UCE projects

Within our research group we have three sub-domains in which we perform projects. These domains are: awareness systems, co-located mediated interactions, and explorations in interactions.

Awareness Systems

This line of research concerns systems, applications and appliances that people can use to build and sustain awareness of each other, without necessarily engaging in direct communication in the form of messages. From a technical perspective, interesting research questions concern the automated capture and interpretation of information about the activities of people using techniques such as logging of activity, sensors, computer vision and audio processing. From a user perspective, issues that are studied include privacy needs, the interpretation and evaluation of awareness information by humans and the embedding of such systems in extant patterns of usage of communication media. From a design perspective, interesting issues concern the appropriate visualization of awareness information, aesthetics, complexity of displays, the disruptiveness of such displays and the notions of ‘calm technology’ and ‘information decoration’. Our current work focuses on developing a range of related design concepts, theoretical models, technical infrastructure and psychometric approaches to the evaluation of awareness systems and privacy, and solutions for supporting the end-user development of these technologies which are currently produced primarily in research laboratories.

Co-located Mediated Interactions

Computers play an increasingly important role in supporting the work of individuals as well as in supporting the interaction between people involved in joint activities. Such systems need to be designed from a user perspective if they are to accomplish truly mediated interaction, i.e. interaction that is supported by the (in some cases embedded) computer in a natural way, without requiring explicit attention for the human-computer interaction (interaction through the computer, rather than with the computer). We are, for instance, focusing on supporting and documenting the design activities of both individual designers and design teams. We are continuously pursuing new support for core design activities such as sketching, brainstorming, group negotiations etc. and working towards creating a technology-enhanced design studio of the future, the so-called Concept Lab.

Other UCE research activities within this area focus on intelligent systems that support co-located collaboration by exploring the combination of speech-based interaction with other interaction technologies, especially tangible interfaces, in order to create new interaction styles.

We are contributing in several ways to the domain of tangible interaction, both in the theoretical development of the field (work on taxonomies) and in the practical development and evaluation of new interfaces for two-handed manipulation of real objects in augmented and virtual spaces.

Such new interaction styles are studied and applied in various application contexts. One important and successful application domain concerns intelligent playgrounds in which children interact with each other and their intelligent environment to stimulate and develop physical and social interaction skills in game-like settings.

Explorations in Interactions

This sub-domain within our research is about ‘decentralised systems’, ‘automotive’ and ‘multimodal interaction’. The following projects are currently performed within this context.