Heiko Drewes defended his PhD – Congratulations! (No. 4)

Heiko worked the last 6 years towards his PhD. He did a lot of things during this time – and even though not everything was on his PhD topic – I think the time was well spent, e.g. some visually interesting things came out [1].

The core of his PhD was on eye gaze as an additional modality for human computer interaction and it is worthwhile to read the thesis (which will be available in a few weeks) – till than you can have a look at the following papers. [2] describes a system that positions the mouse pointer on touching the mouse to the location on the screen where look at; [3] introduces the concept of gaze gestures – gestures done with the eyes. There is an interesting alt.chi paper coming on Fitts’ law (don’t start Heiko on this ;-).

In the evening Raphael showed me his interactive surface prototype [4] – it is really big :-). He is also co-organizing a course on Sketching with Hardware.

[1] Heiko Drewes. Yara – Yet Another Random Art.

[2] Drewes, H. and Schmidt, A. 2009. The MAGIC Touch: Combining MAGIC-Pointing with a Touch-Sensitive Mouse. In Proceedings of the 12th IFIP TC 13 international Conference on Human-Computer interaction: Part II (Uppsala, Sweden, August 24 – 28, 2009). Lecture Notes In Computer Science, vol. 5727. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 415-428. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-03658-3_46

[3] Heiko Drewes, Albrecht Schmidt. 2007. Interacting with the Computer using Gaze Gestures. In Proceedings of the 11th IFIP TC13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, INTERACT 2007, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 2007, ISBN 978-3-540-74794-9, DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-74800-7_43

[4] Raphael Wimmer, Florian Schulz, Fabian Hennecke, Sebastian Boring, Heinrich Hussmann. Curve: Blending Horizontal and Vertical Interactive Surfaces. Adjunct Proceedings of the 4th IEEE Workshop on Tabletops and Interactive Surfaces (IEEE Tabletop 2009), Banff, Canada, Nov. 2009

Students generate interesting ideas, links to photos

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 a new level. I am really thrilled and I think we should really look how to setup a larger project on this topic.

We worked hard 🙂 but in the time between we enjoyed our trip – here are the photos I took (Bahai Garden, climbing with Keith and Antonio, the trip to Jerusalem, School and Beach in Haifa).

[1] Florian Alt, Albrecht Schmidt, Christoph Evers: Mobile Contextual Displays. In: Pervasive Advertising Workshop @ Pervasive 2009. Nara, Japan 2009.

Bastian Pfleging joined the team (some weeks ago :-)

Bastian Pfleging joined us some weeks ago – his first day at work was at TEI’09 in Cambridge. We he came back he was so well integrted in the team that I forgot to write a blog entry. In fact he was already at a workshop with us some weeks ago – remember the photo?

Bastian studied computer science at TU Dortmund and his final project was on computer vision based interaction in smart environments in the Group of Gernot A. Fink.

No 3 ;-) Paul defends his PhD – Congratulations!

Paul Holleis defended today his PhD thesis on “Integrating Usability Models into Pervasive Application Development” in Munich – My No.3. He worked together with Matthias on the DFG project “Embedded Interaction”. Paul is now with Docomo Eurolabs in Munich.

The set of publication Paul produced is impressive – you probably don’t have time to read all of them 😉 but at least take a look at the following ones: an extension to KLM for mobile phones [1], an integrated development environment that includes usability models [2], and a explorative study in wearable computing [3].

In Germany we have a tradition to make a hat for the candidate. Paul’s hat has items on it that insiders can interpret, including a world map with bikes, miniature TEI’07 proceedings, Birkenstock shoes, a key with a label “Amsterdam”, a display, a phone, a yoyo, a control unit for vibration motors, 4 flags of town, and some context-aware plug-and-play hardware (and obviously batteries).
[1] Holleis, P., Otto, F., Hussmann, H., and Schmidt, A. 2007. Keystroke-level model for advanced mobile phone interaction. InProceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, California, USA, April 28 – May 03, 2007). CHI ’07. ACM, New York, NY, 1505-1514. DOI=http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1240624.1240851
[2] P. Holleis, A. Schmidt: MakeIt: Integrate User Interaction Times in the Design Process of Mobile Applications. 6th International Conference on Pervasive Computing (Pervasive’08), Sydney, Australia, May 2008
[3] Holleis, P., Schmidt, A., Paasovaara, S., Puikkonen, A., and Häkkilä, J. 2008. Evaluating capacitive touch input on clothes. InProceedings 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, 81-90. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1409240.1409250

Richard Atterer defended his PhD-thesis

At LMU in Munich Richard Atterer defended his PhD thesis on Usability Tool Support for Model-Based Web Development. The external examiner was Prof. Martin Gaedke– it was great meeting Martin again, we shared an office some years back at TecO, University of Karlsruhe. While I was with LMU I worked with Richard on a number of interesting topics and I learned to value his technical skills and insightful reflection – hope he stays in academia 😉 
Our experiments with remote usability assessment and effectively fine-grain user tracking on web pages [1] created a number of ideas for follow-up projects. The overall concept is really simple yet powerful: people use a proxy server (willingly or transparent) and by these means Javascript code is included in the html-source of arbitrary web pages to add new functionality [2]. Florian Alt extended this concept to an annotation system and currently we look into more general implication of this approach.
While writing his theses Richard countered our routine question “how is progress?”  with a dynamically generated graph on his webpage. Each time he checked his document in SVN the graph was updated with the current number of words and pages … but we still kept asking 😉 
 [1] Atterer, R. and Schmidt, A. 2007. Tracking the interaction of users with AJAX applications for usability testing. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, California, USA, April 28 ? May 03, 2007). CHI ’07. ACM, New York, NY, 1347?1350. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1240624.1240828
[2] Atterer, R., Wnuk, M., and Schmidt, A. 2006. Knowing the user’s every move: user activity tracking for website usability evaluation and implicit interaction. In Proceedings of the 15th international Conference on World Wide Web (Edinburgh, Scotland, May 23 ? 26, 2006). WWW ’06. ACM, New York, NY, 203?212. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1135777.1135811 

Matthias Kranz defended his PhD

Today Matthias Kranz defended his PhD thesis „Engineering Perceptive User Interfaces“ successfully at the University of Munich! Congratulations… and remember “Training to become a Jedi is not an easy challenge. And even if you succeed, it’s a hard life.” (Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)

After Enrico Rukzio Matthias is the second of my PhD students who worked with me in Munich to finish. He is now with the German Aerospace center (DLR).
Matthias worked on the DFG project “Embedded Interaction” and has created and published an impressive set of prototypes and studies in pervasive computing over the last 4 years. See his homepage for details. If you only have time to read 2 pages – here is my suggestion: Context-aware kitchen utilities [1].
The personalized doctoral hat is a German tradition –and Matthias got a fully functional prototype of a perceptive doctoral hat (following the modification and restriction approach suggested in his thesis, but created without end-user involvement to keep the surprise 😉

Insider hint: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microfilm – just don’t!

[1] Kranz, M., Schmidt, A., Maldonado, A., Rusu, R. B., Beetz, M., Hörnler, B., and Rigoll, G. 2007. Context-aware kitchen utilities. In Proceedings of the 1st international Conference on Tangible and Embedded interaction (Baton Rouge, Louisiana, February 15 – 17, 2007). TEI ’07. ACM, New York, NY, 213-214. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1226969.1227013

Trip to North Korea

[see the whole set of photos from tour to North Korea]

From Gwangju we took the bus shortly after midnight to go for a trip to North Korea. The students did a great job in organizing ISUVR and the trip. It was great to have again some time to talk to Yoosoo Oh, who was a visiting researcher in Munich in our group.

When entering North Korea there are many rules, including that you are not allowed to take cameras with tele-lenses over 160mm (so I had to take only the 50mm lens) and you must not bring mobile phones and mp3 players with you. Currently cameras, phones and MP3 players are visible with the human eye and to detect in an x-ray. But it does not take much imagination to see in a few years extremely small devices that are close to impossible to spot. I wonder how this will change such security precautions and whether or not I will in 10 years still possible to isolate a country from access to information. I doubt it…

The sightseeing was magnificent – see the photos of the tour for yourself. We went onto the Kaesong tour (see http://www.ikaesong.com/ – in Korea only) It is hard to tell how much of the real North Korea we really saw. And the photos only reflect a positive selection of motives (leaving out soldiers, people in town, ordinary buildings, etc. as it is explicitly forbidden to take photos of those). I was really surprise when leaving the country they check ALL the pictures you took (in my case it took a little longer as it was 350 photos).

The towns and villages are completely different from what I have seen so far. No cars (besides police/emergency services/army/tourist busses) – but many people in the street walking or cycling. There were some buses in a yard but I have not seen public transport in operation. It seemed the convoy of 14 tourist buses is an attraction to the local people…

I have learned that the first metal movable type is from Korea – about 200 years before Gutenberg. Such a metal type is exhibited in North Korea and in the display is a magnifying glass in front of the letter – pretty hard to take a picture of…

Ali joined our group

Last month Aliresa Sahami finished his master thesis on multi-tactile interaction at BIT Bonn and joined our group in Essen. Ali worked for me a student resesearch assistant at Fraunhofer IAIS. During his studies in Bonn we published an interesting workshop paper on mobile health [1] and gave a related demo at Ubicomp [2].

[1] Alt, F., Sahami Shirazi, A., Schmidt, A. Monitoring Heartbeat per Day to Motivate Increasing Physical Activity. Ubiwell workshop at Ubicomp 2007.

[2] Sahami Shirazi, A.; Cheng, D.; Kroell, O.; Kern, D.; Schmidt, A.: CardioViz: Contextual Capture and Visualization for Long-term ECG Data. In: Adjunct Proceedings of Ubicomp 2007.

Why are not more people studying computer science?

Wherever I meet with companies at the moment one of the first questions is “do you have good students – we need people…”. It seems good computer science skills are useful 😉 However to me it is not clear why so few people go into this field. Here is my favorite short list what you should have to study CS: (1) you are creative; (2) you are communicative; (3) you solve problems systematically; (4) you have an ability to generalize.

Booting a start-up to teach?

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 me in the beginning of June – we look for about 20 people with IT and business background that like to take a risk!