hciLab

Human-Computer-Interaction

teaching

Miriam and the UNH IRES research interns from the HCI lab went to Saarbrüken to visit the Saarbrüken University HCI group. The first lab visited was the DFKI Lab (or the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence) where they met researcher Dr. Sven Gehring to get a tour. The tour exhibited demonstrations such as the possible future technology of grocery stores, collaborative reading environment on a single screen, augmented system to develop floor plans and similar layouts, and a viable poster voting system. In addition to the demos they were talked through some posters displayed on the various other projects… Continue reading

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

I am very much in favor of teaching children more than one number system (e.g. binary additional to the decimal system). To me this gives children a better understanding of the nature of numbers – I know that this seems not to be widely shared 😉

Now I found a further reason why it essential to know binary codes – How else would you decode this best before date on this chocolate bar if you would not know it!

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… Continue reading

Over the last three years I have been regularly to Dublin to act as external examiner for the Ubicomp MSc course. For me this was a good experience to see how serious The School of Computing at Trinity College takes external quality control and how well processes are managed. And besides the administrative part I saw a great many interesting MSc dissertations over the years. Even though the term has come to an end I hope to travel to Dublin in the future too – perhaps on Holiday to see more of the city (which I did not really manage… Continue reading

In the final part of the summer school the students worked in groups to create new ideas for displays and their use. We had 5 groups working hard – all creating amazing results for such a short time. Sometimes I wonder how we could better utilize this design exercise as the results were really exciting.

On group looked into the concept of mobile and contextual displays on garments – the idea T-SHARE assesses potential applications, when having networked displays included in T-Shirts (see the group presentation for details). This moves an idea with have investigated over the last year to… Continue reading

Tsvi Kuflik and Antonio Krüger organize from August 30th – September 3rd a German-Israeli Minerva School for Ubiquitous Display Environments: Intelligent Group Interaction, Foundations and Implementation of Pervasive Multimodal Interfaces. I will teach a session on: “Embedded interaction with display environments” and here is the list of recommended readings for the participants – if you are short on time only read the first one and glance over the other two.

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,… Continue reading

Elektor magazine features in the current issue a DIY Segway called Elektor Wheelie. The system is build around a ATMEGA32 and has obviously a lot of mechanics. For sensing an ADXL320 (acceleration sensor) and an IDG-300 (gyro) are used. Looks like a fun project – and you have full access to the software (not sure what you really would program differently, perhaps one can tune it to get faster 😉

Perhaps it could be a platform to motive embedded programming – with clear real-time constraints, as it hurts if you fall off… Next term we are teaching digital system… Continue reading

Petra is teaching at the primary school in Satteldorf. As there is no University close by we decided to have a university afternoon at school. The idea behind this (in German Kinderuniversität) is to get young children excited for scientific topics and show that research is fun. The lecture should make them curious and motivate them to ask fundamental questions.

My lecture was on principles and technologies for communication (in German) and we looked fundamentally at what information is, how it relates to probabilities, how to encode information, and what devices people used and use for communication. For me this… Continue reading

Currently we have an assignment in our Pervasive Computing class that asks students to design and develop a system where actions are associated with artifacts. Technically students should develop a web based solution using RFID. Apropos RFID, … if you look for a good introduction on RFID read Roy Want’s IEEE Pervasive Magazin paper [1].

We use the hardware from http://nabaztag.com/ (Ztamp:s and Mir:ror) as the focus is on the concept and application and not on the underlying technology. To ease development Florian and Ali have developed a little system that offers WebCallBacks (students can register a URL and that… Continue reading

The ubicomp spring school in Nottingham had an interesting set of lectures and practical sessions, including a talk by Turing Award winner Robin Milner on a theoretical approach to ubicomp. When I arrived on Tuesday I had the chance to see Chris Baber‘s tutorial on wearable computing. He provided really good examples of wearable computing and its distinct qualities (also in relation to wearable use of mobile phones). One example that captures a lot about wearable computing is an adaptive bra. The bra one example of a class of interesting future garments. The basic idea is that these… Continue reading

Together with Rene Mayrhofer and Alexander De Luca I organized a technical training at the European Patent Office in Munich. In the lectures we made the attempt to give a broad overview of recent advanced in this domain – and preparing such a day one realizes how much there is to it…. We covered the following topic:
  • Merging the physical and digital (e.g. sentient computing and dual reality [1])
  • Interlinking the real world and the virtual world (e.g. Internet of things)
  • Interacting with your body (e.g. implants for interaction, brain computer interaction, eye gaze interaction)
  • Interaction beyond the desktop, in… Continue reading

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… Continue reading

During the workshop last week in Potsdam we got to see demos from students of Design of Physical and Virtual Interfaces class taught by Reto Wettach and JennyLC Chowdhury. The students had to design a working prototype of an interactive system. As base technology most of them use the Arduino Board with some custom made extensions. For a set of pictures see my photo gallery and the photos on flickr. It would need pages to describe all of the projects so I picked few…

The project “Navel” (by Juan Avellanosa, Florian Schulz and Michael Härtel) is a belt… Continue reading

This morning I met with Claudius Lazzeroni, a colleague from Folkwang Hochschule (they were part of our University till two years ago).   They have different study programs in design and art related subjects. He showed me some projects (http://www.shapingthings.net/ – in German but lots of pictures that give you the idea). Many of the ideas and prototypes related to our work and I hope we get some joint projects going. I think it could be really exciting to have projects with design and computer science students – looking forward to this! When I was in the UK… Continue reading
Instead of covering the history of calculating machines in the DSD lecture, we took the train and went to the Arithmeum in Bonn to the see the artefacts live and to play with some of them. We started with early means for counting and record keeping. The tokens and early writings did not use numbers as abstract concepts, rather as representatives of concrete objects – this is very inspiring, especially from a tangible interaction point of view. The knots, as used in south America, show impressively how the tools for calculation have to fit the context people live in. Interestingly… Continue reading
This term we teach digital system design and besides the essential (gates, flip-flops, 2-complements, alu, data path, etc) we decided to include some practical parts. In the first part we introduced Verilog. We did the exercises with Icarus Verilog (free, text-based verilog) and there are more powerful tools available, e.g. ISE WebPACK.

In the second part we have practical exercises in assembly language using the Ez430-F2013 development kit. We borrowed one kit to each student (just in case someone is bored over Christmas) and the current task is to complete and assembly program (incomplete sample) that the… Continue reading
In our user interface engineering class one of the tasks in the exercise is to create a concept design for providing information from the car on the mobile phone (e.g. millage, amount a fuel in the car, next service date, alram status, etc). The first part is to assess what information could be made accessible and what value it would create for the user.  Today I came across a device (Tyredog TD-1000A) that is concerned with a one sub-part of this scenario: checking your pressure in the tires of the car. It is a simple sensor… Continue reading
Today I was teaching my class on user interface engineering and we covered a selected history of HCI and looked at the same time at a potential future. We discussed how user interface evolved and where UI revolutions have happed. To my question “What is the ultimate user interface?” I got three very interesting answers (1) a keyboard, (2) mind reading, and (3) a system that anticipates what I want.  With regard to history in HCI one of my favorite texts is the PhD dissertation of Ivan Sutherland [1]. The work described was done in 1960-1963 when the idea… Continue reading
In our master course we offer a project on pervasive advertisement (it is an interdisciplinary course project from computer science and marketing) where we look at future forms of advertisement that become possible by new technologies. The students presented a set of really exciting ideas – an I would expect (if they get some of their ideas implemented) that advertising will be more entertaining and fun in the future. For some of the ideas we discussed potential privacy issues and I promised to provide later the reference to the German privacy law that restricts the use of optical/camera devices in… Continue reading

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… Continue reading

Wolfgang just sent me another picture (taken by a colleague of him) with more information in the head-up display. It shows a speed of 180 km/h and I wonder who took the picture. Usually only the driver can see such a display 😉

For assistance, information and entertainment systems in cars (an I assume we could consider taking photos an entertainment task) there are guidelines [1, 2, 3] – an overview presentation in German can be found in [4]. Students in the Pervasive Computing class have to look at them and design a new information/assistance system that is context aware… Continue reading

Today I was at CDTM in Munich (http://www.cdtm.de/) to give a lecture to introduce Pervasive Computing. It was a great pleasure that I was invited again after last year’s visit. We discussed no less than how new computing technologies are going to change our lives and how we as developers are going to shape parts of the future. As everyone is aware there are significant challenges ahead – one is personal travel and I invited students to join our summer factory (basically setting up a company / team to create a news mobility platform). If you are interested,… Continue reading

We made our plans for setting up a company for creating a unique learning experience more specific. Uwe Bayer from Fraunhofer IAIS used in our discussion the phrase “don’t play to run company – really run a company” – which I think describes the essences of we would like to achieve. We plan to have some detailed information (and the recruitment process) out by the end of the month. If you are a student close to finishing your studies AND you have academic skills in your subject AND you have the drive to create a start-up THEN you should contact… Continue reading

Yesterday evening we organized a teacher training session on JAVA programming for mobile phone. We introduced them to the basics of Java ME and gave a tutorial on using Netbeans with mobility pack for creating applications. One idea for using the phone as an application platform is to increase motivation.

In some of the discussions we came across the issue of “how to teach programming” in school. I personally thing that explaining and learning the basic concepts of statement, variable, if-then, and loop is best done with not much around… I showed some of the activities on the OLPC for… Continue reading

Running successful (large scale) projects in computer science is a great challenge – very often projects are delayed and run over budget. As we aim to provide our students with all it takes to be successful in the job we have a mandatory course on project management for IT project in the BSc Systems Engineering curriculum.

This afternoon we visited sd&m (part of Capgemini) in Düsseldorf to talk about the course structure and content. We are delighted that Gebhard Ritter and Oliver Stoll, both having long term experience in managing large projects, teach the course this term again. Having been… Continue reading

Running successful (large scale) projects in computer science is a great challenge – very often projects are delayed and run over budget. As we aim to provide our students with all it takes to be successful in the job we have a mandatory course on project management for IT project in the BSc Systems Engineering curriculum.

This afternoon we visited sd&m (part of Capgemini) in Düsseldorf to talk about the course structure and content. We are delighted that Gebhard Ritter and Oliver Stoll, both having long term experience in managing large projects, teach the course this term again. Having been… Continue reading

We have tried several of the applications (called activities) and the basic functions seem OK. Vivien liked it and was quite curious to explore it further. The photos you can take with the built-in camera are similar in quality to a good web cam.

After discussing the Microsoft Vista interface guide in the last week of our course on User Interface Engineering it was really interesting to see the OLPC/Sugar user interface guidelines. Especially the shift away from save/open to keep and the journal are enormous changes (and hence probably quite hard for people who have used computers –… Continue reading

No we had the last lectures of the course User Interface Engineering for this term. We will have oral exams stating later this month. The whole set of slides I used over the term (a bit more than 800) are available on our website. This year we have the first time made a set of questions to assist revising the material. In total we have about 200 questions – and looking over the questions it is really interesting that user interface design is not as trivial as one thinks (after teaching it for several years 😉