). He explained why mobile phones are so interesting based on three metaphors: heart, wrist watch, magic wand.

Heart – we love our mobile phones. He argued that if users do not have their phone with them they miss it and that this is true love. Users form a very close relationship with their phone and spend more time with the phone than with anything/anyone else. He used the image of “mobile marriage”…

Wrist watch – the phone is always by our sides. It is part of the overall experience in the real world provding 3 functions: Concierge (reactive, can be asked for advice, relationship base on trust), Coach (proactive, coach comes to me tells me, pushing advice), and Court Jester (entertains us, be amused by it, create fun with content that persuades).

Magic wand – phones have amazing and magical capabilities. A phone provides humans with a lot of capabilities (remote communication, coordination, information access) that empower many things.

Given this very special relationship it may be a supplement for our decision making (or more general our brain). The phone will advise us what to do (e.g. navigation systems tell us where to go) and we love it. We may have this in other areas, too – getting told what movie to see, what food to eat, when to do exercise, … not fully convinced 😉

He gave a very interesting suggestion how to design good mobile applications. Basically to create a mobile application the steps are: (1) Identify the essence of the application, (2) strip everything of the application that is not essential to provide this and (3) you have a potentially compelling mobile application. Have heard of this before, nevertheless it seems that still features sell but it could by a change with the next generation.

He provided some background on the basics of persuasion. For achieving a certain target behavior you need 3 things – and all at the same time: 1. sufficient motivation (they need to want to do it), 2. Ability to do what they want (you either have to train them or to make it very easy – making easer is better) and 3. a trigger. After the session someone pointed out that this is similar to what you have in crime (means, motive, opportunity 😉

For creating persuasive technologies there are 3 central pairs describing motivation:

  • Instant pleasure and gratification vs. instant pain
  • Anticipation of good or hope vs. anticipation of the bad or fear (it is noted that hope is the most important motivator
  • Social acceptance vs. social rejection

When designing systems it is essential to go for simplicity. He named the following five factors that influence simplicity: (1) money, (2) physical effort, (3) brain cycles, (4) social deviation, and (5) non-routine. Antonio pointed out that this links to work of Gerd Gigerenzer at MPI work on intuitive intelligence.

[1] Gigerenzer, G. Gut feelings: The intelligence of the unconscious. New York: Viking Press.

MobileHCI 2008 Tutorial

The conference on mobile human computer interaction (MobileHCI 2008) started today in Amsterdam with the tutorial and workshop day.

I am chairing the tutorials and we tried a new approach for the tutorial, having 6 sessions/chapters that all together make up an introduction to mobile HCI. After 10 years of mobile HCI it seems important to help new members of the community to quickly learn about the field. The presentations were given by experts in the field that had 1 hour each for their topics. We had unexpected high attendence (the room with 100 seats was nearly always full). Have a look at the slides:

Text input for mobile devices by Scott MacKenzie
Scott gave an overview of different input means (e.g. key-based, stylus, predictive, virtual keyboard), parameters relevant for designing and assessing mobile text input (e.g., writing speed, cognitive load) and issues related to the context of use (e.g., walking/standing).

Mobile GUIs and Mobile Visualization by Patrick Baudisch

Patrick introduced input and output options for mobile devices. He will talk about the design process, prototyping and assessment of user interfaces, trade-offs related to the design of mobile GUIs and different possible interaction styles.

Understanding Mobile User Experience by Mirjana Spasojevic
Mirjana discussed different means for studying mobile user needs and evaluating the user experience. This includes explorative studies and formal evaluations (in the lab vs. in the field), including longitudinal pilot deployments. The lecture discusses traditional HCI methods of user research and how they need to be adapted for different mobile contexts and products.

Context-Aware Communication and Interaction by Albrecht Schmidt
Albrecht gave an overview of work in context-awareness and activity recognition that is related to mobile HCI. He discussed how sharing of context in communication applications can improve the user experience. The lecture explained how perception and sensing can be used to acquire context and activity information and show examples how such information can be exploited.

Haptics, audio output and sensor input in mobile HCI by Stephen Brewster
Stephen discussed the design space for haptics, audio output as well as sensor and gesture input in mobile HCI. Furthermore he assessed resulting interaction methods and implications for the interactive experience.

Camera-based interaction and interaction with public displays by Michael Rohs
Michael introduced camera based interaction with mobile devices; this included a assessment of optical markers, 2D-barcodes and optical flow as well as techniques related to augmented reality. In this context he addressed interaction with public displays, too.

You can also download the complete tutorial including all 6 chapters in a single PDF file (16MB).

Workshop on User Experience at Nokia

Together with Jonna Hakkila’s group (currently run by Jani Mantyjarvi) we had a two day workshop at Nokia in Oulu discussion the next big thing* 😉
* motto on the Nokia research centers web page

It seems that many people share the observation that emotions and culture play a more and more important role in the design of services and applications – even outside the research labs. One evening we looked for the Finnish experience… (photo by Paul)

Overall the workshop showed again how many ideas can be created in a very short time – hopefully we can follow up some of them and create some new means for communication. We plan to meet again towards the end of the year in Essen.

PS: Kiss the phone – some take it literarily: http://tech.uk.msn.com/news/article.aspx?cp-documentid=7770403

PPS: we talked about unanticipated use (some call it misuse) of technology, e.g. using the camera on the phone to take a picture of the inside of your fridge instead of writing a shopping list. Alternative uses is not restricted to mobile phones – see for yourself what you dishwasher may be good for…. http://www.salon.com/nov96/salmon961118.html