UNH IRES research interns on tour

Group photoStatmitte

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 being undertaken at the HCI group in Saarbrüken like mobile projection to facilitate learning guitar, large interactive displays, and even a mobile application to chart rock climbing paths of various difficulties.


The second lab visited was the Cluster of Excellence Multimodal Computing and Interaction (MMCI) lab. This is where doctoral researcher Martin Weigel gave a tour of the lab and went into detail about his project which was in wearable touch sensors that are worn on the skin.

Chloe Eghtebas

Reading List: Developing Ubiquitous Computing Devices


Together with Thomas Kubitza I was teaching a class in the UBI summer school on Developing Ubiquitous Computing Devices. The summer school was held in Oulu and organized by Timo Ojala.

In total the summer school include the following 4 courses:

  • EXPERIENCE-DRIVEN DESIGN OF UBIQUITOUS INTERACTIONS IN URBAN SPACES Prof. Kaisa Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila, Tampere University of Technology, Finland & Dr. Jonna Häkkilä, University of Oulu, Finland
  • DESIGNING MOBILE AUGMENTED REALITY INTERFACES Prof. Mark Billinghurst, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • DEVELOPING UBIQUITOUS COMPUTING DEVICES Prof. Albrecht Schmidt, University of Stuttgart, Germany
  • URBAN RESOURCE NETWORKS Prof. Malcolm McCullough, University of Michigan, USA

There was more than work… if you are curious have a look at flickr for photos and more photos.

As some people asked for the reading list for our course on Developing Ubiquitous Computing Devices, I thought I post it here…. The reading list is also available as PDF for download.

The reading list comprises 4 areas that are relevant to our course. We expect that you have come across the original paper by Marc Weiser, introducing the concept of ubiquitous computing [1].

In the first part we have included papers that provide an overview of interaction concepts that are relevant in the context of ubiquitous computing. In particular this is tangible interaction [2a] [2b], reality based interaction [3], embedded interaction [4]. The concept of informative art [5] is introduced as well as the notion of persuasive technologies [16].This part is concluded with an overview of interaction with computers in the 21st century [6].

In the second part we have included a paper on how to create smart devices [7], which gives an overview of sensors that may be useful for creating novel and reactive devices. In [8] sensing is extended to context and context-awareness. In the third part we introduce the .NET Gadgeteer platform [9] and show some trends in the development of ubiquitous computing devices: how can we create new products once we can fabricate things [10] and enclosures [10b] and how ubicomp technologies enable new devices and devices concepts [11].

The final part provides some ideas for application scenarios that we plan to assess during the course. In [12] a concept of how to change a bed into a communication media is presented and in [13] a social alarm clock is presented. A recent study [14] shows the impact of technology on communication and in [15] an overview of novel alarm clocks and sleep monitoring devices is given.

[1] Weiser, M. (1991). The computer for the 21st century. Scientific american,265(3), 94-104. http://wiki.daimi.au.dk/pca/_files/weiser-orig.pdf
[2a] Ishii, H., & Ullmer, B. (1997, March). Tangible bits: towards seamless interfaces between people, bits and atoms. In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 234-241). ACM. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/258549.258715 http://labs.rightnow.com/colloquium/papers/tangiblebits.pdf
[2b] Ishii, H. (2008, February). Tangible bits: beyond pixels. In Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on Tangible and embedded interaction (pp. xv-xxv). ACM. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1347390.1347392
[3] Jacob, R. J., Girouard, A., Hirshfield, L. M., Horn, M. S., Shaer, O., Solovey, E. T., & Zigelbaum, J. (2008, April). Reality-based interaction: a framework for post-WIMP interfaces. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 201-210). ACM. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1357054.1357089 http://research.cs.queensu.ca/~audrey/papers/chi08.pdf
[4] Kranz, M., Holleis, P., & Schmidt, A. (2010). Embedded interaction: Interacting with the internet of things. Internet Computing, IEEE, 14(2), 46-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MIC.2009.141 http://pure.ltu.se/portal/files/39756776/FINAL_PRINT_w2iot_preprint.pdf
[5] Ferscha, A. (2007). Informative art display metaphors. In Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Ambient Interaction (pp. 82-92). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. http://www.pervasive.jku.at/Research/Publications/_Documents/InformativeArtDisplayMetaphors-ferscha2007.pdf
[6] Schmidt, A., Pfleging, B., Alt, F., Sahami, A., & Fitzpatrick, G. (2012). Interacting with 21st-Century Computers. Pervasive Computing, IEEE, 11(1), 22-31. http://www.hcilab.org/wp-content/uploads/schmidt-ieeepc-21century.pdf http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MPRV.2011.81
[7] Schmidt, A., & Van Laerhoven, K. (2001). How to build smart appliances?.Personal Communications, IEEE, 8(4), 66-71. http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/~albrecht/pubs/pdf/schmidt_ieee_pc_08-2001.pdf
[8] Schmidt, A. (2013). Context-Aware Computing: Context-Awareness, Context-Aware User Interfaces, and Implicit Interaction. The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed. http://www.interaction-design.org/encyclopedia/context-aware_computing.html
[9] Villar, N., Scott, J., Hodges, S., Hammil, K., & Miller, C. (2012). . NET gadgeteer: a platform for custom devices. In Pervasive Computing (pp. 216-233). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/163162/Gadgeteer%20Pervasive%202012%20Proof.pdf
[10] Schmidt, A., Doring, T., & Sylvester, A. (2011). Changing How We Make and Deliver Smart Devices: When Can I Print Out My New Phone?. Pervasive Computing, IEEE, 10(4), 6-9. http://test.ubicomp.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/schmidt2011changing.pdf http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MPRV.2011.68
[10b] Weichel C., Lau M., Gellersen,H. (2013). Enclosed: A Component-Centric Interface for Designing Prototype Enclosures. Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction conference (TEI 2013) http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2460625.2460659 http://www.csweichel.de/papers/2013-enclosed.pdf
[11] Hodges, S., Villar, N., Scott, J., & Schmidt, A. (2012). A New Era for Ubicomp Development. Pervasive Computing, IEEE, 11(1), 5-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MPRV.2012.1 http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/163175/ANewEraForUbiCompDevelopment-IEEEPervasiveComputing.pdf
[12] Dodge, C. (1997, March). The bed: a medium for intimate communication. InCHI’97 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems: looking to the future (pp. 371-372). ACM. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1120212.1120439
[13] Schmidt, A., Shirazi, A. S., & van Laerhoven, K. (2012). Are You in Bed with Technology?. Pervasive Computing, IEEE, 11(4), 4-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MPRV.2012.63
[14] Schmidt, A. (2006). Network alarm clock (The 3AD International Design Competition). Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 10(2-3), 191-192. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00779-005-0022-y http://old.hcilab.org/documents/Schmidt_NetworkAlarmClock.pdf
[15] Shirazi, A. S., Clawson, J., Hassanpour, Y., Tourian, M. J., Schmidt, A., Chi, E. H., Borazio, M., & Van Laerhoven, K. (2013). Already Up? Using Mobile Phones to Track & Share Sleep Behavior. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1071581913000244
[16] Fogg, B. J. (2009, April). A behavior model for persuasive design. In Proceedings of the 4th international conference on persuasive technology (p. 40). ACM. http://bjfogg.com/fbm_files/page4_1.pdf

Appendix: .NET Gadgeteer Links (optional)

Keynote at PerDis2013: Proxemic Interactions by Saul Greenberg

Saul Greenberg presented the opening keynote at PerDis2013, the second international symposium on pervasive displays, held at Google in Mountain View, US.

Saul gave a brief history motivating the challenges that arise from the move to interactive ubiquitous computing environments. The degrees of freedom for interaction, when moving from graphical user interfaces to ubiquitous computing environments, are massively increased and the social context becomes central.

The other line of motivation Saul used is the notion of proxemics as studied in social science. The primary element is the distance between people. By physical proximity a lot in the interaction between people is determined. Interpersonal relationships are at the heart of the theory by Edward Hall, who explored this already in the 1960ties ([1], for a short overview and introduction see the Wiki-Pages on Edward Hall and on Proxemics). It is interesting (and not undisputed) to see that people in computer science have moved the notion of proxemics beyond human-to-human interaction to include technologies.

Saul outlined the dimensions for proximic interactions:

  • Distance 
  • Movement 
  • Location 
  • Orientation 
  • Identity 

In a paper in ACM Interactions Saul provides a really good and easy to read introductory text to proximic interactions – which is also well suitable for teaching [2]. There is more on the dimensions, the overall concept of proximic interactions, and potential applications in a 2010 paper they presented at ITS [3]. One of the aspects they have looked into in their work is at supporting proxemic interactions through a toolkit [4]. For more details we can be looking forward to the PhD thesis of Nicolai Marquardt, who worked in Saul’s group and who will defend in a few weeks.

Proxiemic interaction is a hot topic and several researchers have started to explore this space. There is also a Dagstuhl Seminar on the topic later this year (http://www.dagstuhl.de/13452) orgamized by Saul Greenberg, Kasper Hornbæk, Aaron Quigley, and Harald Reiterer.

[1] Hall, E. T., & Hall, E. T. (1969). The hidden dimension (p. 119). New York: Anchor Books. http://courses.arch.ntua.gr/fsr/137555/Hall-The-Hidden-Dimension.pdf
[2] Greenberg, S., Marquardt, N., Ballendat, T., Diaz-Marino, R., & Wang, M. (2011). Proxemic interactions: the new ubicomp?. interactions, 18(1), 42-50. http://grouplab.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/grouplab/uploads/Publications/Publications/2011-ProxemicInteraction.Interactions.pdf
[3] Ballendat, T., Marquardt, N., & Greenberg, S. (2010, November). Proxemic interaction: designing for a proximity and orientation-aware environment. In ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (pp. 121-130). ACM. http://www.cs.ucf.edu/courses/cap6121/spr11/readings/proxemic.pdf
[4] Marquardt, N., Diaz-Marino, R., Boring, S., & Greenberg, S. (2011, October). The proximity toolkit: prototyping proxemic interactions in ubiquitous computing ecologies. In Proceedings of the 24th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (pp. 315-326). ACM. http://curis.ku.dk/ws/files/44312111/marquardt.UIST_2011.proximity_toolkit.pdf

Our lab says „Merry Christmas“ 2012!

Dear colleagues and friends,

we hope you received your exclusive hcilab ornament construction kit. In order to fully enjoy the hcilab Christmas experience, 7 quick steps will guide you through the rather intuitive assembly:

The target result:
The target result.

The Christmassy ingredients:
The target result.

Step 1a: Free the tree!
The target result.

Step 1b: Bolden the golden!
The target result.

Step 1c: Take a breath!
The target result.

Step 2: Assemble the tree!
The target result.

Step 3a: Assemble the globe (1st stay)!
The target result.

Step 3b: Assemble the globe (2nd stay)!
The target result.

Step 3c: Connect the stays using the disks!
The target result.

Step 4a: Put the tree in the middle!
The target result.
The target result. The target result.

Step 5a: Put in the remaining stays (3rd stay)!
The target result.

Step 5b: Put in the remaining stays (4th stay)!
The target result.

Step 6: Hook it!
The target result.

Step 7: That’s it. Celebrate!
The target result.

We are curious about your end result and are keen to receive a picture of the final version of your ornament. Feel free to email it to us or to link it in a blog comment.

The year 2012 was very exciting and we more than appreciate your every involvement with us! As an additional treat we have attached to this Christmas packet a quick overview which lists several projects and topics in the field of human computer interaction we have been working on.
In that sense, we have continued to work on Public Displays networks. The following publications give an overview of some of the directions we took this year:

  1. Davies, N., Langheinrich, M., José, R., & Schmidt, A. (2012). Open display networks: A communications medium for the 21st century. Computer, 45(5), 58-64. Alt, F., Schneegaß, S., Schmidt, A., Müller, J., & Memarovic, N. (2012, June). How to evaluate public displays. In Proceedings of the 2012 International Symposium on Pervasive Displays (p. 17). ACM.
  2. Alt, F., Schmidt, A., & Müller, J. (2012). Advertising on Public Display Networks. Computer, 45(5), 50-56.

Automotive User interfaces was another area where we continued our research. We moved more towards multimodality and included speech input in a prototype:

  1. Pfleging, B., Schneegass, S., & Schmidt, A. (2012, October). Multimodal interaction in the car: combining speech and gestures on the steering wheel. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications (pp. 155-162). ACM.
  2. Pfleging, B., Kern, D., Döring, T., & Schmidt, A. (2012). Reducing Non-Primary Task Distraction in Cars Through Multi-Modal Interaction. it-Information Technology, 54(4), 179-187.

We ventured into new domains this year. In particular we looked at usable security and brain computer interaction. The following two papers show some examples of this work. We are particularly proud of the BCI paper, as this is the first one wih our students in Stuttgart.

  1. Bulling, A., Alt, F., & Schmidt, A. (2012, May). Increasing the security of gaze-based cued-recall graphical passwords using saliency masks. In Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3011-3020). ACM.
  2. Shirazi, A. S., Funk, M., Pfleiderer, F., Glück, H., & Schmidt, A. MediaBrain: Annotating Videos based on Brain-Computer Interaction.

Finally this paper may be an interesting read, when you are tired …

  1. Schmidt, A., Shirazi, A. S., & van Laerhoven, K. (2012). Are You in Bed with Technology?. Pervasive Computing, IEEE, 11(4), 4-7.


Silvia Miksch talking about time oriented visual analytics

It seems this term we picked a good slot for the lecture. On Thursday we had Prof. Silvia Miksch from Vienna University of Technology visiting our institute. We took this chance for another guest lecture in my advanced HCI class. Silvia presented a talk with the title “A Matter of Time: Interactive Visual Analytics of Time-Oriented Data and Information”. She first introduced the notion of interactive visual analytics and then systematically showed how time oriented data can be visually presented.

I really liked how Silvia motivated visual analytics and could not resist to adapt it with a Christmas theme. The picture shows three representations (1) numbers, always 3 grouped together, (2) a plot of the numbers where the first is the label and the second and the third are coordinates, and (3) a line connecting the labels in order. Her example was much nicer, but I missed to take a photo. And it is obvious that you do not put it on the same slide… Nevertheless I think even this simple Christmas tree example shows the power of visual analytics. This will go in my slide set for presentations in schools 😉

If you are more interested in the details of the visualization of time oriented data, please have a look at the following book: Visallization of Time-Oriented Data, by Wolfgang Aigner, Silvia Miksch, Heidrun Schumann, and Christian Tominski. Springer, 2011. http://www.timeviz.net [2]. After the talk there was an interested discussion about the relationship and fundamental difference between time and space. I think this is worthwhile further discussion.

Another direction to follow up is tangible (visual) analytics. It would be interesting to assess the contributions to understanding of further modalities when interactively exploring data, e.g. haptics and sound. Some years back Martin Schrittenloher (one of my students in Munich) visited Morten Fjeld for his project thesis and experimented with force feedback sliders [1], … perhaps we should have this as a project topic again! An approach would be to look specifically at the understanding of data when force-feedback is presented on certain dimensions.

[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] Wolfgang Aigner, Silvia Miksch, Heidrun Schumann, and Christian Tominski. Visallization of Time-Oriented Data. Springer, 2011. http://www.timeviz.net

A proposal to replace non-archival publications

In the CHI community we have the notion of non-archival publications. Some years back this concept may have been good but I find it harder and harder to understand. Over the month I had several people about this concept and in Paris I discussed it with several colleagues, who are involved in SIGCHI. Here are some of the thoughts – hopefully as a starting point for further discussion.

First a short introduction to the concept of Non-archival publications: non-archival publications in the “CHI world” are papers that are published and shown at the conference, but that must not be held against a later publication. In essence these papers are considered as not-published when reviewing an extended version of the paper. A typical example is to publish a work in progress (WIP) paper in one year showing outlining the concept, the research path you have started to take, and some initial findings. Than in the following year you publish a full paper that includes all the data and a solid analysis. In principles this a great way of doing research, getting feedback from the community on the way, and publishing then larger piece of work. Elba in our group did this very well: a WIP in CHI2010 [1] and then the full paper in CHI2011 [2]. This shows there is value to it and understand the motivation why the concept of non-archival publications was created.

Over the last years however I have seen a number points that highlight that the concept of non-archival publication is everything but not straightforward to deal with. The following points are from experience in my group over the last years.

1) Non-archival publications are in fact archival. Once you assign a document a DOI and include them in a digital library (DL) these publications are archived. The purpose of a digital library and the DOI is that things will live on, even if the people’s websites are gone. The point that the authors keep the copyright and can publish it again does not chance the fact that the paper is archived. It is hard to explain someone from another community (e.g. during a TPC meeting of Percom) that there is a paper which has a DOI, is in the ACM DL, it counts into the download and citation statistics of the author in the ACM DL and is indexed by Google Scholar, and yet it has to be considered as not published, when assessing a new publication.

2) Non-archival publications may be the only publication on a topic. Sometimes people have a really cool idea and some initial work and they publish it as WIP (non-archival). Then over the years the authors do not get around to write the full paper, e.g. because they did not get the funding to do it. Hence the non-archival work in progress paper is the only publication that the authors have about this work. As the believe it is interesting they and probably other people will reference this work – but referencing something that is non-archival is questionable, but not in this case as in fact is archival as it is in the DL with DOI. Here is an example from our own experience: Sometimes back we had in our view a cool idea to chance the way smart objects can be created [3] – we did initial prototypes but did not have funding for the full project (we still work on getting it). The WIP is the only “paper” we “published” on it and hence we keep it in our CVs.

3) Chances in authorship between non-archival and full paper. Academia is a dynamic environment and hence things are started in one place and continued somewhere else. In this process the people doing the research are very likely to chance. To account for this we typically include a reference to the first non-archival publication to acknowledge the earlier contributions made. We have one example were we had an idea for navigation system that we explored in Munich very superficial and wrote up a WIP [4]. Enrcio then moved on to Lancaster and did a serious system and study – and as he is a nice person he references the WIP to acknowledged that some other people were involved in initial phase of creating the idea [5]. And by doing so he increased Antonio’s and my citation count, as we list the WIP paper on our Google scholar page.

4) Non-archival publication are part of people’s citation count and h-index. When assessing the performance of individuals academia seems to move more and more towards “measurable” data, hence we see that citation counts and h-index may play a role. I have one “publication”, it was a poster at ISWC 2000 about a wearable RFID reader [6], that has 50+ citations and it hence impacts my h-index (on Google). For ISWC2000 posters were real publications in the IEEE DL, but this could have equally been a WIP at CHI. Hence there is the question: should non-archival material be part of the quantitative assessment of impact?

I have some further hypothetical points (inspired by the real world) that highlight some of the issues I see with the concept of non-archival publications:

Scenario A) Researcher X has great idea for a new device and publishes a non-archival paper including the idea, details about the way the implementation, some initial results, and a plan how she will do the study at Conf201X. She has a clear plan to complete the study and publish the full paper at Conf201X+1. She falls short in time due to be ill for a few months and manages to submit only a low quality full paper. Researcher Y talks to Research X at the conference is impressed and reads the non-archival version of the paper. He likes it and has some funds available hence he decides to do a follow-up building on this research. He hires 3 interns for the summer, gets 20 of the devices build, does a great study, and submits a perfect paper. The paper of Researcher Y is accepted and the paper of researcher X is not. My feeling would be that in this case Y should at least reference the non-archival paper of X, hence non-archival papers should be seen as previous work.

Scenario B) A researcher starts a project, creates a systems and does an initial qualitative study. He publishes the results as non-archival paper (e.g. WIP) including a description of the quantitative study to be conducted. Over the next month he does the quantitative study – it does not provide new insights, but confirms the initial findings. He decides to write a 4 page note in two column format that is over 95% the same text as the 6 page previously published WIP, just with the addition, of one paragraph that a qualitative study was conducted which confirmed the results. In this case having both papers in the digital library feels not write. The obvious solution would be to replace the work in progress by the note.

Here is a proposal how non-archival publication could be replaced: 

  • Everything that is published in the (ACM) digital library and which has an DOI is considered an archival publication (as they are in fact are)
  • Publications carry labels such as WIP, Demo, Note, Full paper, etc.
  • Scientific communities can decided to have certain venues that can be evolutionary, e.g. for SIGCHI this would be to my current understanding WIP, Interactivity, and workshops.
  • Evolutionary publications can be replaced by “better” publications by the authors, e.g. an author of a WIP can replace this WIP in the next year with a Full paper or a Note, the DOI stays the same
  • To ensure accountability (with regard to the DOI) the replaced version remain in the appendix of the new version, e.g. the full paper has then as appendix the WIP it replaces
  • If evolutionary publications are not replaced by the author they stay as they are and other people have to consider these as previous work
  • Citations accumulated along the evolutionary path are accumulated on the latest version include.
  • Authors can decide (e.g. when the project team changes, when the results a contradictory to the initial publication, when significant parts of the system chance, when authors chance) to not go the evolutionary path. In this case they are measured against the state of the art, which includes their own work.

In the CHI context this could be as follows: you have a WIP in year X, in year X+1 you decided to replace the WIP by the accepted Full paper that extended this WIP, in year X+3 you decided to extend Full Paper with your accepted ToCHI paper. When people download the ToCHI paper they will have the full conference paper and the WIP in the appendix. The citations that are done on the WIP and on the full paper are included in the citations of the journal paper. In a case where you combine conference several papers into a consolidated journal paper, you would create a new instance not replacing any of it or you may replace one of the conference papers.

This approach does not solve all the problems but I hope it is a starting point for a new discussion.

Just claiming stuff that is in the ACM DL and has a DOI is not archival feels like we create our own little universe in which we decide that gravity is not relevant…

UPDATE – Discussion in facebook (2012-12-11):

Comment by Alan Dix:
It seems there are three separate notions of ‚archival‘:
(i) doesn’t count as prior publication for future, say, journals
(ii) is recorded in some stable way to allow clear citation
(iii) meets some minimum level against some set of quality criteria

In the days before people treated conferences as if they were journal publications. It was common to have major publications in university or industrial lab ‚internal‘ report series. These were often cited, and if they made it to journals, it was years later. The institutions distributed and maintained the repositories, hence they were archival by defn (ii). Conference and workshop papers likewise were and have always been cited widely whether or not they were officially declared ‚archival‘.

Conference papers, even if from prestigious conferences such as CHI are NOT usually archival by defn (iii) – or at least cannot be guaranteed to – as it is not a minimal standard in all criteria, more a balance between criteria, if something is really novel and important, but maybe not 100% solid it would and *should* be conference publishable, but shuld not be jiurnal publishable until *everything* hits minimum standard may not be fantastic against any though – faultless != best

As for (i) that is about venue, politics and random rubbish rules. For a conference the issue is „is there enough new for the delegates to see?“ (unless the conference is pretending to be ‚archival‘ meaning (ii), but we should ignore such disingenuous venues).

For a journal, it would quite valid to publish a paper absolutely identical (copyright issues withstanding) one that had previously been published (and is archival by (i)) as its job is to ensure (ii).

This was common in the past with internal reports and common again now with eprints services providing pre-prints during submission as well as pre-publication.

In a web world *all* conference contributions are archival by defn (i) and *none* are by def. (ii).

Conferences are news channels, journals and quality agencies … and when the two get confused the discipline is in crisis.

Comment by Eva Hornecker
Reading Alan’s response I am reminded I used to learn the distinction between ‚grey‘ literature (citable, e.g. technical reports) and white/black (not sure anymore which is which) that is either informal and not archived (e.g. workshop position papers) or fully published and peer reviewed. Difference with WiPs etc. is they are peer reviewed (although only gently)

Comment by Rod Murray-Smith
I guess there is also a question about whether WIPs are really still being used as „works in progress“, or more frequently as a way to attend the conference despite the paper not being lucky enough to get in. Do we have any stats on % of papers which are recycled from the main conference, as by submitting them to that, authors are claiming that these are ready for archival. Similar issues for many workshop papers.

Comment by Alan Dix

Of course workshop position papers are often web ‚archived‘ (my criteria (ii)), and some even heavily refereed … indeed many people would prefer a CHI workshop paper on their CV than a more heavily refereed conference paper elsewhere … I guess about brand, like a Nike holdall.

There is another orthogonal issue too which is about the level and surety of the process, which is pretty independent of the clarity and kind of criteria. You may have a poor quality journal that is using similar criteria to a better journal, but simply having a lower bar and perhaps, because of quality of reviewing, lower level of confidence. I’m sure both Fiat and Ferrari have quality control, just the level different.

In some ways I am happier with low quality journals that you now are low quality (and therefore readers apply caveat emptor) than high quality conferences, where it is easy for readers to assume high quality = all OK.

This is why I always feel that all reviewing processes should have a non-blind point, as a paper with a fantastic idea, but major methodological flaw, is fine if produced by an unknown person in and unknown institution (as readers will take it with a inch of salt), but should be rejected if from a major name in the field (as it is more liely to be taken as a pattern of how to do it by readers).

Alternatively anonymous refereeing + anonymous publication

… and none of this is about the absolute value, significance, etc. of the work, quality control is about stopping the bad apples, not making good ones.

Comment by Susanne Boll

I fully agree. Coming from the Multimedia community initially, I never understood this concept. SIGMM and the annual conferences will publish anything that undergoes a peer-review. Full papers are the most prestiguous one, short papers (4 pages) are for smaller contributions or more focused work. Workshops are THE platform to start new topics in the field and of course the work is peer-reviewed and published. For example, the Multimedia Information Retrieval run for several years and gained more and more interest in the field until it finally became an own conference.

I also found it strange this year that I reviewed a full paper for one year but had a deja vu as the work was already shown in the interactivity session the year before. This not only makes it difficult to judge novelty but also is contradictory to the blind review. Maybe have a look how other SIG conferences such as Multimedia handle it.

Comment Amanda Marisa Williams

I’m intrigued — no time at the moment but it’s bookmarked for later today. Def wanna have this conversation with some CHI veterans since I have some concerns about the archival/non-archival distinction as well.

Comment by Bo Begole
I think the crux of the issue is simply that we shouldn’t use the term „archival“ at all – as you point out, anything published on the DL with a DOI is „archived“. It’s an archaic term. More properly, we should use accurate terms to describe the level of review. CHI uses the terms „refereed“ „juried“ and „curated“ for different levels http://chi2013.acm.org/authors/call-for-participation/#refereed which map to ACM categories of CHI refereed is roughly equiv to „refereed, formally reviewed“ CHI juried is equiv to „reviewed“ and CHI curated is roughly equiv to „unreviewed“. CHI also uses the ACM criteria regarding republishability of content

Comment by Chris Schmandt
What Bo says is good, but this distinction is lost on the masses. It’s a „CHI paper“ no matter what venue. And even in the old day when we had the separate „abstracts“ volume, only the few in the know could recognize the difference between the short …

[1] Elba del Carmen Valderrama Bahamóndez and Albrecht Schmidt. 2010. A survey to assess the potential of mobile phones as a learning platform for panama. In CHI ’10 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3667-3672. DOI=10.1145/1753846.1754036 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1753846.1754036
[2] Elba del Carmen Valderrama Bahamondez, Christian Winkler, and Albrecht Schmidt. 2011. Utilizing multimedia capabilities of mobile phones to support teaching in schools in rural panama. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 935-944. DOI=10.1145/1978942.1979081 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1978942.1979081
[3] Tanja Doering, Bastian Pfleging, Christian Kray, and Albrecht Schmidt. 2010. Design by physical composition for complex tangible user interfaces. In CHI ’10 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3541-3546. DOI=10.1145/1753846.1754015 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1753846.1754015
[4] Enrico Rukzio, Albrecht Schmidt, and Antonio Krüger. 2005. The rotating compass: a novel interaction technique for mobile navigation. In CHI ’05 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’05). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1761-1764. DOI=10.1145/1056808.1057016 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1056808.1057016
[5] Enrico Rukzio, Michael Müller, and Robert Hardy. 2009. Design, implementation and evaluation of a novel public display for pedestrian navigation: the rotating compass. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’09). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 113-122. DOI=10.1145/1518701.1518722 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1518701.1518722
[6] Albrecht Schmidt, Hans-W. Gellersen, and Christian Merz. 2000. Enabling Implicit Human Computer Interaction: A Wearable RFID-Tag Reader. In Proceedings of the 4th IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC ’00). IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA, 193-194.

Congratulation to Dr. Florian Alt (No. 6)

Florian Alt defended his PhD thesis “A Design Space for Pervasive Advertising on Public Displays” at the University of Stuttgart. Over the last years Florian work at the crossroads of interactive public displays and pervasive advertising. His research output during the last years and while working on the http://pd-net.org project was amazing, see his DBLP entry.

The dissertation will be soon available online. If you are curious about his work right now, there are a few papers or a book you should read. A high level description of the findings is described in a paper published in IEEE Computer on Advertising on Public Display Networks [1]. The initial paper that paved the way towards understanding design space of public displays [2] is providing a comprehensive descriptions of ways for interaction with public displays. One of the highlights of the experimental research is the paper “Looking glass: a field study on noticing interactivity of a shop window” [3], which was done during Florian’s time at Telekom Innovation Laboratories in Berlin (it received a best paper award at CHI 2012). Towards the end of the thesis everyone realizes that evaluation is a most tricky thing, hence there is one paper on “How to evaluate public displays” [4]. If you are more interested on the advertising side, have a look at the book he co-edited with Jörg Müller and Daniel Michelis: Pervasive Advertising by Springer Verlag, 2011, available as kindle version at Amazon.

Florian joined my research group already back in Munich as a student researcher, where we explored ubiquitous computing technologies in a hospital environment [5]. He followed to Fraunhofer IAIS to do his MSc thesis, where he created a web annotation system that allowed parasitic applications on the WWW [6]. I nearly believed him lost, when he moved to New York – but he came back to start his PhD in Duisburg-Essen… and after one more move in 2011 to the University of Stuttgart he graduated last week! Congratulations! He is no. 6 following Dagmar Kern, Heiko Drewes, Paul Holleis, Matthias Kranz, and Enrico Rukzio. The photo shows the current team in Stuttgart – when looking at the picture it seems there are soon more to come 😉

[1] Alt, F.; Schmidt, A.; Müller, J.; , „Advertising on Public Display Networks,“ Computer , vol.45, no.5, pp.50-56, May 2012. DOI: 10.1109/MC.2012.150, URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6193076&isnumber=6197765
[2] Jörg Müller, Florian Alt, Daniel Michelis, and Albrecht Schmidt. 2010. Requirements and design space for interactive public displays. In Proceedings of the international conference on Multimedia (MM ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1285-1294. DOI=10.1145/1873951.1874203 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1873951.1874203
[3] Jörg Müller, Robert Walter, Gilles Bailly, Michael Nischt, and Florian Alt. 2012. Looking glass: a field study on noticing interactivity of a shop window. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 297-306. DOI=10.1145/2207676.2207718 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2207676.2207718
[4] Florian Alt, Stefan Schneegaß, Albrecht Schmidt, Jörg Müller, and Nemanja Memarovic. 2012. How to evaluate public displays. In Proceedings of the 2012 International Symposium on Pervasive Displays (PerDis ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, , Article 17 , 6 pages. DOI=10.1145/2307798.2307815 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2307798.2307815
[5] A. Schmidt, F. Alt, D. Wilhelm, J. Niggemann,  and H. Feussner,  Experimenting with ubiquitous computing technologies in productive environments. Journal Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik. 2006, 135-139.
[6] Florian Alt, Albrecht Schmidt, Richard Atterer, and Paul Holleis. 2009. Bringing Web 2.0 to the Old Web: A Platform for Parasitic Applications. In Proceedings of the 12th IFIP TC 13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Part I (INTERACT ’09). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 405-418. DOI=10.1007/978-3-642-03655-2_44 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-03655-2_44

Call for Papers: Augmented Human Conference 2013 (AH2013)

In 2013 the 4th Augmented Human Conference will talk place in Stuttgart, Germany. The submission deadline is January 8, 2013 and the conference is in cooperation with ACM SIGCHI. The papers will be published in the ACM digital library. Andreas Bulling and Christian Holz are the program chairs and there is a fabulous technical program committee.

With AH2013 we continue a Conference that over last years has ventures beyond the usual things in human computer interaction and pervasive computing. Improving and augmenting human abilities is at the core of the conference, ranging from navigation systems, to actuator that help human movement, to improved or novel senses. This may include hardware, sensors, actuators, and software, such as web based applications or mobile apps.

We are curious about technologies and solutions that make humans smarter and augment human capabilities. Over the last years the conference has highly valueed novel contributions, inspiring ideas, forward thinking applications and new concepts. Originality, ingenuity, creativity, novelty come in this context before rigorous evaluations and flawless statistical analysis of the study data. We are looking forward to your contributions. Please the web page at http://www.hcilab.org/ah2013/

Thanks to Patrick Lühne for the great designs!

3DUI Technologies for Interactive Content by Prof. Yoshifumi Kitamura

In the context of multimodal interaction in ubiquitous computing professor Yoshifumi Kitamura presented a Simtech guest lecture on 3D user interface technologies. His research goal is to create 3D display technologies that allow multi-user direct interaction. Users should be able to move in front of the display and different users should have different perspectives according to the location in front of the display. He showed a set of rotating displays (volumetric displays) that allow for the visual presentation, but not for interaction.

His approach is based on an illusion hole that allows for multiple users and direct manipulation. The approach is to have different projections for different users, that are not visible for others but that creates the illusion of interaction with a single object. It uses a display mask that physically limits the view of each user. Have a look at their SIGGRAPH Paper for more details [1]. More recent work on this can be found on the webpage of Yoshifumi Kitamura’s web page [2]

Example of the IllusionHole from [2].

Over 10 years ago they worked on tangible user interfaces based on blocks. Their system is based on a set of small electronic components with input and output, that can be connected and used to create larger structures and that provide input and output functionality. See [3] and [4] for details and applications of Cognitive Cubes and Active Cubes.

He showed examples of interaction with a map based on the concept of electric materials. Elastic scroll and elastic zoom allow to navigate with maps in an apparently intuitive ways. The mental model is straight forward, as the users can image the surface as an elastic material, see [5].

One really cool new display technology was presented at last year ITS is a furry multi-touch display [6]. This is a must read paper!

The furry display prototype – from [6].

[1] Yoshifumi Kitamura, Takashige Konishi, Sumihiko Yamamoto, and Fumio Kishino. 2001. Interactive stereoscopic display for three or more users. In Proceedings of the 28th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques (SIGGRAPH ’01). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 231-240. DOI=10.1145/383259.383285 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/383259.383285
[2] http://www.icd.riec.tohoku.ac.jp/project/displays-and-interface/index.html
[3] Ehud Sharlin, Yuichi Itoh, Benjamin Watson, Yoshifumi Kitamura, Steve Sutphen, and Lili Liu. 2002. Cognitive cubes: a tangible user interface for cognitive assessment. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’02). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 347-354. DOI=10.1145/503376.503438 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/503376.503438
[4] Ryoichi Watanabe, Yuichi Itoh, Masatsugu Asai, Yoshifumi Kitamura, Fumio Kishino, and Hideo Kikuchi. 2004. The soul of ActiveCube: implementing a flexible, multimodal, three-dimensional spatial tangible interface. Comput. Entertain. 2, 4 (October 2004), 15-15. DOI=10.1145/1037851.1037874 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1037851.1037874
[5] Kazuki Takashima, Kazuyuki Fujita, Yuichi Itoh, and Yoshifumi Kitamura. 2012. Elastic scroll for multi-focus interactions. In Adjunct proceedings of the 25th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST Adjunct Proceedings ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 19-20. DOI=10.1145/2380296.2380307 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2380296.2380307
[6] Kosuke Nakajima, Yuichi Itoh, Takayuki Tsukitani, Kazuyuki Fujita, Kazuki Takashima, Yoshifumi Kitamura, and Fumio Kishino. 2011. FuSA touch display: a furry and scalable multi-touch display. In Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 35-44. DOI=10.1145/2076354.2076361 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2076354.2076361

SIGCHI Rebuttals – Some suggestions to write them

ACM SIGCHI has in it’s review process the opportunity for the authors to respond to the comments of the reviewers. I find this a good thing and to me it has two main functions:

  1. The reviewers are usually more careful in what they write as they know they have to face a response for the authors
  2. Authors can clarify points that they did not get across in the first place in the original submission.

We usually write for all submissions with an average score over 2.0 a rebuttal. For lower ranked submissions it may be OK if we think we have a chance to counter some of the arguments, which we believe are wrong or unfair.

For the rebuttal it is most critical to address the meta-review as good as possible. The primary will be in the PC meeting and if the rebuttal wins this person over the job is well done. The other reviews should be addressed, too.

For all the papers where we write a rebuttal I suggest the following steps(a table may be helpful):

  1. read all reviews in detail
  2. copy out all statements that have questions, criticism, suggestions for improvement from each review
  3. for each of these statement make a short version (bullet points, short sentence) in your own words
  4. sort the all the extracted statements by topic
  5. combine all statements that address the same issue
  6. order the combined statements according to priority (highest priority to primary reviewer)
  7. for each combined statement decide if the criticism is justified, misunderstood, or unjustified
  8. make a response for each combined statement
  9. create a rebuttal that addresses as many points as possible, without being short (trade-off in the number of issue to address and detail one can give)

Point 8 is the core…
There are three basic options:

  • if justified: acknowledge that this is an issue and propose how to fix it
  • if misunderstood: explain again and propose you will improve the explanaition in the final version
  • if unjustified: explain that this point may be disputed and provide additional evidence why you think it should be as it is

The unjustified ones are the most tricky ones. We had cases where reviewers stated that the method we used is not appropriate. Here a response could be to cite other work that used this method in the same context. Similarly we had reviewers arguing that the statistical tests we used cannot be used on our data, here we also explained in more details the distribution of the data and why the test is appropriate. Sometimes it may be better to ignore cases where the criticism is unjustified – especially if it is not from the primary.

Some additional points

  • be respectful to the reviewers – they put work in to review the papers
  • if the reviewers did not understand – we probably did not communicate well
  • do not promise unrealistic things in the rebuttal
  • try to answer direct questions with precise and direct answers
  • if you expect that one reviewer did not read the paper – do not directly write this – try to address the points (and perhaps add a hint it is in the paper, e.g. “ANSWER as we outline already in section X)