Technology Review with a Focus on User Interfaces

The February 2009 edition of technology review (German version) has its focus on new user interfaces and titles “Streicheln erwünscht” (translates to stroking/caressing/fondling welcome). It has a set of articles talking about new way of interacting multimodality, including tangible user interfaces and tactile communication. In the article “Feel me, touch me” by Gordon Bolduan on page 74 a photo of Dagmar’s prototype of tactile steering wheel is depicted. The full paper on the study will be published at Pervasive in May 2009 (so you have to be patient to get the details – or come and visit our lab 😉

In the blog entry of technology review  introducing the current issue there is a nice anecdote mentioned about a literature search on haptic/tactile remote communication (while I was still in Munich) – the final version of the seminar paper (now not X-rated anymore) is “Neue Formen der entfernten Kommunikation” by Martin Schrittenloher. He continued in his MSc Project on the topic and worked with Morten Fjeld  on sliders that give remote feedback, see [1].

Another topic closely related is to new forms of communication are exertion interfaces (we looked at the 2002/2003 work Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller in the UIE lecture yesterday – even with the Nintendo Wii around the work is highly inspiring and impressive, see [2]). The communication example given in Breakout for Two is showing the potential of including the whole body in communication tasks. Watching the video  is really to recommend 🙂
[1] Jenaro, J., Shahrokni, A., Schrittenloher, and M., Fjeld, M. 2007. One-Dimensional Force Feedback Slider: Digital platform. In Proc. Workshop at the IEEE Virtual Reality 2007 Conference: Mixed Reality User Interfaces: Specification, Authoring, Adaptation (MRUI07), 47-51
[2] Mueller, F., Agamanolis, S., and Picard, R. 2003. Exertion interfaces: sports over a distance for social bonding and fun. InProceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA, April 05 – 10, 2003). CHI ’03. ACM, New York, NY, 561-568. DOI=  

Tactile interfaces, Visit from Gordon Bolduan

This afternoon Gordon Bolduan from Technology Review was visiting the lab. We talked about haptic and tactile interfaces and showed some demos (e.g. navigation with tactile cues). 
When preparing for the visit I looked for some good examples of tactile interaction – and interestingly there is more and more work out there that has the potential to change future interfaces and means of communication. 
Recent work on connecting people [1] and [2] at the boundary between computing and design shows new options for emotional communication. 

We used in our work multiple vibration motors and explored the potential for mobile devices [3]. What to use for tactile interaction beyond vibration is one obvious question, and I find the paper by Kevin Li [4] a good starting point to get some more ideas.
When talking about human computer interaction that includes stroking, tapping and rubbing an association to erotic and sexual interactions seem obvious; and there is more to that if you are curious just search for teledildonics and you will find interesting commercial products as well as a lot of DIY ideas.
[1] Eichhorn, E., Wettach, R., and Hornecker, E. 2008. A stroking device for spatially separated couples. In Proceedings of the 10th international Conference on Human Computer interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 02 – 05, 2008). MobileHCI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 303-306. DOI= 
[2] Werner, J., Wettach, R., and Hornecker, E. 2008. United-pulse: feeling your partner’s pulse. In Proceedings of the 10th international Conference on Human Computer interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 02 – 05, 2008). MobileHCI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 535-538. DOI= 
[3] Alireza Sahami, Paul Holleis, Albrecht Schmidt, Jonna Häkkilä: Rich Tactile Output on Mobile Devices. European Conference on Ambient Intelligence (Ami’08). Springer LNCS Nürnberg 2008, S. 210-221. DOI=
[4] Li, K. A., Baudisch, P., Griswold, W. G., and Hollan, J. D. 2008. Tapping and rubbing: exploring new dimensions of tactile feedback with voice coil motors. In Proceedings of the 21st Annual ACM Symposium on User interface Software and Technology (Monterey, CA, USA, October 19 – 22, 2008). UIST ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 181-190. DOI=

Doctoral colloquium at Ubicomp 2008

In the doctoral colloquium at Ubicomp 2008 we saw an interesting mix of topics including work on context-awareness, interaction in smart space, home infrastructures and urban environments. Overall there is again the observation that in ubicomp topics are very broad (at least in the beginning) and that it is not easy to narrow it down.

As Ali works on tactile feedback it was very interesting to see the presentation of Kevin Li on eyes-free interaction. He has an upcoming paper at UIST 2008 which is worthwhile to check out [1]. It was interesting some of the questions that relate to “easily learnable” or “intuitive” related to the discussion we had 2 weeks ago at the automotive UI workshop – what are tactile stimuli that are natural and we associate meaning with them without explanations or learning?
There are many more papers to read if you are interested in tactile communication and output, here are two suggestions [2] and [3].
[1]. Li, K. A., Baudisch, P., Griswold, W.G., Hollan, J.D. Tapping and rubbing: exploring new dimensions of tactile feedback with voice coil motors. To appear in Proc. UIST’08.

[2] Chang, A. and O’Modhrain, S., Jacob, R., Gunther, E., and Ishii, H. ComTouch: design of a vibrotactile communication device. Proc. Of DIS’02, pp. 312-320.

[3] Malcolm Hall, Eve Hoggan, Stephen A. Brewster: T-Bars: towards tactile user interfaces for mobile touchscreens. Mobile HCI 2008: 411-414

PS: Just one remark on the term “framework” (a favorite word to use in dissertation and paper titles) – it is not a clear term and expectations are very different, hence it make sense to think twice before using it 😉

MobileHCI 2008 Tutorial

The conference on mobile human computer interaction (MobileHCI 2008) started today in Amsterdam with the tutorial and workshop day.

I am chairing the tutorials and we tried a new approach for the tutorial, having 6 sessions/chapters that all together make up an introduction to mobile HCI. After 10 years of mobile HCI it seems important to help new members of the community to quickly learn about the field. The presentations were given by experts in the field that had 1 hour each for their topics. We had unexpected high attendence (the room with 100 seats was nearly always full). Have a look at the slides:

Text input for mobile devices by Scott MacKenzie
Scott gave an overview of different input means (e.g. key-based, stylus, predictive, virtual keyboard), parameters relevant for designing and assessing mobile text input (e.g., writing speed, cognitive load) and issues related to the context of use (e.g., walking/standing).

Mobile GUIs and Mobile Visualization by Patrick Baudisch

Patrick introduced input and output options for mobile devices. He will talk about the design process, prototyping and assessment of user interfaces, trade-offs related to the design of mobile GUIs and different possible interaction styles.

Understanding Mobile User Experience by Mirjana Spasojevic
Mirjana discussed different means for studying mobile user needs and evaluating the user experience. This includes explorative studies and formal evaluations (in the lab vs. in the field), including longitudinal pilot deployments. The lecture discusses traditional HCI methods of user research and how they need to be adapted for different mobile contexts and products.

Context-Aware Communication and Interaction by Albrecht Schmidt
Albrecht gave an overview of work in context-awareness and activity recognition that is related to mobile HCI. He discussed how sharing of context in communication applications can improve the user experience. The lecture explained how perception and sensing can be used to acquire context and activity information and show examples how such information can be exploited.

Haptics, audio output and sensor input in mobile HCI by Stephen Brewster
Stephen discussed the design space for haptics, audio output as well as sensor and gesture input in mobile HCI. Furthermore he assessed resulting interaction methods and implications for the interactive experience.

Camera-based interaction and interaction with public displays by Michael Rohs
Michael introduced camera based interaction with mobile devices; this included a assessment of optical markers, 2D-barcodes and optical flow as well as techniques related to augmented reality. In this context he addressed interaction with public displays, too.

You can also download the complete tutorial including all 6 chapters in a single PDF file (16MB).

Session on Tactile UIs

Tampere University presented a study where a rotation element is used to create tactile output and the assessed emotional perception of the stimuli ( [1]). One application scenario is to use haptics feedback to create applications that allow us to “be in touch”. From Steven Brewsters group a project was presented that looks into how the performance of a touchscreen keyboard can be enhanced by tactile feedback [2]. In one condition they use two actuators. Both papers are interesting and provide insight for two of our current projects on multi-tactile output.

[1] Salminen, K., Surakka, V., Lylykangas, J., Raisamo, J., Saarinen, R., Raisamo, R., Rantala, J., and Evreinov, G. 2008. Emotional and behavioral responses to haptic stimulation. 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, 1555-1562. DOI=

Hoggan, E., Brewster, S. A., and Johnston, J. 2008. Investigating the effectiveness of tactile feedback for mobile touchscreens. 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, 1573-1582. DOI=