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… Continue reading

It is 50 years now that Prof. Rul Gunzenhäuser, my predecessor on human computer interaction and interactive systems at the University of Stuttgart, defended his PhD. Some month back I came across his PhD thesis “Ästhetisches Maß und ästhetische Information“ (aesthetic measure and aesthetic information) [1], supervised by Prof. Max Bense, and I was seriously impressed.

He is one of the few truly interdisciplinary people I know. And in contrast to modern interpretations of interdisciplinary (people from different working together) he is himself interdisciplinary in his own education and work. He studied Math, Physics and… Continue reading

Dagmar Kern has successfully defended her PhD on “Supporting the Development Process of Multimodal and Natural Automotive User Interfaces” in Essen. External examiner was Antonio Krüger from University of Saarbrücken. Her dissertation will be available online soon. The core contribution of the thesis is the investigation of how to improve a user centered design process for automotive user interfaces. In order to systematically assess user interface designs in cars she developed a design space (inspired by Card et al [5]). In various cases studies she create novel in-car user interfaces and explored experimentally the implications on driver distraction.

Dagmar started… Continue reading

Heiko worked the last 6 years towards his PhD. He did a lot of things during this time – and even though not everything was on his PhD topic – I think the time was well spent, e.g. some visually interesting things came out [1].

The core of his PhD was on eye gaze as an additional modality for human computer interaction and it is worthwhile to read the thesis (which will be available in a few weeks) – till than you can have a look at the following papers. [2] describes a system that positions the mouse pointer on… Continue reading

For the second time we organize a doctoral seminar for PhD students in CS from Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg und Essen. The main purpose is to provide networking opportunities beyond the own subject area and to highlight to options for life after the PhD.

This year we had 4 invited speakers highlighting opportunities in academia, industry, and in SMEs:

For the second time we organized an international doctoral colloquium on HCI – mainly with students from Germany and Finland. This year it was hosted at the University of Tampere. 10 students in different stages of their PhD presented their work and ideas. The first one was in Oulu.

Besides many scientific and technological topics we discussed the process of doing a PhD. I shared my experience of doing a PhD based on an extened version of Jakob Badram’s fish model as well as with the PI-presentation model.

The fish: basically you start with a topic and it widens… Continue reading

Finland is one country in Europe were it seems pretty hard to get to in the morning from Germany or Austria. If you have a meeting before 11 am you have to fly the day before.

I was invited to Helsinki to be opponent (together with Kaisa Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila) for the PhD defense of Elina Vartiainen at Helsinki University of Technology. The first time I came across work she was involved in was at CHI 2006 in Montreal. She worked with Virpi Roto on the Minimap web browser [1]. Last year in a doctoral colloquium in Finland we first discussed some… Continue reading

“Sounds like a fun project” was my first reaction when I read some time back the first paper on Steve‘s work on augmented toys and augmented games. Reading through his thesis and seeing more of his papers it seems there was a lot of hard work, too.

Thinking more about it I was wondering how toys are really going to change in the future and to what extent this is going to happen. Technically a lot is feasible as it is well demonstrated by Steve in his thesis (photo from www.vs.inf.ethz.ch); if you do not have time to… Continue reading

Monday and Tuesday I organized together with Gernot A. Fink a PhD awayday for students in computer science of the Universities Bochum, Dortmund and Duisburg-Essen. With about 30 PhD students and some professors we went to Bommerholz, where the University of Dortmund has a small retreat.

The program included talks about career possibilities after the PhD including talks by:
After a stop-over in Stansted/Cambridge at the TEI conference I was today in Linz, Austria, as external for the PhD defense of Andreas Riener. He did his PhD with Alois Ferscha and worked on implicit interaction in the car. The set and size of experiments he did is impressive and he has two central results. (1) using tactile output in the car can really improve the car to driver communication and reduce reaction time. And (2) by sensing the force pattern a body creates on the seat driving relates activities can be detected and to some extend driver identification… Continue reading

Paul Holleis defended today his PhD thesis on “Integrating Usability Models into Pervasive Application Development” in Munich – My No.3. He worked together with Matthias on the DFG project “Embedded Interaction”. Paul is now with Docomo Eurolabs in Munich.

The set of publication Paul produced is impressive – you probably don’t have time to read all of them 😉 but at least take a look at the following ones: an extension to KLM for mobile phones [1], an integrated development environment that includes usability models [2], and a explorative study in wearable computing [3]. In Germany we have… Continue reading

At LMU in Munich Richard Atterer defended his PhD thesis on Usability Tool Support for Model-Based Web Development. The external examiner was Prof. Martin Gaedke– it was great meeting Martin again, we shared an office some years back at TecO, University of Karlsruhe. While I was with LMU I worked with Richard on a number of interesting topics and I learned to value his technical skills and insightful reflection – hope he stays in academia 😉  Our experiments with remote usability assessment and effectively fine-grain user tracking on web pages [1] created a number of ideas for… Continue reading

Jonna Hakkila (Nokia), Jani Mantyjarvi (Nokia & VTT), and I discussed last year how we can improve the doctoral studies of our students and we decided to organize a small workshop to discuss PhD topics.

As Jonna is currently on maternity leave and officially not working we ran the workshop at VTT in Oulu.

The topics varied widely from basic user experience to user interface related security. There was very interesting work the participants did and published. I have selected the following 2 as reading suggestions: [1] by Elina Vartiainen and [2] by Anne Kaikkonen.

We hope we gave some… Continue reading

Today Matthias Kranz defended his PhD thesis „Engineering Perceptive User Interfaces“ successfully at the University of Munich! Congratulations… and remember “Training to become a Jedi is not an easy challenge. And even if you succeed, it’s a hard life.” (Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)

After Enrico Rukzio Matthias is the second of my PhD students who worked with me in Munich to finish. He is now with the German Aerospace center (DLR). Matthias worked on the DFG project “Embedded Interaction” and has created and published an impressive set of prototypes and… Continue reading

Today Lucia Terrenghi completed her PhD at the University of Munich. The topic of her dissertation is “Designing Hybrid Interactions through an Understanding of the Affordances of Physical and Digital Technologies”. She presented interesting insights from prototyping new interaction tools the combine the digital and the physical.

One finding in a case study was that it seems really hard to get people into using both hands for interaction (bi-manual interaction) when digital objects are involved, even though there are physical/tangible artefacts to manipulate. I made a similar observation when recently working with small children who were writing the first time… Continue reading

Today I finally got around visiting Jan Borchers (media computing group at RWTH Aachen). Tico Ballagas hat as part of his PhD defence a public talk and took the chance to go there.

There where new parts in the talk on the impact of the selection space resolution on Fitts’s law that I had not seen in his work before. It is published in 2006 as a technical report (Rafael Ballagas and Jan Borchers. Selexels: a Conceptual Framework for Pointing Devices with Low Expressiveness. Technical Report AIB-2006-16, RWTH Aachen, Dec 2006) which is worthwhile to have… Continue reading

I was at ETH Zurich for the PhD defence of Nagendra Bhargava Bharatula. His thesis is on context-aware wearable nodes and in particular on the trade-offs in design and the design space of these devices.

The tour in Prof. Tröster’s lab was very impressive. It is a very active and probably one of the largest groups world wide doing research in wearable computing. It seams that wearable computing is getting more real, many scenarios and demonstrators are much more realistic and useful than several years ago.

In the backmanager project Corinne Mattmann works on a shirt that measures body posture.… Continue reading

This Morning Mario Pichler defended his PhD dissertation at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz. One central theme he investigated in his research was how innovation happens between technology push and application/market pull. It is scientifically a very interesting argument when looking at applied research. However considering successful products, especially products from Asia and in particular Korea, it appears that focusing on technology innovation can be a strong and successful strategy.

In the ubicomp community it seems that technology driven projects are seen very critical and that there seems to be a need to justify ubicomp research with applications. The… Continue reading