Last month (April 16) Albrecht Schmidt visited UNH and the Project54 lab. Albrecht gave an excellent talk introducing some of the research problems in pervasive computing and specifically touching on the latest results from his lab, which were just published at CHI 2010 [1, 2]. I was especially interested in the work on helping users find the last place of interest on a map quickly. Albrecht and colleagues track the user’s gaze and when the user looks away, they place a marker (or gazemark) on the map. When the user looks back at the map she can start where she left off: at the place of the marker. Clearly this could be very useful when looking at GPS maps in a car. In such a situation the driver has to keep going back and forth between the map and the road and you want to minimize the time spent looking at the map (the road being the more important thing to look at!). The gazemarks introduced by Albrecht’s group may help. It would be interesting to conduct a driving simulator study with gazemarks.
After the talk Albrecht spent about an hour with students from the Project54 lab and those in my Ubicomp Fundamentals course. This was a more intimate setting for conversations about Albrecht’s research. Finally, Project54 staff and students spent a couple of hours discussing Project54 research with Albrecht – our work on handheld computers, on driving simulator-based investigations of in-car user interfaces and our budding efforts in multi-touch table interaction.
I am grateful to the UNH Provost’s Office for helping to fund Albrecht’s visit through a grant from the Class of 1954 Academic Enrichment Fund.
 Dagmar Kern, P. Marshall and Albrecht Schmidt, ” Gazemarks: gaze-based visual placeholders to ease attention switching,” CHI 2010
 Alireza Sahami Shirazi, Ari-Heikki Sarjanoja, Florian Alt, Albrecht Schmidt, and Jonna Häkkilä, J. “Understanding the impact of abstracted audio preview of SMS,” CHI 2010