Paul presented our paper at Pervasive 2008

Paul presented after lunch our full paper on a development approach and environment for mobile applications that supports underlying user models [1]. In the paper he shows how you can create applications while programming by example where the development environment automatically adds a KLM model. In this way the developer becomes automatically aware of estimated usage times for the application. The paper is work that builds on our paper on KLM for physical mobile interaction which was presented last year at CHI [2]. The underlying technology is the embedded interaction toolkit [3] – have a look – perhaps it makes you applications easier, too.

[1] Paul Holleis, Albrecht Schmidt: MAKEIT: Integrate User Interaction Times in the Design Process of Mobile Applications. In: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Pervasive Computing, Pervasive’08. Sydney, Australia 2008, S. 56-74.

[2] Holleis, P.; Otto, F.; Hußmann, H.; Schmidt, A.: 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.. 2007.

What can we learn from legacy-free washbasins?

In Sydney I saw a legacy-free setup for washing hands in a public bathroom. I was surprised at the simple and solution with high utility! It is only a board mounted in an angle with water taps above. For typical use (washing hands under a flow of water) this is as good as a traditional setup. From looking at it, the legacy-free setup seems much easier to clean. I have never used a washbasin in a public bathroom by filling it – and I have never seen this functionality used (typically you can not use it in the lagacy way as there is not plug)… nevertheless most setups have washbasin.

Back to computing – what does it tell us? Looking at the operating systems I use, the applications and devices I see a lot of washbasin! Functionality that is never used but makes maintenance pretty expensive is a part of most of them. Looking at architecture as well as user interfaces the above example can motive to look at non-standard solutions…

Thought on Keys

Many keys (to rooms and buildings) are still tangible objects, where the tangible properties and affordances imply certain ways of usage .Who has not gotten a hotel key that you hand in at reception, because it is too big to be carried in a pocket? Moving digital many keys we get lack craft and unique affordances as they are just plastic cards or RFID tags in a specific form. With moving towards biometric authentication it seems that the key is intangible (so we loose options in the design space) but embedded into us (which opens up new possibilities).

The major drawback of physical and tangible keys is that if you don’t have it with you – when you are in front of the door they can not help you. Even if you know where the key is and you communicate with the person having the key.
… but thinking back a few days to the visions in Hiroshi Ishii’s keynote its seems that this is very short term problem. Having atoms that can be controlled (tangible bits) we can just get the data for the key from remote and reproduce it locally. With current technology this seems already very feasible – on principle – ( some Person uses a 3D scanner, e.g. embedded in a mobile device that has a camera and communication) and the other person has a 3D printer/laser cutter. Still the question remains if moving to digital keys is not much easier.

However if you do not have the key – and even so there is a solution “on principle” – it does not really help 😉