Interact 2009, Never been to Uppsala

Uppsala in Sweden is still one of the places I have never been to – and this year I missed another chance: Interact 2009

From our group Florian was there an presented his paper on a parasitic applications for the web [1]. We also published joined work with ETH ZĂŒrich on a comparison of product identification techniques on mobile devices [2]. Heiko Drewes has submitted his PhD thesis on Eye-tracking for interaction and one of the early projects he did was now published at Interact. The idea is that the mouse courser is positioned to the position where your eye-gaze is in the moment you touch the mouse [3]. Interact 2009 was quite competetive as it had an acceptance rate of 29% for research papers.

[1] Alt, F., Schmidt, A. Atterer, R., Holleis, P. 2009. Bringing Web 2.0 to the Old Web: A Platform for Parasitic Applications. Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2009. 12th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Uppsala, Sweden, August 24-28, 2009. Springer LNCS 5726. pp 405-418.

[2] von Reischach, F., Michahelles, F.,Guinard, D.,Adelmann, R. Fleisch, E., Schmidt, A. 2009. An Evaluation of Product Identification Techniques for Mobile Phones. Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2009. 12th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Uppsala, Sweden, August 24-28, 2009. Springer LNCS 5726. pp 804-816

[3] Drewes, H., Schmidt, A. 2009. The MAGIC Touch: Combining MAGIC-Pointing with a Touch-Sensitive Mouse. 2009. Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2009. 12th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Uppsala, Sweden, August 24-28, 2009. Part II. Springer LNCS 5727. pp 415-428

Meeting Prof. Brian Randell, book recommendations

Yesterday after my talk I met briefly Prof. Brian Randell from the School of Computing Science at Newcastle University. Today we had a chat over a coffee and it is really interesting to think more about dependability implications of ubicomp technologies.

Besides many other points I got a set of interesting pointers to books:

Online Shop for Smart Materials and More

We are in Newcastle for a Workshop working on a new idea for tangible UIs that can be easily customized. The basic idea is to senparate functional parts of the system (electronics etc.) from the shell/tangible components of a devices. By this we hope to support innovation in a sustainable way. The skin of the appliance is printed (in 3D).

Nic Villar came up from Cambridge and he showed us some interesting materials… and obviously there is a shop (materials. to get those… Look in the section for smart materials – there are probably many ideas hidden for now interface technologies – not only for tangible UIs.

We discussed how Polymorph could be used in tangible UIs – I think the challenge is to electronically control the material… obviously we played with the material to get ideas 🙂

Educating Inventers – News paper report about our work

The Newspaper RecklinghĂ€user Zeitung runs a series on inventers in the region. We were honored to be part of this. The article „Jede Menge Infos im CafĂ©-Tisch“ (in German) is online at Medienhaus Bauer.

The article made me think again how we can motivate students to invent new things and applications. It is always a trade-off between giving students a very open project (where some are very creative and others just try to find the minimum requirement but it is not really clear what exactly the learn) and providing a clear assignment (where there is little space for own ideas but it is very clear what skills are trained).

Reading material for summer school.

Tsvi Kuflik and Antonio KrĂŒger organize from August 30th – September 3rd a German-Israeli Minerva School for Ubiquitous Display Environments: Intelligent Group Interaction, Foundations and Implementation of Pervasive Multimodal Interfaces. I will teach a session on: „Embedded interaction with display environments“ and here is the list of recommended readings for the participants – if you are short on time only read the first one and glance over the other two.

Mahato, H., Kern, D., Holleis, P., and Schmidt, A. 2008. Implicit personalization of public environments using bluetooth. In CHI ’08 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Florence, Italy, April 05 – 10, 2008). CHI ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 3093-3098. DOI= (if you do not have access to ACM here is a copy on the web)

Schmidt, A.; van Laerhoven, K. 2001. How to build smart appliances? Personal Communications, IEEE. Volume 8, Issue 4, Aug 2001:66 – 71. DOI: 10.1109/98.944006. (if you do not have access to IEEE here is a copy on the web)

Villar N.; Schmidt A.; Kortuem G.; Gellersen H.-W. 2003. Interacting with proactive public displays. Computers and Graphics, Elsevier. Volume 27, Number 6, December 2003 , pp. 849-857(9). Draft Version „Interacting with proactive community displays“ online available.

Recommended Reading – why would I read about math during my holidays?

If you study computer science in Germany you get a fair bit of math to do – especially in the first year. It is not liked by all students
 Nevertheless I have a reading recommendation that has to do with mathematics. I came across the book some month ago in a railway station bookshop – and I immediately liked it 😉

Der MathematikverfĂŒhrer by Christoph Drösser. Sample Chapter (in German). Solutions to the stories in the book. Link to the page at Amazon.

The concept of the book is funny (at least I think so) as it put math together with real world questions. And these questions (that are defiantly not really relevant for the survival of mankind) make the book appealing. E.g. how many molecules of Goethe’s last breath are you breathing in? Or how far should you empty a bier can before you put it in the sand to minimize the risk of the can tipping over? Or what is the optimal distance to walk behind another person to optimize for visibility of leg length (this may be regarded sexist in the US, it’s OK in most parts of Europe)? The travelling sales man problem is also included in the book, wrapped as travelling politician.

The math does not really go beyond high school level but I have learned and revised some math while reading. I learned some interesting facts about the distribution of numbers (Benford’s law) – so do not cheat when you do studies or surveys – I will figure it out

The book is in German – I have not seen an English version of the book…

Social networks connected to the real world

Florian Michahelles mentioned in his blog a talk [1] and paper [2] by Aaron Beach on mobile social networks that are linked to artefacts (e.g. clothing) in the real world. This is really interesting and I think we should look more into this…

[1] Aaron Beach. University of Colorado. Whozthat: Mobile Social Networks. Whoz touching me? Whoz Music? Whoz Watching? Who Cares?

[2] Beach, A.; Gartrell, M.; Akkala, S.; Elston, J.; Kelley, J.; Nishimoto, K.; Ray, B.; Razgulin, S.; Sundaresan, K.; Surendar, B.; Terada, M.; Han, R., „WhozThat? evolving an ecosystem for context-aware mobile social networks“ Network, IEEE , vol.22, no.4, pp.50-55, July-Aug2008

Maps – still the tool for navigation in the mountains

On Saturday we went to Garmisch and walked up to Höllentalklamm (a nice canyon) and had lunch at HöllentalangerhĂŒtter. Our GPS tracking data from the canyon was pretty poor (as one would expect as the canyon is in parts only a few meters wide).

Observing other hikers (especially people who did the larger tours) it was very interesting to see how maps are used in social situations – planning, discussion, reflection, and storytelling (this time n>10). It is hard to image how this experience can be replaced by an implementation on a mobile device.

Will we have to wait till we have 1 meter by 1 meter foldable e-ink displays with 200dpi? Or are there other means to implement a good hiking map on a mobile phone screen? There is a lot of ongoing research in this domain. For driving I would guess the paper map has been largely replaced by electronic devices – when will it happened for hiking?

My guess is that traditional hiking maps will be the standard tool for another 10 years – obviously combined with a mobile device with GPS (e.g. phone, watch, or specific hiking GPS). There many ideas on how to do this – Johannes Schöning and Michael Rohs have worked on that for a while. The WIP they hat at CHI is an interesting example [1] or see the video on youtube.

Projector phones are a hot topic – Enrico had some interesting work on interaction with projector phones at Mobile HCI 2008 [2] & [3]. I would expect that in a years time we will see quite a number of those devices on the market.

[1] Schöning, J., Rohs, M., Kratz, S., Löchtefeld, M., and KrĂŒger, A. 2009. Map torchlight: a mobile augmented reality camera projector unit. In Proceedings of the 27th international Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Boston, MA, USA, April 04 – 09, 2009). CHI EA ’09. ACM, New York, NY, 3841-3846. DOI=

[2] Hang, A., Rukzio, E., and Greaves, A. 2008. Projector phone: a study of using mobile phones with integrated projector for interaction with maps. 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, 207-216. DOI=

[3] Greaves, A. and Rukzio, E. 2008. Evaluation of picture browsing using a projector phone. 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, 351-354. DOI=