The UNH ECE department just launched a graduate certificate program in ubicomp. The program consists of 4 courses, 2 required, and 2 electives. Students can complete the program in 2 semesters. I’m really looking forward to our first cohort that will start in the fall of 2016. For details consult the certificate website.
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.
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.
At this year’s CHI conference Bastian Pfleging, Nora Broy and I will present a course introducing automotive user interfaces. Here’s the course abstract:
The objective of this course is to provide newcomers to Automotive User Interfaces with an introduction and overview of the field. The course will introduce the specifics and challenges of In-Vehicle User Interfaces that set this field apart from others. We will provide an overview of the specific requirements of AutomotiveUI, discuss the design of such interfaces, also with regard to standards and guidelines. We further outline how to evaluate interfaces in the car, discuss the challenges with upcoming automated driving and present trends and challenges in this domain.
Interested? Please register through the conference registration system and sign up for our course.
Last week I attended the Developing Partnership and Advancing Driving Research workshop at Michigan Tech. The workshop was organized by Myounghoon “Philart” Jeon. Philart is Assistant Professor at Michigan Tech with appointments in two departments: Computer Science, and Cognitive and Learning Sciences. He is also the director of the Mind Music Machine (tri-M) Lab.
The workshop brought together researchers interested in driving research: Bruce Walker (Georgia Tech) provided an overview of the tools different groups might use in driving research, and he also elaborated on his work with audio interactions. Andreas Riener (Johannes Kepler University Linz) spoke about topics related to autonomous vehicles. Collin Castle (Michigan DOT) discussed the use of connected vehicle technologies in Michigan DOT. I introduced some of our work with eye tracking in the UNH driving simulator. I also participated in my first speed dating session – the academic kind 😉
You can see more photos from the event on Flickr.
During the fall 2015 semester I 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.
Class will meet TR 11-12:30. There will be an open lab in Morse 213.
For grading and such see the 2015 syllabus.
Send email to andrew DOT kun AT unh DOT edu.
Are you a UNH junior looking for an exciting senior project? Are you interested in driving research, and/or eye tracking research? Would you like to work publish your work at a conference (three recent senior projects resulted in publications: pupil diameter, navigation, driver authentication)? Would you like to design new interaction techniques, such as this LED-based augmented reality navigation aid:
If so, here is a list of ideas for 2015 senior projects:
- Collision warning systems. Collision warning systems issue auditory, visual, or multimodal warnings in the case of imminent collision. But, do drivers pay attention to these warnings? Do these systems reduce braking reaction time? These are some of the questions the senior project team will explore through driving simulator-based studies.
- Intelligent agent controller for automated vehicle. Automated vehicles are of great interest to the automotive industry. The senior project team will develop an intelligent agent to control a simulated vehicle. In future work the intelligent agent will be used in exploring HCI issues related to automated driving.
- Intelligent human-computer interaction that supports reengagement in driving. A central question in automated driving is: how will driver reengage in the driving task once the automation needs assistance? The senior project team will design strategies for alerting the driver, as well as methods to evaluate how fully the driver has reengaged in the driving task.
- Using Apple Siri while driving. With the support of Apple engineers we are setting up Siri in our driving simulator. The senior project team will design experiments to assess the safety of interacting with Siri while driving.
- Eye tracking for early detection of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is devastating. Early detection of the disease, and a subsequent early intervention, might improve the odds of successful treatment. The senior project team will explore the use of eye behavior and pupil diameter as measures for early detection.
- Comparing Prezi and slides. Prezi presentations are exciting. The senior project team will explore what the strengths and weaknesses of this presentation style when compared to traditional slide presentations.
- Your ideas. Do you have a senior project idea in the general areas of driving, and eye tracking? Let us know – send email to Andrew Kun.
This is the second year of the UNH IRES program. This year we will again be selecting up to 6 students to conduct research with Albrecht Schmidt’s group at the University of Stuttgart. Get all the details on the UNH IRES website and apply soon.
UNH ECE professor Tom Miller and I were recently awarded an NSF International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) grant. Our IRES grant will fund students conducting research at the University of Stuttgart in Germany.
Under our NSF IRES grant, each summer between 2014 and 2017, three undergraduate and three graduate students will conduct research for just under 9 weeks at the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab of Professor Albrecht Schmidt at the University of Stuttgart. Professor Schmidt and his lab are among the world leaders in the field of HCI.
Student research will focus on two areas: in-vehicle speech interaction and speech interaction with public displays. For in-vehicle speech, students will relate the benefits and limitations of speech interaction with in-vehicle devices with real-world parameters, such as how well speech recognition works at any given moment. They will also work to identify why it is that talking to a passenger appears to reduce the probability of a crash, and how we might be able to use this new information to create safer in-vehicle speech interactions. Similarly, students will explore how speech interaction can allow smooth interaction with electronic public displays.
Successful applicants will receive full financial support for participation, covering items such as airfare, room and board, health insurance, as well as a $500/week stipend. The total value of the financial package is approximately $8,500 for 9 weeks.
Details about the program, including applications instructions, are available here. Please note that this program is only available to US citizens and permanent residents. If you have questions please contact Andrew Kun (andrew dot kun at unh dot edu) or Tom Miller (tom dot miller at unh dot edu).
At the beginning of April Fulbright Hungary organized a tow-day trip for grantees to Western Hungary. Here are some of my impressions from this trip:
Győr: Our first stop was the Győr campus of the University of West Hungary. University faculty introduced us to their activities in teacher training, language education, art, hospitality management, and leisure management. As it turns out, leisure management is a relatively new idea for Hungary, and the faculty at Győr are leaders in the field.
In the afternoon we went sightseeing. Győr is a fascinating town with beautiful baroque architecture. We had a chance to visit a pharmacy founded in the 1600, which still operates on Széchenyi tér. Fortunately they’ve updated their list of offerings and leaches are no longer available.
Szigetköz: Szigetköz is a beautiful area of islands created by the Danube and its branches. We toured Szigetköz by bus on both days. I really liked our stop on the banks of the Danube just across from Slovakia. I hope to go back to Szigetköz before we return to New Hampshire and spend some time hiking.
Lipót: Our hotel was in the village of Lipót. Here we also visited a bakery called the Lipóti Pékség. I’m a big fan of bread in general, and of Lipóti Pékség in particular. They have a number of stores in Budapest.
Mosonmagyaróvár: On day two of our trip we visited the Mosonmagyaróvár campus of the University of West Hungary. This visit included an engaging introduction to a food safety lab. One fun fact about Mosonmagyaróvár: it has the highest number of dentists per capita in the world. Many Austrians and other Europeans come here to receive high quality dental treatment at an affordable price.
Futura Science Museum: Our final stop was the Futura Science Museum, which was a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. My favorite exhibit was a long, suspended spring, which can be manually excited to form mechanical waves. The waves propagate along the spring, reflect at the end of the spring, and the reflections travel back to the source. The engineer in me was thrilled. At another neat exhibit visitors pedal stationary bikes and thus generate the electricity to operate race cars zipping around a track in front of them.
As you might imagine our two days flew by very quickly. The person in charge of organizing every detail of this incredibly full and exciting trip was Fulbright Hungary’s Annamária Sas. Thanks Annamária!
You can see more photos from the trip on Flickr.