Category Archives: unhires

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!

Wrapping Up in Stuttgart

My summer in Germany has now come to an end and I’m back in Boston ready for my final year of my master’s! I’ve enjoyed my time in Europe and have truly learned a ton.

As a recap of my research project, we sought to analyze programming language proficiency based on eye movements. In the experiment, participants self-rated their programming skills then looked at a series of programs while the eye tracker recorded their eye movements. We asked participants to enter what they thought was the function of each program. The participants and I were separated by a divider as I monitored their progress (pictured below).

In one summer, I have identified a research question, designed an experiment around it, ran studies, and performed data analysis. I’m really proud of what I have achieved and have learned that I would be happy pursuing a career in research. Sure, there were frustrating times, but I learned to work through them.

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What I enjoyed most about working in the lab has been talking to the PhD students and fellow interns about different research within HCI. Hearing about their projects gets me really excited about the possibilities that this field can accomplish, and I find new perspectives on interesting questions that I have.

The theme of my time in Stuttgart has been encountering a problem and finding a solution to it, to keep moving forward. Not to be too cheesy but I know that whatever happens, I will be able to handle it. That is something that I have shown to myself from this experience. So bring it on, PhD!

A big shout-out and thank you to Dr. Andrew Kun and Dr. Orit Schaer for making the IRES program possible, to Dr. Albrecht Schmidt and his amazing team at the University of Stuttgart for welcoming me to their lab, to all my new friends both at the lab and at the student hotel, and to Jakob Karolus and Thomas Kosch for being the best supervisors I could ask for! I will miss Stuttgart immensely!

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Tchüss!

Calvin Liang

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!

Thanks UNH IRES cohort of 2016!

I received a nice hand-made card from the UNH IRES cohort of 2016. The students express their thanks to Kelly Shaw of the UNH CEPS Business Services, and Patty Cook at University Travel. Kelly was in charge of paperwork for student stipends, while Patty helped with travel schedules. It’s really nice to receive a card like this – we would like to thank the students for representing us so well in Germany!