Category Archives: hci

Wrapping up Oldenburg Part 2

Of course, not all of our time in Europe was spent working (though working with the Hololens everyday was incredibly fun). Pretty much every weekend was packed with trips around Germany and Europe as a whole.

In a previous post, I mentioned that we visited Milan, where we had gelato and pasta, clearly the most important part, and Heide and Serengeti Park, where we went on rides and looked at animals.


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Gelato in Italy!

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On the Log Flume at Heide Park

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Giraffe at Serengeti Park

After Poland, I took a weekend to visit Paris by myself. I had a great time visiting the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame, and Sacré Cœur (Sacred Heart Cathedral).


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Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

I took a break for the weekend after that, but the next week, the three of us and Calvin, along with his friend, went to Majorca, Spain. Spain was beautiful and relaxing. After weeks of rushing around to see the sights, we finally had the chance to just sit by the beach and enjoy the warm water.


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The beach in Majorca

Paella
The paella we all had for dinner

I had a great time in Germany and had a ton of fun traveling every weekend to places that I had dreamed about, but figured I’d never go. Thank you to everyone who made this experience possible, I had a great time and learned so much.

Bye,
Dana

Wrapping up Oldenburg Part 1

It’s always amazing how quickly time flies in hindsight now that our two months in Germany have come to a close. I had so much fun and saw many new places along with learning a lot about HCI!

My project for the summer was Visualizing Out of View Objects With the Hololens or, as we liked to call it, EyeSee: Beyond Reality. The idea is that on a ship, the bridge is so long that a pilot can only see one side of the ship at a time. However, the pilot still has to keep track of what is on the other side of ship that they can’t see. The solution, therefore, is EyeSee. It creates a visualization of the world around the user and maps objects to that visualization so that the pilot can keep track of these objects in their peripheral.


EyeSee
EyeSee360's UI. The UI as a whole represents the world around you. The inner oval represents your actual field of view. Each dotted line represents a step of fourty-five degrees from the zero lines. Each dot is a proxy for an out of view object. Blue represents far away, while red indicates that the object is close by. Green means that the object is selected. The blue cube is an out of view object.

Of course, I didn’t know how to use Unity at all when I started, so my supervisor, Uwe, had me take a crash course when I arrived. I started with Unity’s Roll-A-Ball tutorial and once I had finished that, Uwe challenged me to port it to different consoles and modes. So the computer game that was controlled with arrow keys became an Android game controlled by tilting the screen, became a Cardboard game controlled by tilting your head, which became a game that was projected on an image and controlled by tilting the image around. That was the version of the game that was ported to the Hololens.

Once I had been brought up to speed, I worked on bringing Uwe’s Cardboard version of EyeSee to the Hololens. Along the way, in addition to Unity and Hololens development, I learned how to deal with errors that were often buried deep in code – how to solve them by myself, and when to ask for help.

In my final week, I worked on developing a game based on our study design using EyeSee. When complete, it will be put on the Hololens store so when people play it, we can gather data from many different people on the usefulness of EyeSee.

I learned so much and got to work with so many cool people! I am incredibly grateful that I got the opportunity to study in Germany. I’m going to miss everybody so much!


Offis
Our coworkers in Germany

Thank you so much!

Dana

Poland and Summer Wrap-Up

These past few weeks absolutely flew by as we were all busy with our week of summer school in Poland as well as finishing up our projects in the few remaining weeks we had in Germany.  Poland was a lot of fun; it was a week filled with informative lectures on new technological applications in human-computer interaction as well as hands-on workshops that involved various skills like sketching and prototyping.  I also got to experience and learn a lot about the culture and history of Łódź, like how the bustling shopping center known as Manufaktura was once a textile factory.  We were lucky enough to be able to zipline off the rooftop of Manufaktura and see the beautiful views from above.

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I met lots of graduate students and professionals at the summer school too, and it was fun collaborating and learning with them during our afternoon workshops.  There were lots of after-school activities a lot of us participated in too, like a walking tour of Łódź where we got to see some really interesting sites like this hallway of broken mirrors formed together to look like flowers.

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I’m not sure when I’ll be back in Poland again, but I had a lot of fun during my week there at the summer school!

Once Midori, Calvin, and I got back to Stuttgart, we were all busy finishing up our projects before the end of our internships.  Although there was a steep learning curve in the beginning, I finally was making a lot of progress with my underwater Unity environment.  I was especially happy with how all of my scripts were turning out, especially with all of the object movement in the scene.  Since Midori and I sat in the same office, I would lean over and make her test my environment to make sure what I was trying to simulate still made sense.  It was a lot of fun working with the Oculus, especially since I had absolutely no experience with virtual reality before coming to Germany.  This is what my setup looked like:

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I was able to finish up the underwater environment and give a brief demo to Tonja and Pascal!  I was really happy with how it turned out, and even though I’ll no longer have an Oculus headset to use, Pascal gave me a lot of useful information of how I can convert the scene to Google Cardboard so I can use my phone and be able to see the scene I built in a virtual environment.

The entire lab also had a summer barbecue party!  There was so much good food and competitive ping pong, it was a really fun way to wrap up our summer in Germany.

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Before coming to Germany this summer, I was nervous about how everything would work out – research at the University, living in Germany, the language barrier – but these past two months flew by in a whirl.  I learned so much, not only about human-computer interaction research, but also about graduate school in general and how to even just live on my own in a foreign country.  I had so much fun this summer, I’m so happy I was able to take part in this opportunity!

Łódź HCI Summer School: Part 2

Here is part two reflecting on my time spent at the Łódź HCI Summer School:

After the workshops and keynotes, we were able to explore Łódź and I got to know my peers much better. From eating ramen to ordering six duck burgers to ziplining across the Manufaktura to dancing at an open-air bar, I made a lot of great memories with a lot of great people!

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Another cool part about the summer school was that we were able to reunite the entire IRES group, including the students from Oldenburg and Andrew and Orit. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone else better, and I have to admit that I was pretty sad to say goodbye to them when they were leaving. However, this certainly will not be the last we see of each other!

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The week flew by and I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of the HCI Summer School. Meeting people in HCI from all across Europe was the highlight for me, and I am really sad that I did not get more pictures with the new friends I made. A big thank you to all the organizers for making it all happen.

We are now heading into our last few weeks in Stuttgart and we will be wrapping up our projects soon. I can not believe how fast this summer has gone by. I’ll write another post reflecting on my time here and talking more about my research!

do widzenia,

Calvin

Lodz HCI Summer School: Part 1

Hello!

This past week, we participated in the Łódź HCI Summer School in Łódź, Poland. Our first lesson of the summer school was how to pronounce Łódź (“Wooj”).

Over the course of the week, we listened to keynotes and participated in workshops centered around topics and methods of HCI research. This experience was great not only because I got to learn from incredible researchers, but I also was able to meet fellow students of HCI from all over Europe. It was great to interact with the international HCI community! Here’s a picture of the Father of IRES, Andrew Kun, lecturing on human-vehicle interactions:

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Overall, I was most excited learning about how the iterative design process applies to HCI research. The Human Factors student in me was very happy! It is great to know that the user-centered design approach is not just available but also crucial to the entire process.

In one workshop, we worked on functional prototyping. Using EMG sensors, my group and I created a game where a player could play pinball on a computer. EMG sensors on their arms controlled each flipper of the pinball game. After building our prototypes, we tested our products in the wild with real people! It was fun grabbing people who were walking by for the sake of science and seeing how excited they were to play pinball with our prototype.

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There were so many other parts of summer school than just learning! I’ll be covering that in my next post.

Ciao!