Work in Progress at CHI 2010

It seems we have a lot of work in progress 🙂 and CHI is a great place to get feedback an talk to people about it.

Florian Alt and others from the summer school in Haifa pushed one of the ideas the developed there further. It is about interactions and technologies to motivate a more thoughtful handling of trash in urban areas [1].

Tanja Döring and Bastian Pfleging developed with Chris Kray in Nottingham the idea of tangible devices that have a functional core and a passive shell [2]. By this we image that future tangible products can be created by designers and developers with no need for the production of electronics. As a side effect this approach could make consumer electronics more sustainable – even if you like often new gadgets.

Together with people from DFKI Saarbrücken we explored the potential of a multi-touch steering wheel [3]. What gestures would you do to switch on your radio? How to interact with the navigation system? Such questions are empirically explored and presented in this paper.

How many people have a phone? How many people have a PC? It very clear more people have a phone than a PC and in particular in the non-industrial part of the world for many people the only computing technology available is the phone. We think there are ways to efficiently develop software using a phone for the phone. In the paper we explored a paper and computer vision based approach for software development on the phone [4].

Elba did field studies in Panama to assess the access of phones as educational tool to children [5]. She compared different parts of the country and did interviews with teachers.

[1] Reif, I., Alt, F., Hincapié Ramos, J., Poteriaykina, K., and Wagner, J. 2010. Cleanly: trashducation urban system. In Proceedings of the 28th of the international Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10 – 15, 2010). CHI EA ’10. ACM, New York, NY, 3511-3516. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1753846.1754010

[2] Doering, T., Pfleging, B., Kray, C., and Schmidt, A. 2010. Design by physical composition for complex tangible user interfaces. In Proceedings of the 28th of the international Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10 – 15, 2010). CHI EA ’10. ACM, New York, NY, 3541-3546. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1753846.1754015

[3] Pfeiffer, M., Kern, D., Schöning, J., Döring, T., Krüger, A., and Schmidt, A. 2010. A multi-touch enabled steering wheel: exploring the design space. In Proceedings of the 28th of the international Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10 – 15, 2010). CHI EA ’10. ACM, New York, NY, 3355-3360. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1753846.1753984

[4] Pfleging, B., Valderrama Bahamondez, E. d., Schmidt, A., Hermes, M., and Nolte, J. 2010. MobiDev: a mobile development kit for combined paper-based and in-situ programming on the mobile phone. In Proceedings of the 28th of the international Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10 – 15, 2010). CHI EA ’10. ACM, New York, NY, 3733-3738. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1753846.1754047

[5] Valderrama Bahamóndez, E. d. and Schmidt, A. 2010. A survey to assess the potential of mobile phones as a learning platform for panama. In Proceedings of the 28th of the international Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, USA, April 10 – 15, 2010). CHI EA ’10. ACM, New York, NY, 3667-3672. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1753846.1754036

Full Paper and Work in Progress at Percom 2010

Together with Matthias Kranz and Carl Fisher we had a full paper at Percom 2010 – and I had the honor to present it [1]. The paper reports work that explored using the existing DECT (the wireless phone standard) infrastructure (available especially in Europe) as basic technology for localization. We compared DECT and Wifi and it is interesting that in most places you see more DECT based stations than Wifi. Overall it is a really interesting alternative to WLAN location.

From the joint work with Docomo-Eurolabs in Munich in the project AmbiVis we presented a work in progress poster. In the project we look at different options for visualizing context information – especially in ambient ways [2]. As display technologies we employed the Nabaztag and a digital picture frame.

[1] Matthias Kranz, Carl Fischer, Albrecht Schmidt: A Comparative Study of DECT and WLAN Signals for Indoor Localization. In: 8th Annual IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications (Percom 2010). IEEE Mannheim 2010, S. 235-243.

[2] Florian Alt, Alireza Sahami Shirazi, Andreas Kaiser, Ken Pfeuffer, Emre Gürkan, Albrecht Schmidt, Paul Holleis, Matthias Wagner: Exploring Ambient Visualizations of Context Information (Work in Progress). In: WIP, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications, PerCom 2010. IEEE, Mannheim, Germany 2010

Ubiquitous Computing – Ever wondered if we are there yet?

Given the technologies around us I sometimes wonder how close we are to a vision of ubiquitous computing. In this month IEEE Computer Invisible Computing column I had the pleasure to ask this question and share my view on it.

The short answer is: many technologies are ubiquitous but there is a lot more to come. In particular we see that many technologies (public displays, people centric sensing, and personal memory devices) are just around the corner and that they may have a large impact on how we perceive computing. For the long answer have a look at my article: ubiquitous computing – are we there yet? [1]. I have taken over responsibility for the invisible computing column from Bill Schilit who introduced the Invisible Computing column in 2003 [2].

Some years ago in 2006 Yvonne Rogers presented her view on how Ubicomp is going forward [3] contrasting it to Weiser’s Vision of calm computing. In her paper she introduces an alternative agenda that argue that we should engage people by ubicomp technologies rather than to make life easy, convenient and calm. Yvonne’s paper is an interesting starting point for getting students into this topic.

[1] Schmidt, A. 2010. Ubiquitous Computing: Are We There Yet? Computer 43, 2 (Feb. 2010), 95-97. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MC.2010.54

[2] Schilit, B. N. 2003. Mega-Utilities Drive Invisible Technologies. Computer 36, 2 (Feb. 2003), 97-99. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MC.2003.1178056

[3] Yvonne Rogers: Moving on from Weiser’s Vision of Calm Computing: Engaging UbiComp Experiences. Ubicomp 2006: 404-421

Ephemeral User Interfaces – nothing lasts forever and somethings even shorter

Robustness and durability are typical qualities that we aim for when building interactive prototypes and systems. Tanja and Axel explored what user experience we can create when we deliberately design something in a way that is ephemeral (=not lasting, there is a good German word “vergänglich”). Ephemeral User Interfaces are user interface elements and technologies that are designed to be engaging but fragile [1]. In the prototype that we showed at TEI 2010 in Cambridge the user can interact with soap bubbles to control a computer. Axel has some additional photos on his web page.


There is a short video of the installation on the technology review blog: http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24729

[1] Sylvester, A., Döring, T., and Schmidt, A. 2010. Liquids, smoke, and soap bubbles: reflections on materials for ephemeral user interfaces. In Proceedings of the Fourth international Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied interaction(Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, January 24 – 27, 2010). TEI ’10. ACM, New York, NY, 269-270. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1709886.1709941

Book chapter on Teaching Beyond the Classroom

Kati Mäkitalo-Siegl, Jan Zottmann, Frederic Kaplan and Frank Fischer organized a workshop that resulted in the book: Classroom of the Future. The book gives a very good overview and is in my view very well suited to run a seminar

We have one chapter in the book that talks about teaching beyond the classroom and outside a typical classroom using pervasive computing technologies [1]. Our chapter includes some of the work on tangible interaction we did in Munich, e.g. [2] and earlier experience where we did a school garden blog (in German only http://www.hcilab.org/albrecht/flachs-web/).

Details about the book and a free preview are available at the publisher’s side. The free preview includes an article on the classroom of the past – which I found quite interesting. If you are interested in our article, drop me a mail and I may find the draft.

[1] Paul Holleis, Albrecht Schmidt, Heiko Drewes, Richard Atterer, Petra Dollinger. Teaching Beyond the Classroom: Pervasive Computing Technologies for the Classroom of the Future. Classroom of the future. SensePublisher 2010, pp 63-85. ISBN:978-9460911026 (book at amazon)

[2] Terrenghi, L., Kranz, M., Holleis, P., and Schmidt, A. 2006. A cube to learn: a tangible user interface for the design of a learning appliance. Personal Ubiquitous Comput. 10, 2-3 (Jan. 2006), 153-158. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00779-005-0025-8

Article on Driving Automotive User Interface Research in IEEE Pervasive

We wrote an article on the automotive user interface conference that took place in Essen in September 2009. In the current issue of the IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazine this paper is published and gives an overview of the conference [1]. We hope our article highlights the key ideas that were presented at the conference.

Abstract. Cars offer an interesting but challenging microcosm for pervasive computing research and, in particular, for interaction with pervasive computing systems. Increasingly, researchers are looking at interactive applications in the car and investigating human-car interaction from a computer science-rather than an ergonomics or mechanical engineering-perspective. This article reports on the International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications, wherein participants shared presentations on topics such as aesthetics, user interaction and distraction, safety, and driver monitoring.

[1] Albrecht Schmidt, Wolfgang Spiessl, Dagmar Kern, “Driving Automotive User Interface Research,” IEEE Pervasive Computing, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 85-88, Jan.-Mar. 2010, doi:10.1109/MPRV.2010.3.

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.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/jxtd2ybejypr2kfr/

Tangible, Embedded, and Reality-Based Interaction

Together with Antonio’s group we looked at new forms of interaction beyond the desktop. The journal paper Tangible, Embedded, and Reality-Based Interaction [1] gives overview and examples of recent trends in human computer interaction and is a good starting point to learn about these topics.

Abstract: Tangible, embedded, and reality-based interaction are among novel concepts of interaction design that will change our usage of computers and be part of our daily life in coming years. In this article, we present an overview of the research area of tangible, embedded, and reality-based interaction as an area of media informatics. Potentials and challenges are demonstrated with four selected case studies from our research work.

[1] Tanja Döring, Antonio Krüger, Albrecht Schmidt, Johannes Schöning: Tangible, Embedded, and Reality-Based Interaction. it – Information Technology 51 (2009) 6 , S. 319-324. (pdf)
http://www.it-information-technology.de/

Our PERCI Article in IEEE Internet Computing

Base on work we did together with DoCoMo Eurolabs in Munich we have published the article “Perci: Pervasive Service Interaction with the Internet of Things” in the IEEE Internet Computing special issue on the Internet of Things edited by Frédéric Thiesse and Florian Michahelles.

The paper discusses the linking of digital resources to the real world. We investigated how to augment everyday objects with RFID and Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to enable simpler ways for users to interact with service. We aim at creating a digital identities of real world objects and by this integrating them into the Internet of Things and associating them with digital information and services. In our experiments we explore how these objects can facilitate access to digital resources and support interaction with them-for example, through mobile devices that feature technologies for discovering, capturing, and using information from tagged objects. See [1] for the full article.

[1] Gregor Broll, Massimo Paolucci, Matthias Wagner, Enrico Rukzio, Albrecht Schmidt, and Heinrich Hußmann. Perci: Pervasive Service Interaction with the Internet of Things. IEEE Internet Computing. November/December 2009 (vol. 13 no. 6). pp. 74-81
http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MIC.2009.120

Dagmar Kern presents a Automotive UI Design Space

Dagmar presents her work on a design space for automotive user interfaces [1]. The design space allows to categorize user interface components and elements with regard to interaction agent, position in the car, and type of interaction. The design space can be used to compare interfaces and as tool for assessing new opportunities for interaction.

The design space is based on an analysis of more than 700 pictures from IAA 2007. The photos (and soon photos from IAA 2009) are available at https://www.pcuie.uni-due.de/AUI/

[1] Kern, D. and Schmidt, A. 2009. Design space for driver-based automotive user interfaces. In Proceedings of the 1st international Conference on Automotive User interfaces and interactive Vehicular Applications (Essen, Germany, September 21 – 22, 2009). AutomotiveUI ’09. ACM, New York, NY, 3-10. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1620509.1620511

Our Paper and Posters at Mobile HCI 2009

Ali presented our joint work with Nokia Rearch and DoCoMo Eurolab in the paper on sharing emotions [1] (the acceptance rate was about 20%). The research is motivated by the question how we can make communication more emotional and how we can enable digital craft creating. The idea is to have a new communication medium were a communication item is hand crafted and can carry emotion. The questions were encouraging and we hope to continue to work on this topic.

In the poster session we had two contributions. Christian Winkler showed his project on Flash-light interaction [2]. The idea is simple: a camera in the environment or screen tracks the flash light of the phone – but it is very effective.

Ali presented a poster on a new poker table; this is a project some of our students build last term. An interesting aspect is that the playing cards are on the phone, the table is a multitouch table, and interaction is based on gestures (on the table as well as with the phone).

Have look at the table of contents of the entire conference to get an overview of current work in mobile HCI.

[1] Shirazi, A. S., Alt, F., Schmidt, A., Sarjanoja, A., Hynninen, L., Häkkilä, J., and Holleis, P. 2009. Emotion sharing via self-composed melodies on mobile phones. In Proceedings of the 11th international Conference on Human-Computer interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (Bonn, Germany, September 15 – 18, 2009). MobileHCI ’09. ACM, New York, NY, 1-4. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1613858.1613897

[2] Alireza Sahami Shirazi, Christian Winkler, Albrecht Schmidt: Flashlight Interaction: A Study on Mobile Phone Interaction Techniques with Large Displays (Poster). In: Adjunct Proceedings of the 11th international Conference on Human-Computer interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI’09) – Poster. Bonn, Germany 2009.

[3] Alireza Sahami Shirazi, Tanja Döring, Pouyan Parvahan, Bernd Ahrens, Albrecht Schmidt: Poker Surface: Combining a Multi-Touch Table and Mobile Phones in Interactive Card Games (Poster).In: Adjunct Proceedings of the 11th international Conference on Human-Computer interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI’09) – Poster. Bonn, Germany 2009.

Ethics as material for innovation – German HCI conference – Mensch und Computer

On Tuesday I was at the German human computer interaction conference called Mensch und Computer. The keynote by Alex Kirlik was on Ethical Design (slides from his talk) and he showed how ethics extends beyond action to technology leading to the central question: Why should we build certain systems? His examples and the following discussion made me wonder whether “Ethics become the next Material for innovation”. Taking his example of 9/11 where old technology (air planes) and a different view on ethics was used to strike this is in contrast to previous/typical warfare where new technologies (e.g. Gun powder, Nuclear bomb) have changed the way wars are conducted.

Considering ethics as material for innovation is obviously risky but looking at successful businesses of the last decade such a trend can be argued for (e.g. google collecting information about the user to provide new services, youtube allowing users to share content with limited insurance that it is not copyrighted). Would be interesting to have a workshop on this topic sometime in the future…

Grace who left our group after finishing her Master’s degree (to work in the real world outside of university 😉 presented her paper on how to aid communication in the car between driver and passenger [1].

In the afternoon the working group on tangible interaction in mixed realities (in German Be-greifbare Interaktion in Gemischten Wirklichkeiten) had a workshop and a meeting. We will host the next workshop of the working group in Essen early next year (probably late February or early March).

PS: the next Mensch & Computer Conference ist at the University of Duisburg-Essen 🙂

[1] Grace Tai, Dagmar Kern, Albrecht Schmidt. Bridging the Communication Gap: A Driver-Passenger Video Link. Mensch und Computer 2009. Berlin.

Interact 2009, Never been to Uppsala

Uppsala in Sweden is still one of the places I have never been to – and this year I missed another chance: Interact 2009

From our group Florian was there an presented his paper on a parasitic applications for the web [1]. We also published joined work with ETH Zürich on a comparison of product identification techniques on mobile devices [2]. Heiko Drewes has submitted his PhD thesis on Eye-tracking for interaction and one of the early projects he did was now published at Interact. The idea is that the mouse courser is positioned to the position where your eye-gaze is in the moment you touch the mouse [3]. Interact 2009 was quite competetive as it had an acceptance rate of 29% for research papers.

[1] Alt, F., Schmidt, A. Atterer, R., Holleis, P. 2009. Bringing Web 2.0 to the Old Web: A Platform for Parasitic Applications. Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2009. 12th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Uppsala, Sweden, August 24-28, 2009. Springer LNCS 5726. pp 405-418.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/vr175l725m7185m6/

[2] von Reischach, F., Michahelles, F.,Guinard, D.,Adelmann, R. Fleisch, E., Schmidt, A. 2009. An Evaluation of Product Identification Techniques for Mobile Phones. Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2009. 12th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Uppsala, Sweden, August 24-28, 2009. Springer LNCS 5726. pp 804-816
http://www.springerlink.com/content/740421515527855g/

[3] Drewes, H., Schmidt, A. 2009. The MAGIC Touch: Combining MAGIC-Pointing with a Touch-Sensitive Mouse. 2009. Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2009. 12th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Uppsala, Sweden, August 24-28, 2009. Part II. Springer LNCS 5727. pp 415-428
http://www.springerlink.com/content/m188522m6q5470l2/

Our Publications at Pervasive – Public Displays, Car Adverts, and Tactile Output for Navigation

Our group was involved in 3 papers that are published at Pervasive 2009 in Nara.

The first contribution is a study on public display that was presented by Jörg Müller from Münster. The paper explores display blindness that can be observed in the real world (similarly to banner blindness) and concludes that the extent to which people look at displays is very much correlated to the users expectation of the content of a display in a certain location [1].

The second short paper is a survey on car advertising and has been conducted in the context of the master thesis of Christoph Evers. The central question is about the design space of dynamic advertising on cars and how the users perceive such a technology [2].

Dagmar presented a paper on vibra-tactile output integrated in the steering wheel for navigation systems in cars. The studies explored how multi-modal presentation of information impact driving performance and what modalities are preferred by users. The general conclusion is that combining visual information with vibra-tactile output is the best option and that people prefer multi-modal output over a single modality [3].

[1] Jörg Müller, Dennis Wilmsmann, Juliane Exeler, Markus Buzeck, Albrecht Schmidt, Tim Jay, Antonio Krüger. Display Blindness: The Effect of Expectations on Attention towards Digital Signage. 7th International Conference on Pervasive Computing 2009. Nara, Japan. Springer LNCS 5538, pp 1-8.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/gk307213786207g2

[2] Florian Alt, Christoph Evers, Albrecht Schmidt. User’s view on Context-Aware Car Advertisement. 7th International Conference on Pervasive Computing 2009. Nara, Japan. Springer LNCS 5538, pp 9-16.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/81q8818683315523

[3] Dagmar Kern, Paul Marshall, Eva Hornecker, Yvonne Rogers, Albrecht Schmidt. Enhancing Navigation Information with tactile Output Embedded into the Steering Wheel. 7th International Conference on Pervasive Computing 2009. Nara, Japan. Springer LNCS 5538, pp 42-58.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/x13j7547p8303113

Workshop on Pervasive Computing in Advertising

We got a good set of submission for our workshop and had about 20 participants who joined us in Nara to discuss how pervasive computing will shape advertising in the future. The papers and a selection of talks is online on the workshop website: http://pervasiveadvertising.org

One question that was central to our discussion was: what is advertising and how is it different from information. It became quickly clear that there is a lot of information that has an influence on behavior and in particular shopping decisions and some of it is considered advertising but much is not. Hence it seems really interesting to imagine a world where advertising is replaced by information. One could image that replacing advertising by information (e.g. as it happens already in some domains such a hotel recommendations) would change the whole approach for creating product or providing services.

We have presented in the workshop our work on contextual mobile displays. The idea is that in the future we could have mobile displays (that replace current printed items, like bumper stickers, bags with printed logos, and t-shirts with prints) could become active and could act as contextual displays. Have a look at the paper for more details [1].

[1] Florian Alt, Albrecht Schmidt, Christoph Evers. Mobile Contextual display system. Pervasive Advertising Workshop at Pervasive 2009. (contact Florian Alt for a copy of the paper)

Ranking Conferences and Journals – A Down-Under perspective

As many of us I am skeptical of rankings (as long as I was not involved in making them 😉 Nevertheless sometimes they are interesting and helpful in assessing where to publish or what better not to read…

This morning we discussed where to publish some interesting work related to web technology (a follow-up of the UsaProx) and for the discussion such a list may have been helpful. 
A colleague from Munich sent me the link to an Australian conference ranking and obviously they also have ranked Journals, too. They use A+, A, B, L, and C as tiers.
… and as we always knew you cannot be wrong when publishing in Pervasive, Percom, Ubicomp, and CHI 🙂

Our Posters at Ubicomp 2008

In the poster session we showed 3 ideas of ongoing work from our lab and got some interesting comments and had good discussions. 
Ali presented initial findings from our experiments with multi-tactile output on a mobile phone [1]. He created a prototype with 6 vibration motors that can be individually controlled. In the studies we looked at what locations of the vibration elements and what patters can be spotted by the user. In short it seems that putting the vibration motors in the corners works best.

Florian showed ideas on counting page impressions on public advertising screens we sketched out with Antonio’s Group in Münster [2]. The basic idea is to use sensors to get an idea of the number of people passing by. To calibrate such a system (as the sensor observations are only incomplete) we propose to use existing ways of counting people (e.g. access gates to public transport) and extrapolate based on this information.

I presented Dagmar’s poster on initial work on providing information on the fuel economy in an engaging way to the user [3]. In a focus group study we observed that people are more aware of the price of a journey when using public transport than when using a car. For the car they know well the price per liter but have to calculate the price for a typical trip (e.g. to work). We suggest ideas where one can compete with others (e.g. from the social network) in saving energy on a specific route.

[1] Alireza Sahami Shirazi, Paul Holleis, Albrecht Schmidt. Rich Tactile Output for Notification on Mobile Phones (2-page paper, poster). Adjunct proceedings of Ubicomp 2008, Seoul, Korea, p26-27
[2] Albrecht Schmidt, Florian Alt, Paul Holleis, Jörg Müller, Antonio Krüger. Creating Log Files and Click Streams for Advertisements in Physical Space (2-page paper, poster). Adjunct proceedings of Ubicomp 2008, Seoul, Korea, p28-29
[3] Dagmar Kern, Paul Holleis, Albrecht Schmidt. Reducing Fuel Consumption by Providing In-situ Feedback on the Impact of Current Driving Actions (2-page paper, poster), Adjunct proceedings of Ubicomp 2008, Seoul, Korea, p18-19

Workshop on Automobile User Interfaces

For the second time we ran this year a workshop on automobile user interfaces and interactive applications in the car at the German HCI conference: http://automotive.ubisys.org/

In the first session we discussed the use of tactile output and haptics in automotive user interfaces. It appears that there is significant interest in this area at the moment. In particular using haptics as an additional modality creates a lot of opportunities for new interfaces. We had a short discussion about two directions in haptic output: naturalistic haptic output (e.g. line assist that feels like going over the side of the road) vs. generic haptic output (e.g. giving a vibration cue when to turn).

 I think the first domain could make an interesting project – how does it naturally feel to drive too fast, to turn the wrong way, to be too close to the car in front of you, etc…

In a further session we discussed framework and concepts for in-car user interfaces. The discussion on the use of context with the interface was very diverse. Some people argued it should be only used in non-critical/optional parts of the UI (e.g. entertainment) as one is not 100% sure if the recognized context is right. Others argue that context may provide a central advantage, especially in safety critical systems, as it gives the opportunity to react faster. 

In the end it comes always down to the question: to what extent do we want to have the human in the loop… But looking at Wolfgang’s overview slide it is impressive how much functionality depends already now on context…

In the third session we discussed tools and methods for developing and evaluating user interfaces in the car context. Dagmar presented our first version of CARS (a simple driving simulator for evaluation of UIs) and discussed findings from initial studies [1]. The simulator is based on the JMonkey Game engine and available open source on our website [2].

There were several interesting ideas on what topics are really hot in automotive UIs, ranging from interfaces for information gather in Car-2-Car / Car-2-Envrionment communication to micro-entertainment while driving.

[1] Dagmar Kern, Marco Müller, Stefan Schneegaß, Lukasz Wolejko-Wolejszo, Albrecht Schmidt. CARS – Configurable Automotive Research Simulator. Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Applications – AUIIA 08. Workshop at Mensch und Computer 2008 Lübeck 2008

[2] https://www.pcuie.uni-due.de/projectwiki/index.php/CARS

PS: In a taxi in Amsterdam the driver had a DVD running while driving – and I am sure this is not a form of entertainment that works well (it is neither fun to watch, nor is it save or legal).

We presented MirrorBoard at Mensch und Computer 2008 in Lübeck

Last winter term I was teaching a class on Unconventional User Interfaces at the University of Linz as part of the MSc in Pervasive Computing. As part of the exercises the students had to do a project and write a paper on the topic in a group. This required to do a full round in the development (from idea creation to study).

Florian König and his group had an exciting idea for a novel form of advertisement. The user is mirrored in the advert and becomes a part of it. They implemented an interactive poster for a travel agent (users become part of the holyday scene) and tested it in-situ. The paper was accepted at the German HCI conference (Mensch und Computer) and Florian presented it today very well [1].

In the questions there was much discussion about privacy and user acceptance. We discussed whether or not such a installation would be legal in Germany (people mentioned the Datenschutzgesetz §6).

[1] Johannes Schönböck, Florian König, Gabriele Kotsis, Dominik Gruber, Emre Zaim, Albrecht Schmidt. MirrorBoard – An Interactive Billboard. Mensch und Computer 2008. Lübeck. Oldenbourg Verlag, 2008, p 207-216.

Gregor showed the potential of multi-tag interaction in a Demo

Gregor, a colleague from LMU Munich, presented work that was done in the context of the PERCI project, which started while I was in Munich. The demo showed several applications (e.g. buying tickets) that exploit the potential of interaction with multiple NFC-Tags. The basic idea is to have several NFC-Tags included in a printed poster with which the user can interact using a phone. By touching the tags in a certain order the selection can be made. For more details see the paper accompanying the demo [1].

[1] Gregor Broll, Markus Haarländer, Massimo Paolucci, Matthias Wagner, Enrico Rukzio, Albrecht Schmidt. Collect & Drop: A Technique for Physical Mobile Interaction. Demo at Pervasive 2008. Sydney. http://www.pervasive2008.org/Papers/Demo/d1.pdf

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.

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: http://pervasivehome.pbwiki.com/

There are two interesting references that came up in discussions that I like to share. First the smart home at Duke University (http://www.smarthome.duke.edu/), 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 (http://www.nabaztag.com/) 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. http://murx.medien.ifi.lmu.de/~albrecht/pdf/pervasive-at-home-ws-proceedings-2008.pdf

Dagmar Kern presented two WIP at CHI

Dagmar presented two work in progress papers at the poster session at CHI. One paper is a master thesis of Hema [1] and assess how we can personalize environments with coding preference into the Bluetooth friendly name. Here we were particularly interested into the acceptance in Germany and India. The second paper [2] was joint work with Nigel’s group from Lancaster. Here we look at targeted poster advertising and how preference information should be stored.

[1] Mahato, H., Kern, D., Holleis, P., and Schmidt, A. 2008. Implicit personalization of public environments using bluetooth. In CHI ’08 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Florence, Italy, April 05 – 10, 2008). CHI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 3093-3098. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1358628.1358813

[2] 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

Wolfgang Spießl presented our CHI-Note

People take mobile devices into their cars and the amount of information people have on those devices is huge – just consider the number of songs on an MP3-Player, the address database in a navigation system and eventually the mobile web. In our work we looked at ways to design and implement search interfaces that are usable while driving [1]. For the paper we compared a categorized search and a free search. The was another paper in the session looking at practice of GPS use by Leshed et al. which was really interesting and can inform future navigation or context-aware information systems [2]. One interesting finding is that you loose AND at the same time create opportunities for applications and practices. In the questions she hinted some interesting observations on driving in familiar vs. driving in unfamiliar environments using GPS units. Based on these ideas there may be an interesting student project to do…

The interest in Wolfgang’s talk and into automotive user interfaces in general was unexpected high. As you see on the picture there was quite a set of people talking pictures and videos during the presentation.

[1] Graf, S., Spiessl, W., Schmidt, A., Winter, A., and Rigoll, G. 2008. In-car interaction using search-based user interfaces. 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, 1685-1688. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1357054.1357317

[2] Leshed, G., Velden, T., Rieger, O., Kot, B., and Sengers, P. 2008. In-car gps navigation: engagement with and disengagement from the environment. 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, 1675-1684. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1357054.1357316

Paul presented a paper on mobile phone interaction at TEI’08

Paul Holleis presented at TEI’08 the results of the research he did during his internship at Nokia Research [1]. Over the summer Paul spent 3 month with Jonna Häkkila’s group in Helsinki, where he worked on two projects: combing touch and key-presses and wearable controls.

Technically both projects used capacitative sensing to recognize touch. In his paper “Studying Applications for Touch-Enabled Mobile Phone Keypads” [1] they added to common mobile phone buttons touch sensing so that multiple levels of interaction can be measured, such as approaching, touching and pressing. The paper additionally discusses new interaction possibility that arise from this.

[1] 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.

CardioViz Demo at Ubicomp 2007

Alireza Sahami presented our CardiViz project at the demo session at Ubicomp. We were very happy that the project that was the result of our IPEC course on developing mobile applications was accepted as a demo.

For more details see:
Alireza Sahami Shirazi, Diana Cheng, Oliver Kroell, Dagmar Kern, Albrecht Schmidt. CardioViz: Contextual Capture and Visualization for Long-term ECG Data. Adjunct Proceedings of Ubicomp 2007 (Demo).

Jonna Häkkilä, Anind Dey, Kari Hjelt, and I organized organized the Ubiwell workshop (Interaction with Ubiquitous Wellness and Healthcare Applications) at this years pervasive. Alireza presented another paper on heartbeat monitoring there:
Florian Alt, Alireza Sahami Shirazi, Albrecht Schmidt. Monitoring Heartbeat per Day to Motivate Increasing Physical Activity. UbiWell workshop@Ubicomp 2007.

Our Papers at Interact 2007

Heiko Drewes and Richard Atterer, collegues from university of Munich, have travelled to Interact 2007. Their emails indicate that the conference is this year at a most interesting place. The conference is in Rio de Janeiro, directly at the Copacabana. The conference was highly competitive and we are happy to have two papers we can present there.

Heiko presents a paper that shows that eye gestures can be used to interact with a computer. In his experiments he shows that users can learn gesture with eyes (basically moving the eyes in a certain pattern, e.g. following the outline of a dialog box). The paper is part of his PhD research on eye-tracking for interaction. More details are in:

Heiko Drewes, Albrecht Schmidt. Interacting with the Computer using Gaze Gestures. Proceedings of INTERACT 2007.

Richard’s paper is on collaboration support with a proxy based approach. Using our previous work on the UsaProxy we extended the functionality to supported synchronous communication while using the Web:

Richard Atterer, Albrecht Schmidt, and Monika Wnuk. A Proxy-Based Infrastructure for Web Application Sharing and Remote Collaboration on Web Pages. Proceedings of INTERACT 2007.

Our Papers at Mensch and Computer

The last 3 days we were at the German HCI conference (Mensch und Computer) in Weimar. Overall the conference had a really interesting program (21 papers with an acceptance rate of 30%), presentations from usability professionals and a number of workshops.

Dagmar Kern presented our research on improving in-car telecommunication that was carried out together with people from BMW group in Munich. For details see:
Dagmar Kern, Albrecht Schmidt, Michael Pitz, Klaus Bengler. Status- und Kontextinformationen für die Telekommunikation im Auto. Mensch & Computer 2007. Weimar, September 2007.

Heiko Drewes showed the initial results of the studies on eye-gestures for interaction. In this paper we proof that it is possible and sensible to use gesture with the eyes to interact with a computer. For more see the picture:
Heiko Drewes, Heinrich Hußmann, Albrecht Schmidt. Blickgesten als Fernbedienung. Mensch & Computer 2007. Weimar, September 2007.

Automotive User Interface Workshop

At the German HCI conference (Mensch und Computer) I organized together with Paul Holleis and Klaus Bengler (BMW Group) a workshop on automotive user interfaces. We were surprised how many people work and research in this area in Germany and Austria.

The 9 talks showed a wide range of research results and questions ranging from activity recognition, search interfaces, cultural issues to research methods. Dagmar Kern presented our work on a new method for interviewing drivers at the gas station. Stefan Graf from BMW groups had an interesting demo on object oriented interaction and in-car text input.

In the final session we discussed on future challenges of automotive user interfaces and it seems that it is a great challenge as cars are very emotional products. One interesting point was that user interfaces may not be central for the decisions which car to buy – but if not satisfied it will influence the decisions not to buy such a car again.

Context and context-awareness (e.g. based on user activity, driving parameters and location) seems to provide a great opportunity for future interfaces and in-car applications. One nice example was presented by Susanne Boll from a joint project with VW (C3World, connected cars in a connected world).