Hello, it’s Michelle again, writing this from Łódź, Poland! We are currently at the Lodz University of Technology for a week-long HCI summer school. It has been a great experience so far, and I’ve been able to meet HCI postdoc students and professors from all over Europe while exploring a country I’ve never visited before.
All of the summer school participants I’ve gotten to know have been extremely friendly and helpful. We were split into six groups, with one IRES student in each group. My group consists of Toni (an Eastern German phD student in Austria), Paulina (a Polish phD student in Sweden), Jan (from the Czech Republic), and Jakob (one of the Stuttgart postdocs). We’ve all gotten along very well, with each of them telling me about their respective academic experiences. Toni has given me great encouragement regarding graduate school and such.
I also finally met someone younger than me for the first time this summer – Mikołaj, the younger brother of the summer school organizer, who is volunteering for the program. He thinks I’m very lucky to have been able to enroll in this school as an undergraduate, as that’s normally not allowed, which has given me even more appreciation for this opportunity.
In our fourth week at Oldenburg, many exciting events occurred, including the Fourth of July and Orit and Andrew’s visit.
On Independence Day, I made an American flag fruit tart that I brought to work. Later in the day, Susanne Boll (the professor in charge) invited us to her home for hot dogs, and I made another American-themed dessert: brownies.
Susanne tried to translate what a “brownie” is for her young children, starting with “cookie,” then “chocolate cake,” and finally settling with “chocolate bar,” which is rather accurate.
Later in the week, Orit and Andrew visited, and the three of us IRES Oldenburg students presented our research so far through a poster presentation and demos. I showed my work in Multimodal Attention Arousal in Head-Mounted Displays, where I’ve been working with Arduino, vibration motors/speakers, and 3D-rendering/3D-printing in order to figure out user perception of urgency in different audio and vibro-tactile parameters. The motivation behind my research is alarm fatigue in staff working in safety-critical environments such as hospitals, where the vast amount of loud alarm noises as well as false alarms creates desensitization.
In our first week at OFFIS in the University of Oldenburg, we found ourselves warmly welcomed by our new colleagues and supervisors:
We took advantage of the week’s uncharacteristic sunny weather to explore town, where we found plentiful grocery stores and bakeries.
Going grocery shopping became interesting adventures in themselves, as we quickly discovered that items typical to us – such as vanilla extract – are non-existent here, and that stores close Sundays. Ultimately, we managed to adjust quickly and I have been cooking and baking (banana bread, cakes, and the peanut butter cookies pictured below) with all sorts of local ingredients!