Automotive UI: Expert discussion at CHI 2018

From top left to bottom right: Shamsi Iqbal, Ingrid Pettersson, Chris Janssen, Susanne Boll, Albrecht Schmidt, Alex Meschtscherjakov, Andrew Kun

I’ll moderate an expert discussion at this year’s CHI entitled Automotive User Interfaces: Expert Discussion. If you’re at CHI and interested in this topic, plan to attend on Thursday, April 26, 9-10:20, Room 516C.

Abstract: Automation is making significant advances in vehicles, with adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance being prominent technologies we encounter on the road today. How should we design user interactions for vehicles with automation? Panelists will lead the audience in discussions about (a) how to design interactions for driving-related and non-driving-related activities; (b) how the designs are affected by the availability of different types of vehicle automation, and how their effectiveness can be tested, (c) how we can approach the designs from the perspective of vehicle occupants, as well as from the perspective of other traffic participants, and (d) how to guide not only practice but also theory development about human-machine interaction for automated vehicles.

Discussion participants:

Susanne Boll, University of Oldenburg
Shamsi Iqbal, Microsoft Research
Christian P. Janssen, Utrecht University
Alexander Meschtscherjakov, University of Salzburg
Ingrid Pettersson, Volvo and Chalmers University
Albrecht Schmidt, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich


AutomotiveUI 2017 – a brief photographic report

2016 Ubicomp course

During the fall 2016 semester I will be teaching a course exploring the fundamentals of ubiquitous (or pervasive) computing. The course is listed as ECE 724/824 Ubiquitous Computing Fundamentals. This is the fourth time this course will run – the first time was in 2010.

Ubicomp certificate
The course is a required course for the new Graduate Certificate in Ubiquitous Computing.

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 many research videos. Topics covered will include system software for supporting ubicomp, 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 seniors, graduate students, and professionals with an EE, CompE, CS and IT background.

Organizational details
The course will run online asynchronously. There will be no in-class meetings.

For grading and such see the ECE900-Online-Syllabus.

Send email to andrew DOT kun AT unh DOT edu.

Fulbrighters join forces for education

Here’s another story on how the Fulbright program builds lasting bridges between people across nations. This summer I was really pleased to work with fellow Fulbrighter, Károly Hercegfi to bring Hungarian graduate students to the Quantifying User-centered Experiences (QUE-2016) summer school at the University of Stuttgart. I met Károly when I was a Fulbright Scholar at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) in 2014.

Károly selected five exceptional graduate students from BME to attend the summer school (the leftmost five students in the picture above). They represented an interdisciplinary group, which was really exciting for both the instructors and the other students:

  • Dalma Geszten, PhD student in Psychology (MA, BA Psychology)
  • Anna Hidas, MSc student in Mechanical Engineering Modelling (BSc Industrian Design Engineering)
  • Maria Horvath, MSc student in Industrial Design Engineering (BSc Industrial Design Engineering)
  • Mark A. Pulay, PhD student in Psychology (MA Education & Psychology, BA Conductive Education)
  • Balint Szabo, PhD student in Management (MSc in Management, BSc Electrical Engineering)

I would like to thank Albrecht Schmidt, who provided generous financial support that allowed the Hungarian students to attend the summer school – thanks Albrecht!

The summer school was a lot of work for everyone, but it wasn’t all work – we also had a chance for fun activities, such as punting on the river in Tubingen. Here’s a picture of Dalma Geszten trying her hand (quite successfully) at guiding our boat:

Below you can read comments by the Hungarian students about the summer school – these comments originally appeared on the Visual Computing BLOG. I’m glad that the students enjoyed the experience. Albrecht, Károly and I are very encouraged by their response, and we are already making plans for including BME students in the 2017 summer school.

“What is your research question? – This was the essence of Margit Pohl’s presentation on qualitative and quantitative research. It is the most important thing a researcher has to have in mind, while doing research. The variables, the method, the data analysis and the whole research process should be based on the research question. If a problem occurs, the researchers should go back to the research question and solve the problem based on it. That is why it is so important to have a good research question, because it is the solid base of the scientific value of our work.”

Balint Szabo, PhD student in Management

“It was an amazing course. Its main topic was human-computer interaction, and it had a very special atmosphere. The students and the lecturers came from different countries with different backgrounds. The only thing connecting them was the passion for researching and the interest in human-computer interaction. During the summer school participants had the opportunity to listen to talks about different topics like Digital Signal Processing, Statistics, Experiment Design, Eye Tracking or Application Research. These talks provided a good basis for meaningful conversations on various aspects of the specific field. There was a chance to participate in brainstorming sessions which yielded in creative ideas on several special topics. Hands-on and poster sessions helped a lot deepening the gained knowledge and getting up to date on the ongoing research topics. Besides these the general conversations were also very useful, for me especially the carrier advices of experienced researchers turned out to be very helpful.”

Anna Hidas, MSc student in Mechanical Engineering Modelling

“The summer school was a great experience for me. In my opinion the cultural diversity and the different research backgrounds of the participants were the key elements of the summer school’s success. The scientific and intellectual atmosphere induced valuable discussions about human-computer interaction questions and helped us to deepen our knowledge. The whole summer school made a powerful impression on me. I got useful and practical advice on how to be a better researcher.”

Dalma Geszten, PhD student in Psychology

“I learned a lot about EEG and Eye tracker signal processing which are very common tools now a days in my research field. The hands-on sections provided us useful experiences about the filtering process as well. We had opportunity to visit the amazing and modern lab in SimTech we tried several different kind of eye tracker and Virtual reality devices. Most importantly we got new relationship with other students and senior researchers.”

Mark Pulay, PhD student in Psychology

2016 Stuttgart visit

Albrecht Schmidt with telepresence robot

At the beginning of July I had a chance to visit my colleague Albrecht Schmidt and his HCI Lab at the University of Stuttgart. This summer Albrecht is hosting eight US student participants in our International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) program. The program is funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of International and Integrative Activities. You can read about the team on the UNH HCI Lab website. My visit to Stuttgart was a chance to talk to the students and find out first-hand about their research activities. I also participated in the 2016 Quantifying User Experiences (QUE) summer school, where I lectured on topics in digital signal processing.

Our NSF IRES students are making quick progress with their HCI Lab colleagues, and I’m looking forward to their final presentations this week. On the cultural side, I really enjoyed the trip organized for QUE 2016 participants to Tübingen, a town with pretty architecture and a scenic riverfront.

Tübingen riverfront

Discussion on self-driving cars at Science Cafe Concord

This week I had a chance to participate in a panel discussion on self-driving cars at the Concord Science Cafe, organized by David Brooks. David is a science writer for the Concord Monitor – thanks David for inviting me! The other panelists were Joe Cunningham of NHTI, and Sean Smith of Dartmouth. Joe’s background is in robotics and automation, while Sean is a computer scientist with a focus on information security.

Science Cafe brings together experts from a particular field and an audience made up of members of the community who are interested in that topic. The audience brings up questions and problems, and the panel tries to provide insight from their own perspective. In our case this resulted in a really fun exchange of ideas between David who was moderating, the panelists, and the audience of about 50.

Some of the things I learned from this panel:

  • You should organize an event like this at a bar, in order to make everyone relax and feel comfortable.
  • Many people worry about the capabilities of self-driving cars: are they really better than humans?
  • Tire pressure sensors can be a security risk because they can be detected from outside the vehicle, even to set off an explosive meant for the passengers of that vehicle.
  • Owners of self-driving cars might look for modifications to the car’s software, e.g. to set up their vehicle to exceed the speed limit. Thus, even with self-driving cars we will still need traffic rule enforcement of some kind.


UNH IRES 2016 participants announced

Ludwisburg Palace Stuttgart

I’m really excited for this year’s group of UNH IRES student participants. Eight US students will spend 9 weeks at the University of Stuttgart conducting research with Albrecht Schmidt and his team. You can read the bios of the 2016 group on the UNH HCI Lab website.

The International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) program is funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of International and Integrative Activities. We received a grant from this program for the UNH IRES program – we are grateful for the support.

Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Hampshire