Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Ephemeral User Interfaces - nothing lasts forever and somethings even shorter

Robustness and durability are typical qualities that we aim for when building interactive prototypes and systems. Tanja and Axel explored what user experience we can create when we deliberately design something in a way that is ephemeral (=not lasting, there is a good German word "vergänglich"). Ephemeral User Interfaces are user interface elements and technologies that are designed to be engaging but fragile [1]. In the prototype that we showed at TEI 2010 in Cambridge the user can interact with soap bubbles to control a computer. Axel has some additional photos on his web page.

There is a short video of the installation on the technology review blog: http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24729

[1] Sylvester, A., Döring, T., and Schmidt, A. 2010. Liquids, smoke, and soap bubbles: reflections on materials for ephemeral user interfaces. In Proceedings of the Fourth international Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied interaction(Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, January 24 - 27, 2010). TEI '10. ACM, New York, NY, 269-270. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1709886.1709941

Friday, 22 January 2010

AmbiViz Project Presentation at DoCoMo Eurolabs in Munich

In the AmbiViz project we investigate how context information (explicitly or implicitly collected) can be provided to the user. The aim is that the display of context is meaningful to the user but at the same time abstract and privacy preserving. For context collection we integrated the IYOUIT platform as well as an application that runs as an app in facebook. Examples of abstract presentations are implemented for the Nabaztag and for digital picture frames. More details will be available soon in a WIP paper at Percom 2010. Currently we run a longer term study and are already curious about the results.

Recently launched TVs with Web browsing capabilities include special widgets for certain services (e.g. Philips Net TV offers widgets for youtube, ebay, etc.). This is a first step in the market towards the switch-over of traditional TV we discussed some time ago in Seoul. I wonder what other information services may become hype as widgets or Web channels on TVs.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Book chapter on Teaching Beyond the Classroom

Kati Mäkitalo-Siegl, Jan Zottmann, Frederic Kaplan and Frank Fischer organized a workshop that resulted in the book: Classroom of the Future. The book gives a very good overview and is in my view very well suited to run a seminar

We have one chapter in the book that talks about teaching beyond the classroom and outside a typical classroom using pervasive computing technologies [1]. Our chapter includes some of the work on tangible interaction we did in Munich, e.g. [2] and earlier experience where we did a school garden blog (in German only http://www.hcilab.org/albrecht/flachs-web/).

Details about the book and a free preview are available at the publisher's side. The free preview includes an article on the classroom of the past - which I found quite interesting. If you are interested in our article, drop me a mail and I may find the draft.

[1] Paul Holleis, Albrecht Schmidt, Heiko Drewes, Richard Atterer, Petra Dollinger. Teaching Beyond the Classroom: Pervasive Computing Technologies for the Classroom of the Future. Classroom of the future. SensePublisher 2010, pp 63-85. ISBN:978-9460911026 (book at amazon)

[2] Terrenghi, L., Kranz, M., Holleis, P., and Schmidt, A. 2006. A cube to learn: a tangible user interface for the design of a learning appliance. Personal Ubiquitous Comput. 10, 2-3 (Jan. 2006), 153-158. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00779-005-0025-8

Multi-touch on Ice

I thought I have seen all possible multi-touch installations ;-) but here is a new one: Ubice installation.

Jonna and her group at NRC in Finland have built a multi-touch wall made from ice (frozen water - they seem to have plenty of it up there).

Even though it is on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbtrI6GjBsk) we still hope to see a paper on this project - do the user study before it melts ;-)

The Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces 2010 conference is this year in Germany in November 2010: http://www.its2010.org/

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Energy Harvesting - wireless power?

Since a wireless charger (RCA Airnergy) was announces at CES that harvests energy from wifi signals that are around the topic is everywhere in the (tech) news. It is an exciting prospective to imagine mobile devices that will recharge themselves from the environment they are in. However I am not sure how well harvesting energy from RF will worked in regular environments - not saturated with radio signals.

The topic is really exciting - and in the end people probably do not care much if the energy is harvested from their movement, from light, temperature or RF - as long as it works. There is a introductory article to energy harvesting by Joe Paradiso and Thad Starner [1] which is worthwhile to read.

[1] Joseph A. Paradiso, Thad Starner, "Energy Scavenging for Mobile and Wireless Electronics," IEEE Pervasive Computing, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 18-27, Jan.-Mar. 2005, doi:10.1109/MPRV.2005.9

Essen - European Capital of Culture 2010

This year RUHR.2010 - Essen and the Ruhr area - is European Capital of Culture. If you ever dreamed of visiting Essen - this is the year!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Article on Driving Automotive User Interface Research in IEEE Pervasive

We wrote an article on the automotive user interface conference that took place in Essen in September 2009. In the current issue of the IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazine this paper is published and gives an overview of the conference [1]. We hope our article highlights the key ideas that were presented at the conference.

Abstract. Cars offer an interesting but challenging microcosm for pervasive computing research and, in particular, for interaction with pervasive computing systems. Increasingly, researchers are looking at interactive applications in the car and investigating human-car interaction from a computer science-rather than an ergonomics or mechanical engineering-perspective. This article reports on the International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications, wherein participants shared presentations on topics such as aesthetics, user interaction and distraction, safety, and driver monitoring.

[1] Albrecht Schmidt, Wolfgang Spiessl, Dagmar Kern, "Driving Automotive User Interface Research," IEEE Pervasive Computing, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 85-88, Jan.-Mar. 2010, doi:10.1109/MPRV.2010.3.

Seminar on Pervasive Display Networks in Dagstuhl

From the 4th to the 8th of January we (Nigel Davies, Antonio Krüger, Marc Langheinrich, Martin Strohbach, and I) organized a Seminar on Pervasive Display Networks in Dagstuhl. The timining was less not perfect but we go a really good team together.

Working on the topic we identify an interesting set of dimensions to classify public display, collected a large set of scenarios, and compiled a bibliography as well as a reading list. As soon as the material is publicly available I will post it.

The first time I have been to Dagstuhl was in September 2001 (the seminar was on during 9/11) on Ubiquitous Computing (http://www.vs.inf.ethz.ch/events/dag2001/). This previous seminar really helped to create a vibrant community. Perhaps Pervasive Display Networks will grow in a similar way.

Since then I have been many times to Dagstuhl - but this year I was skiing while there for the first time. There is a small "skiing resort" close by: Erbeskopf

PS: if you rent skis it is always good to remember what skis (e.g. color, make, size, etc.) one got ;-)
I learned just taking the next pair of skis is sub-optimal...