Category Archives: ubicomp

June in Stuttgart

Hallo!

My name is Lauren Futami, and I’m spending June and July here in Stuttgart, Germany, working in the Human Computer Interaction Lab at Stuttgart University.  I’m here with two other students – Midori Yang from Wellesley College and Calvin Liang from Tufts University.  We each have our own projects and supervising graduate students to guide us in our work – I’m working with Tonja and Pascal (they’re both incredibly nice and fun to talk to!).  They’re working on a virtual reality research project and the effects of haptic feedback on users in the virtual environment.  This haptic feedback is possible in the virtual world by using drones equipped with various materials that float in front of the user so that when the user physically reaches out to touch something in the virtual environment, she can actually “feel” the virtual object when she consequently touches the drone.

My project for the summer is to create an environment that naturally causes the user to interact with the drone in three different ways – reaching out to touch an object (active), having the drone bump into the user (passive), and having the user reach out and grab an item from the drone (like a key or a coin).  I decided to create an underwater scenario in which the user will reach out to touch a fish, feel jellyfish tentacles as they swim by, and pick up a worm from a fishing line that conveniently hangs in front of the user.  I have never worked with Unity before, and it’s been a bit difficult to get used to working with it, but I’ve learned so much about its capabilities, and I’m having fun solving the problems that arise in my underwater scene.  Luckily, Tonja and Pascal helped set me up with a monitor, so I have a large screen to spread all of my thoughts out.

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That’s not all, though!  Tonja, Pascal, and I are reading through a virtual reality book together filled with useful background information on the technical and behavioral aspects of VR!   We have these weekly meetings where we discuss the most recent chapter we’ve read, and I’m having a lot of fun listening to Tonja (who has incredible knowledge on the psychology and human behaviors to VR) and Pascal (who knows all about the technology and physics behind VR).  I’ve really been enjoying the work!

Midori, Calvin, and I have also been traveling a bit!  We were able to attend a day workshop on wearable technology in Saarbrücken, a small city near the German/France border.  This is us taking a picture outside of the lab at the university there.  Even though the abbreviation is MCI (for Mensch-Computer-Interaktion), we liked to think the “i” was just a lowercase “L” so it really stood for “Midori, Calvin, and Lauren.”

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I also traveled to London a few weeks ago!  I went with Midori while Calvin went to Barcelona to visit his friend there.  Midori and I both have never been to London before, but we both really enjoyed it!  We did a lot of sightseeing and just general walking around.  While we were in London, we were also able to visit Stonehenge, a place I’ve always seen in pictures but never thought I would actually get to see in person.

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We also just celebrated 4th of July with the lab!  Every year, the American interns throw a barbecue for the entire lab, so we did our best this year to bring in some fun American cheer!  It was a strange feeling coming into the lab on the 4th of July and having everyone treat it like a regular work day while I talked to my friends back in Boston who were already celebrating.  Even though it was just us three organizing the barbecue, I think we managed to pull it off pretty well.  I had fun and I think others did too!  This is mostly everyone who was at the barbecue (Calvin took the photo).

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Anyway, we’re all off to Łódź, Poland tomorrow for the weeklong summer school on methods in HCI at Łódź University of Technology.  I’m excited to visit Poland and learn even more about HCI!

Bis dann!

 

 

Announcement: Sean Smith talk on April 20, 2017

The Internet of Risky Things: Trusting the
Devices That
Surround Us

Sean Smith

2 PM, Thursday, April 20, 2017
Location: IOL Training Room
Please register.

Abstract. The coming “Internet of Things (IoT)” distributes computational devices massively in almost any axis imaginable and connects them intimately to previously non-cyber aspects of human life. If we build this new Internet the way we built the current one, we are heading for trouble: the paradigms protecting the current Internet break down when devices become too long-lived, too cheap, too tightly tied to physical life, too invisible, and too many.

This talk explores risks of IoT to security, privacy, and society—and considers some ways to mitigate them.

Bio. Professor Sean Smith has been working in information security—attacks and defenses, for industry and government—since before the web. Former staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory and designer of security architecture at IBM, he’s a Professor at Dartmouth and now directs its Institute for Security, Technology, and Society, investigating how to build trustworthy systems in the real world.

Announcement: Orit Shaer talk on March 30, 2017

Designing multi-device environments to enhance collaborative decision making

Orit Shaer

12:30 PM, Thursday, March 30, 2016
Location: IOL Training Room
Please register.

Abstract. Large multitouch displays are becoming increasingly available, offering the promise of enhancing colocated collaboration by enabling multiple users to manipulate information using natural interactions such as touch and gestures. Combining a number of multi-touch displays, large and small, facilitates the development of interactive spaces where users can move freely across tasks and working styles.

However, the availability of these exciting devices is not enough to design effective collaborative environments. We also need a deep understanding of how different design characteristics of the environment affect users’ ability to collaborate. To date, little work has examined co-located collaboration in multi-device environments that involve large-scale displays. We are leveraging infrastructure at Wellesley College, consisting of a large-scale interactive tabletop surface and data wall to investigate co-located collaboration in medium-size teams of 8, working on decision-making tasks. To gain deep understanding of individual and group behaviors while using the collaborative environment, we augment traditional measures such as completion time, performance, user satisfaction, and NASA TLX with new computational methods for objective real-time measurements that combine input from multiple eye trackers with logging of user actions.

Bio. Orit Shaer is the Class of 1966 Associate Professor of Computer Science and co-director of the Media Arts and Sciences Program at Wellesley College. She found and directs the Wellesley College Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab. Her research focuses on next generation user interfaces including virtual and augmented reality, tangible, gestural, tactile, and multi touch interaction. Current projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and by industry grants include the design and evaluation of smart environments for collaborative decision-making, the design and evaluation of novel interactive visualizations for personal genomics, the development of computational tools for enhancing learning and innovation in bio-design, and the conceptualization and prototyping of interactive STEM exhibits for discovery museums. Shaer received her PhD and MSc in Computer Science from Tufts University. She has been a research fellow in the Design Machine Group at the University of Washington and in the University College London Interaction Center.

Dr Shaer is a recipient of several NSF and industry awards including the prestigious NSF CAREER Award, Agilent Technologies Research Award, and Google App Engine Education Award. At Wellesley she was awarded the Pinanski Prize for Excellent Teaching. Dr Shaer has served on dozens of program committees, editorial boards, and review panels, including NSF division of Computers in Science and Engineering, ACM CHI, CSCW, UIST, and TEI conferences, and the editorial board of Foundations and Trends in Human Computer Interaction. She currently serves as co-Program Chair for ACM TEI 2017. She chaired the ACM conference on Interactive Surfaces and Tabletops (2012).

2015 ubicomp course

During the fall 2015 semester Andrew Kun will be teaching a course exploring the fundamentals of ubiquitous (or pervasive) computing. The course is listed as ECE 796/896 Spc Top/Ubiquitous Computing. (It will soon be ECE 724/824.) This is the third time this course will run – the first time was in 2010.

Why ubiquitous computing?
We have entered the third era of modern computing. This era is defined by computing devices that are embedded in everyday objects and become part of everyday activities. These devices are also connected to other devices or networks in an effort to share or gather information.  Ubiquitous computing is a multidisciplinary field of study that explores the design and implementation of such embedded, networked computing devices.

The course in a nutshell
The Ubiquitous Computing Fundamentals course has two major thrusts:

1. Lectures: Lectures introducing fundamental material from papers, a textbook edited by John Krumm, and close to 40 research videos. Topics covered will include system software for supporting percom, human-computer interaction in ubicomp systems, privacy issues, context awareness, and location-based services.
2. Projects: Following a project requirements document, students (teams or individuals) will first select topics, with the guidance of the instructor. They will then prepare a proposal, complete the project, and report on it at the end of the semester through a written document and an oral presentation. Videos are encouraged.

Two past projects
Here are two videos from 2010 to give you a taste for what a ubicomp project might look like.

Video 1: Data entry using handheld computers vs. paper

Video 2: Exploring group interaction with a multi-touch table

Who is this course for?
Students who will most benefit from the course are EE, CompE, CS and IT seniors and graduate students.

Organizational details
Class will meet TR 11-12:30. There will be an open lab in Morse 213.

For grading and such see the 2015 syllabus.

Questions?
Send email to andrew DOT kun AT unh DOT edu.