Visitor from Finland

Jonna Häkkilä, a principle scientist from Nokia Research Center in Helsinki/Oulu, is visiting us for two days. As you can see on the pictures she enjoyed arguing with our students. She also gave a talk on her recent work. We talked a lot about the format of the course and the results are really interesting. I think getting 10 students for 4 weeks into one room (every day from 9-5) makes a lot of sense – it is amazing how quick students learn is such a setting.

Jonna was a co-author of a paper on tactile output at TEI’07 („Tap Input as an Embedded Interaction Method for Mobile Devices“). We discussed some opportunities for a follow-up project here in Bonn. Perhaps we co-supervise a master student on the topic.

Paul Holleis from my group (he is still in Munich) is visiting, too. While walking along river Rhine we got into an interesting discussion on wearable computing. Cloth cover often the whole body – would they not be great for input?

Broadcasting your Heart Beat

This morning the first 3 students completed the exercise part of our lab class. For the first team the basics are done and we start with the exciting part 😉

We have different sensors that can be connected via Bluetooth to the phone (e.g. heart rate, pulse oximeter, GPS) and the task for the project is to invent a new application that makes use of sensors and creates a new user experience.

In the brainstorming session some were tearing out their hair – but it was rewarding. Some of the ideas that came out are really novel – and perhaps a bit to crazy to implement them. One example of such an idea is to create a web radio station that broadcasts the live heart beat of celebrities as an audio stream (not sure if this is the right way to fame). Other ideas centered on support for sport, exercise and mobile health.

Alexander De Luca (a former colleague from LMU Munich) was spending the last few days with us here. He helped greatly to write some code to get the Alivetec-ECG data parsed.

Zweitgeist – Meeting People While Browsing

By accident I have seen that Heiner Wolf (he was a researcher at the University of Ulm when I was a student there) has a new company – Back then in 1996 he worked on a European funded project called CoBrow – Cooperative Browsing – looking how to create a system that allows you to meet other people who are on the same web page as you are.

Since then I think that is a really exiting idea. But looking at his current work it is easy to imagine that this could really take of. It is extremely easy and looks like fun. You have your avatar (which you can customize) that can meet and interact with other avatars that are at the same web page as you are. It is not a lot what you can do – but that is the beauty!