Tag Archives: NSF

Ubicomp without borders – our report on the NSF IRES project

Orit Shaer and I visited Germany in the summer of 2017 to meet with the students participating in our NSF IRES project. On this trip we worked with our German colleagues, Susanne Boll and Albrecht Schmidt on writing a report about this exciting opportunity for students to gain international experiences. The result is an article in IEEE Pervasive Computing entitled “Ubicomp without borders.”

I hope that our readers will enjoy the report. I also hope that you will join us in our efforts to promote international experiences for students. We feel strongly that international experiences bring value to students, not just as they learn about science and technology, but as they expand their human experiences.

 

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.


Gelato
Gelato in Italy!

Log flume
On the Log Flume at Heide Park

Giraffe
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).


Eiffel Tower
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.


Beach
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

HCI Summer School in Łódź, Poland

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.

summer school group photo

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.

jan, paulina, toni, and michelle at lodz uni

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.

Mikołaj and Michelle at the closing dinner

Fourth Week in Oldenburg

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.

fruit tart

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.

Michelle and multimodal poster

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.

Michelle demo with Andrew