Affectionate Computing

Thecla Schiphorst introduced us in her talk “PillowTalk: Can We Afford Intimacy? to the concept of Affectionate-Computing.
The central question is really how can we create intimacy in communication an interaction with and through technology? The prototype showed networked soft objects, that include sensors that recognize tactile qualities and gesture interaction. There are more details in her paper published at TEI’07.

Keynote at TEI’07 by Tom Rodden

Tom presented (in socks) a very inspiring keynote at TEI’07. He questioned if the notion of seamless integration of technology based on several examples from the Equator Project (www.equator.ac.uk).

A central lesson from his talk for me is to look more closely how to design interactive systems so that people can exploit the technical weakness of system creatively. We will always have to deal with sensors systems, context-recognition, and learning algorithms that are not 100% perfect. I find it interesting to see this rather as a resource for design than a problem. The experience Tom reported from CYSMN (http://www.equator.ac.uk/index.php/articles/618) show nicely how people make use of GPS inaccuracies in a game.

A further point to keep in mind is that when triggering events based on context you may get boundary effects that can break the user experience. Tom gave an example of children finding virtual animals based on location. The effect was that they stopped when the saw an animal on their device – and this was at the boundary of the trigger area. This led to cases where the animal appeared and disappeared on the device and the children were puzzled about this effect. Hence one should really be careful how to put triggers – and I would expect that this is generally applicable to context-awareness not just to location-aware application.

UbiLog’07

We got the message that our workshop proposal at the German Informatik2007 Conference is accepted. Together with colleagues from the University of Bonn and from the AutoID-Labs in Zurich I will organize a workshop on context-aware and ubiquitous computing applications in logistics. With the workshop we hope to get together interesting people who look into smart transport and logistics solutions.

The Workshop webpage is online at: ubilog.iai.uni-bonn.de and papers are due at 29.04.07. I am really looking forward to seeing the submissions.

Nigel visiting, discussion on transportation

Nigel Davies from Lancaster University in the UK is visiting our group at Fraunhofer and b-it. It was really good to have some time – basically most of the day – to discuss interesting research questions and new direction in pervasive computing.

We discovered that we recently have both looked more into issues related to transport and tracking. I learned about possibilities for developing apps for the TomTom navigation system(which is running linux) and the trakm8 in-car-unit. We had a look at Michael Müller’s (master student I supervise in Munich) video of the smart transport container (more details on this at CeBIT).

Both of us are really interested how personal transportation is going to change and how computer science will make its contributions to that? The discussion on motives and motivations for choosing a particular mode of transport, what are the perceived values of certain transport modalities, and how can we influence them made me really think of implications of pervasive computing that are to come.

It is remarkable that as “cars” become more programmable interesting research projects start at many different institutions looking into automotive computing on an application level with an aim for new user experience and additional services/functionalities.

Web 2.0 for any page and site in the WWW

Florian Alt started his master thesis with us. He use the UsaProy (http://fnuked.de/usaproxy/) – a concept and software we (mainly Richard Atterer and Monika Wnuk) developed previously at LMU Munich – to create a new system that allows the annotation of web pages.

We think it is an interesting challenges to create a system that allows users to annotate any web page and make these annotations available to others.

With the concept we envision to bring Web 2.0 to any page and site in the WWW. Interactivity and community features are provided independently of the content provider and authors.

Tangible and Embedded Interaction 2007

Just a little more than week before the Tangible and Embedded Interaction 2007 starts in Baton Rouge (http://www.tei-conf.org/).

The program looks really exciting – a mixture of computer science, HCI, design, and art. I would expect that the conference sparks a lot of new ideas. Brygg Ullmer did the cover for the proceedings and it looks really cool.

Having seen the program of TEI’07 we have decided to put in a proposal to run the conference next year in Bonn. Hope we get it…