Saturday, 20 December 2008
Related to this there is a large and very interesting project: IYOUIT. Besides other things it can record and share your context – if you have a Nokia series 60 phone you should try it out. As far as I remember it was voted best mobile experience at mobile HCI 2008.
Friday, 19 December 2008
- OpenGeoDB: http://opengeodb.hoppe-media.com is a database with locations in Germany and an open API
- A community effort to create an open map: http://www.openstreetmap.org/
- publishing you travels to others: http://www.dopplr.com
- Ubfunckeys: USB connected strange toy, www.ubfunkeys.com
- A communicative rabbit: http://www.nabaztag.com/
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Saturday, 6 December 2008
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
It is interesting that most of us had time for this "appointment" with only two days notice - usually it takes us weeks to find a date for a meeting and so far we did not find a date for a strategy meeting in the near future. Perhaps offering Glühwein (that is what you drink at Christmas markets) would help…
The quality of photos taken with a mobile phone is in difficult context (e.g. night, lights around) still not satisfactory (even with 5MP, downscaling, and image enhancing).
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Monday, 10 November 2008
Saturday, 8 November 2008
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Saturday, 1 November 2008
Friday, 31 October 2008
I have been chairing the Stream "Aging as a Global Issue" at the conference Technologies of Globalization 2008 in Darmstadt. It is always very suprising who different research is across different diciplines...
On-Kwok Lai from Kwansei Gakuin University gave a really interesting overview on the current situation in Asia and in particular in Japan with regards the aging society. Learning more about ageing I find myself more often thinking the current “aging research” is more like treating a symptom and not looking at the real problem. And it seems the real problem: reduced reproduction in industrial states – basically we do not have enough children anymore. This leads to the obvious question: would researching into solutions and technologies that make it easier to raise children while working or studying not be the more important challenge?
In another talk Birgit Kasper reported from a study of multi-modal travel in Köln ("Patenticket"). In the trail they got people who have a yearly ticket to introduce other older people to public transport by providing them a 3 month flat-rate ticket for public transport in the region. The benefits seem to come from two sides: (1) people do not worry if they have the right ticket and (2) having a person that acts as a patron learning the public transport system is supported. If we look at the results a radical suggestion would be to introduce a car-city-tax (e.g. like London) and give in return free public transport to everyone – would this simple solution not solve many of our problems (economic, ecological, …) or would it create a two-tier society?
The social event was at castle Frankenstein – but surprisingly everyone came back in the morning unharmed ;-)
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
- Home Shopping in 1999 (from 1967): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO58SGiYwwo
- 1999 AD Kitchen of the Future (from 1967): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFgVTUle_EM
- AT&T 1993 "You Will" Ads: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZb0avfQme8
- Vision of year 2000 from year 1957: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7XYXRKIqeY
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
 Eagle, N. and (Sandy) Pentland, A. 2006. Reality mining: sensing complex social systems. Personal Ubiquitous Comput. 10, 4 (Mar. 2006), 255-268. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00779-005-0046-3
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
PS: Do you know how to continue the row in the image below? What is the next sign? …
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
The article is based on three interviews (Eva Hornecker, Reto Wettach, Albrecht Schmidt) and provides a good overview on this topic for a general audience. The article is in c’t no 21, 2007, p86-88 (no online version yet).
Friday, 26 September 2008
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
- Implanted activity recognition and interaction (put the sensing and actuation into the body solves a lot of the problems … obviously it creates many new ones, too)
- Implantable persuasion and amplifying bodily experiences. Here I gave the example that we would be able to create a device to motivate you do sports by making your back hurt. I used this to emphasise that ethics will play a large role in the future…
- Prediction technologies (e.g. the weather forecast as an inspiration, forecasting traffic conditions, parking situation, restaurant business, costs, …) we will create systems that allo us to look up predictions (cost, quality of the experience, stress, time needed, etc.) for future activities (e.g. when choosing a restaurants, booking a travel, deciding on dating a person, making a business deal, accepting a position, ...)
- And finally I suggested that we will have fun with papers on privacy published now when reading them in 20 years :-) because our perception of this topic will change massively.
Don Patterson presented a survey on using IM. One of the finding surprised me: people seem to ignore "busy" settings. In some work we did in 2000 on mobile availability and sharing context users indicated that they would respect this or at least explain when interrupt someone who is busy [1,2] - perhaps it is a cultural difference or people have changed. It may be interesting to run a similar study in Germany.
Andreas Bulling presented work where he explored the use EOG goggles for context awareness and interaction. The EOG approach is complementary to video based systems. The use of gesturest for context-awarenes follows a similar idea as our work on eye gestures . We had an interesting discussion about further ideas and perhaps there is chance in the future to directly compare the approaches and work together.
In one paper "on using existing time-use study data for ubiquitous computing applications" links to interesting public data sets were given (e.g the US time-use survey). The time-use surevey data covers the US and gives detailed data on how people use their data.
University of Salzburg presented initial work on an augmented shopping system that builds on the idea of implicit interaction . In the note they report a study where they used 2 cameras to observe a shopping area and they calculated the "busy spots" in the area. Additional they used sales data to get best selling products. Everything was displayed on a public screen; and an interesting result was that it seems people where not really interesting in other shoppers behavior… (in contrast to what we observe in e-commerce systems).
Researchers from Hitachi presented a new idea for browsing and navigating content based on the metaphor of using a book. In is based on the concept to have a bendable surface. In complements interestingly previous work in this domain called Gummi presented in CHI 2004 by Schwesig et al.
 Schmidt, A., Takaluoma, A., and Mäntyjärvi, J. 2000. Context-Aware Telephony Over WAP. Personal Ubiquitous Comput. 4, 4 (Jan. 2000), 225-229. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s007790070008
 Albrecht Schmidt, Tanjev Stuhr, Hans Gellersen. Context-Phonebook - Extending Mobile Phone Applications with Context. Proceedings of Third Mobile HCI Workshop, September 2001, Lille, France.
 Heiko Drewes, Albrecht Schmidt. Interacting with the Computer using Gaze Gestures. Proceedings of INTERACT 2007.
 Albrecht Schmidt. Implicit Human Computer Interaction Through Context. Personal Technologies, Vol 4(2), June 2000
Monday, 22 September 2008
Sunday, 21 September 2008
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 . 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  and .
. 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.
 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.
 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 ;-)
Friday, 19 September 2008
On the way into town we got a really good price for the taxi (just make a mental note never to negotiate something with Florian and Alireza at the same time ;-) It seems taxi driving is sort of boring – he too watched television while driving (like the taxi driver some weeks ago in Amsterdam). I think we should seriously think more about entertainment for micro breaks because I still think it is for a good reason not allowed to watch TV while driving.
Seoul is an amazing place. There are many digital signs and electronic adverts. Walking back to the hotel I saw a large digital display on a rooftop (would guess about 10 meters by 6 meters). If working it is probably nice. But now it is mal functioning and the experience walking down the road is worsened as one inevitably looks at it. I wonder if in 10 years we will be used to broken large screen displays…
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
I have learned about Chumby an interesting platform that is designed to replace devices on your bedside table. Looking forward to get one or some when I fly next time to the US.
For a design competion at the appliance design conference I did a design concept for a networked alarm clock  assuming that networked device will be soon cheaply available. Maybe we should look at the paper again and think about how to push such ideas forward as the devices are on the market…
 Schmidt, A. 2006. Network alarm clock (The 3AD International Design Competition). Personal Ubiquitous Computing Journal. 10, 2-3 (Jan. 2006), 191-192. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00779-005-0022-y
Sunday, 14 September 2008
Imagine there is a song – you know band and title – and you want to buy it. Should not be really something worthwhile reporting in a blog…
How long does it take to buy a song and how many steps does it need? I tried myself and was pretty much amazed that it is still more difficult than other ways to get music. The idea was to put the song into my shopping cart, press check-out, pay by credit card, and download. On the stores I encountered you have to register before to buy… I finally got the song and here are the steps at a major German music store: go to shop page, search for song, put in shopping cart, go to checkout, told to register, fill in registration form, told to confirm email, opened email client, waited 3 minutes for email, confirmed email, logged in on webpage, realized shopping card is empty :-(, search for song, put in shopping cart, go to checkout, entered credit card information, pay about 1.69€, got download link, got music.
I really wonder how many people will become first time buyers in this shop. Sometimes I think the things we teach in User Interface Engineering are obvious – but real life tells me they are not! If you run a music download portal or if you are in the music business and you wonder why no-one buys – we can tell you :-) it may be about utility and usability of your online offers… if you need more details we are happy to help you :-)
PS: there was a store with a .ru address with better usability that offered the song with no registration at 0.20€ - but I did not want to give my credit card details…
Friday, 12 September 2008
Yesterday there was a workshop on Mobile and Embedded Interaction as part of Informatik2008 in Munich. The talks and discussions were very interesting. Lucia and Thomas raised interesting issues on a new notion of personal computing, where the mobile device becomes the center of a personal computing infrastructure. This idea has been around for some time (e.g. Roy Wants Personal Server ) but the new ideas and the feasibility with current hardware makes it really an exciting topic. On the general topic there are many open questions, as visible on the slide.
After the workshop, when swapping business cards, we started the discussion when in the future we will have business cards (in larger quantities, to give away) that have active display elements (e.g. eInk) included. Everyone gave a predictions in how many years we will have it (Lucia Terrenghi:never; Raimund Dachselt:7; Thomas Lang: business card will disappear; Albrecht Schmidt:9; Heiko Drewes:10; Florian Echtler:5; Michael Rohs:5; Paul Holleis:5). Lets get back in 5 years and see… In September 2008 the Esquire Magazine featured an e-ink cover page - have not seen it myself:-( but there is a video: http://www.esquire.com/the-side/video/e-ink-cover-video
Today we organized a workshop on Software, Services and Platforms for new infrastructures in telecommunication. We had a set of really interesting talks. As I did my PhD on context-awareness I was quite impressed by work on context oriented programming and the advances over the last years in this domain (good starting point on the topic with some publications ).
At the end of the workshop I gave the following scenario as an impulse for discussion: image there are 10 million facebook users that contniouly stream the video of what they see into the net, e.g. using eagle-i. The discussion raise many technical as well as social challenges!
 Want, R., Pering, T., Danneels, G., Kumar, M., Sundar, M., and Light, J. 2002. The Personal Server: Changing the Way We Think about Ubiquitous Computing. In Proceedings of the 4th international Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (Göteborg, Sweden, September 29 - October 01, 2002). G. Borriello and L. E. Holmquist, Eds. Lecture Notes In Computer Science, vol. 2498. Springer-Verlag, London, 194-209.
PS: there are few photos as someone in the workshop today objected to be on the net…
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
For the second time we ran this year a workshop on automobile user interfaces and interactive applications in the car at the German HCI conference: http://automotive.ubisys.org/
In the first session we discussed the use of tactile output and haptics in automotive user interfaces. It appears that there is significant interest in this area at the moment. In particular using haptics as an additional modality creates a lot of opportunities for new interfaces. We had a short discussion about two directions in haptic output: naturalistic haptic output (e.g. line assist that feels like going over the side of the road) vs. generic haptic output (e.g. giving a vibration cue when to turn).
I think the first domain could make an interesting project – how does it naturally feel to drive too fast, to turn the wrong way, to be too close to the car in front of you, etc…
In a further session we discussed framework and concepts for in-car user interfaces. The discussion on the use of context with the interface was very diverse. Some people argued it should be only used in non-critical/optional parts of the UI (e.g. entertainment) as one is not 100% sure if the recognized context is right. Others argue that context may provide a central advantage, especially in safety critical systems, as it gives the opportunity to react faster.
In the end it comes always down to the question: to what extent do we want to have the human in the loop… But looking at Wolfgang's overview slide it is impressive how much functionality depends already now on context...
In the third session we discussed tools and methods for developing and evaluating user interfaces in the car context. Dagmar presented our first version of CARS (a simple driving simulator for evaluation of UIs) and discussed findings from initial studies . The simulator is based on the JMonkey Game engine and available open source on our website .
There were several interesting ideas on what topics are really hot in automotive UIs, ranging from interfaces for information gather in Car-2-Car / Car-2-Envrionment communication to micro-entertainment while driving.
 Dagmar Kern, Marco Müller, Stefan Schneegaß, Lukasz Wolejko-Wolejszo, Albrecht Schmidt. CARS – Configurable Automotive Research Simulator. Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Applications – AUIIA 08. Workshop at Mensch und Computer 2008 Lübeck 2008
PS: In a taxi in Amsterdam the driver had a DVD running while driving – and I am sure this is not a form of entertainment that works well (it is neither fun to watch, nor is it save or legal).