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Communication of remote context through lighting

A very nice project done by Bram Knaapen. “The non face-to-face communication of social and emotional experiences between people usually happens through phone or other media like e-mail, IM (instant messaging or webcam (e.g. Skype). The context in which the experiences were experienced plays an important role. Neither the technology nor our way of describing enables us to communicate this visual context in a way it can be “experienced” by the other person. There still are a few layers of formulation & interpretation in between: you can only imagine. This project focuses on the design of a system that is able to communicate the real-time visual context of a remote user so that the receiving person is able to “ feel” as if he/she is there without the translation steps that are required when describing an experience. Emphasis is on the visual element in experience and thus imaging technology. The final concept is a modular system of connectable triangles that can be mounted to the wall and can project areal-time abstract display system of a remote visual context.”

For more information, download the project report: [PDF, 2.5M]

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Teaching Machine Learning to Design Students

Bram van der Vlist, Rick van de Westelaken, Christoph Bartneck, Jun Hu, Rene Ahn, Emilia Barakova, Frank Delbressine, and Loe Feijs

Abstract – Machine learning is a key technology to design and create intelligent systems, products, and related services. Like many other design departments, we are faced with the challenge to teach machine learning to design students, who often do not have an inherent affinity towards technology. We successfully used the Embodied Intelligence method to teach machine learning to our students. By embodying the learning system into the Lego Mindstorm NXT platform we provide the student with a tangible tool to understand and interact with a learning system. The resulting behavior of the tangible machines in combination with the positive associations with the Lego system motivated all the students. The students with less technology affinity successfully completed the course, while the students with more technology affinity excelled towards solving advanced problems. We believe that our experiences may inform and guide other teachers that intend to teach machine learning, or other computer science related topics, to design students.

Keywords: teaching, machine learning, design, lego

B. van der Vlist, R. van de Westelaken, C. Bartneck, J. Hu, R. Ahn, E. Barakova, F. Delbressine, and L. Feijs, “Teaching Machine Learning to Design Students,” Technologies for E-Learning and Digital Entertainment, Lecture Notes in Computer Science Series, 5093/2008, Z. Pan, X. Zhang, A. E. Rhalibi et al., eds., pp. 206-217, Nanjing, China: Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, 2008.
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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-69736-7_23
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How to relocate Microsoft Groove data storage

It is quite annoying that Microsoft Groove 2007 stores its data files in the user’s profile directory, usually on the C: disk. There is no way in Groove 2007 to change it to a different place, for example, a seperated disk that many people prefer for the data files.

Kevin Reeuwijk in his blog suggests a solution, but only if you have Vista:

http://www.buit.org/2007/02/19/how-to-relocate-your-groove-2007-files-to-another-disk/

The idea is to create a symbolic link under the user profile directory, pointing to another preferred directory. However if you have Windows XP or 2000, you have no luck — There is no easy way in Windows XP and 2000 to create a symbolic link to a directory. But, if your file system is NTFS, you have your luck back.

 

Continue reading How to relocate Microsoft Groove data storage

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Overview of interesting Journals

Entertainment Computing

Matthias Rauterberg maintains an overview over established academic journals on Entertainment Computing (PDF)

Human Computer Interaction

A list at hcibib.org

Design

Christoph Bartneck’s DesignandScience.org

Entertainment Computing

Matthias Rauterberg maintains an overview over established academic journals on Entertainment Computing (PDF)

Continue reading Overview of interesting Journals

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Perceived Privacy Handling in an Amigo Extended Home Environment Application

by Abdullah Al Mahmud and Yeo Lee Chin. Final USI Project. Report: [PDF, 1M]

Perceived privacy i.e., how users perceive that their privacy is handled by the system, is one of the key issues for the user acceptance of current ambient intelligent environment applications. This project was carried out in the context of the Amigo project, a large IST funded project in which 15 European organizations work together on the development of interoperable software architectures and applications for intelligent ambient home environments. Within the Amigo project, one of the tasks is dedicated to gain insights into how perceived privacy should be handled in an ambient intelligent networked home environment. Our project consisted of designing and building a functional prototype in which the system adapted to changes in the context of the user and the user’s environment while accounting for the users control over their privacy.

Continue reading Perceived Privacy Handling in an Amigo Extended Home Environment Application

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UML in Action: Integrating Formal Methods in Industrial Design Education

Jun Hu, Philip Ross, Loe Feijs and Yuechen Qian

Abstract. When designing product behavior, the designer often needs to communicate to experts in computer software and protocols. In present-day software engineering, formal specification methods such as the Universal Modeling Language have been widely accepted. Teaching design students these formal methods is non-trivial because most of design students often have difficulties in programming the behaviors of complex produces and systems. Instead of programming, this paper presents a technique, namely “acting-out”, for design students to master the formal methods. The experience shows that acting-out not only worked out very well as a teaching technique, but also showed the potential for bridging the processes of industrial design and software engineering.

J. Hu, P. Ross, L. Feijs, and Y. Qian, “UML in Action: Integrating Formal Methods in Industrial Design Education ” Technologies for E-Learning and Digital Entertainment, Series, 4469/2007, pp. 489-498: Springer, 2007.
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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-73011-8_48
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Redesign a CD Player for Intuitive Rich Interaction

Bram Hendriks, Jun Hu

Abstract. This paper presents a redesign of a CD player, a combination of creative and analytical processes. After an analysis with users of the product and its functionalities, the interaction relabelling technique was used to explore richness of actions, while the Frogger framework was used to design for intuitiveness. The resulting ideas were translated into interactive prototypes, involving functional hard- and software. Evaluated with users during a usability test and integrated into a singular design.

Keywords: rich interaction, intuitiveness, design process

B. Hendriks, and J. Hu, “Redesigning a CD Player for Intuitive Rich Interaction,” in 12th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, CD Proceddings, Heidelberg, 2007, pp. 1607-1611.
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ApartGame: a Multi-User Tabletop Game Platform for Intensive Public Use

Dirk van de Mortel, Jun Hu

ABSTRACT
ApartGame is a tabletop platform that supports multiple games for social environments and intensive public use. This paper summarizes the design of ApartGame and the results from preliminary user evaluation. The integration of physical control and digital objects was a crucial design decision and it made the games on the platform tangible.

D. van de Mortel, and J. Hu, “ApartGame: a MultiUser Tabletop Game Platform for Intensive Public Use,” in Tangible Play Workshop, Intelligent User Interfaces Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 2007, pp. 49-52.
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Designing Social Navigation for a Virtual Community of Practice

Wen Xu, Jun Hu and Karel Kreijns

Abstract. Social navigation in a community of practice is an approach of locating information with increased social awareness. Social navigation alone is not a system, whereas the community of practice is. User requirement definition on social navigation is difficult. On the one hand, without the context of the community of practice, it is hard to collect the user requirements on navigation, especially when the concept of virtual community is new to the target user group. On the other hand, to set up such a virtual community, preliminary studies on social navigation is however necessary. This paper presents the experiences how we dealt with such a chicken and egg problem. Different approaches were used, from theoretical study online questionnaire, observation on an existing virtual society, analysis on similar systems, to prototyping and expert walk-through.

W. Xu, K. Kreijns, and J. Hu, “Designing Social Navigation for a Virtual Community of Practice,” Technologies for E-Learning and Digital Entertainment, Series, 3942/2006, pp. 27-38: Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, 2006.
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DOI: 10.1007/11736639_7
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Design of a Distributed Architecture for Enriching Media Experience in Home Theaters

Jun Hu

The concept of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) is introduced by Philips Research as a new paradigm in how people interact with technology. It envisions digital environments to be sensitive, adaptive, and responsive to the presence of people. This PhD project believes that AmI environments will change the way people use multimedia services. The environments, which include many devices, will play interactive multimedia to engage people in a more immersive experience than just watching television shows or listening to radio programs. People will interact not only with the environment itself, but also with the interactive multimedia through the environment.

For many years, the research and development of multimedia technologies have increasingly focused on models for distributed applications, but the focus was mainly on the distribution of the media sources. Within the context of AmI, not only are the media sources distributed, the presentation of and the interaction with the media will also be distributed across interface devices. This PhD project focuses on the design of the structure of multimedia content and the distributed interfaces, believing that the user experience of multimedia in a distributed environment can be enriched by structuring both the media content at the production side and the playback system architecture at the user side in a proper way. The structure should enable both the media presentation and the user interaction to be distributed and synchronized over the networked devices in the environment. The presentation and interaction should be adaptive to the profiles and preferences of the users, and the dynamic configurations of the environment.

The design process went through three design iterations, following a spiral model. The first iteration was needed to get some first-hand experience and the preliminary requirements. It was concluded with the structure of StoryML and a demonstrator TOONS, which put the requirements for the second iteration on a stable foundation. More user requirements and technical challenges emerged in the second iteration during the development of the demonstrator DeepSea. DeepSea was used for the user evaluation of the concept of interactive multimedia in distributed environments. The design and development were brought forward based on the technical requirements and the experience gained from the second iteration. The design was completed with a full implementation of the proposed architecture, based on open standards and technologies. Three more demonstrators (TOONS in IPML, TheInterview, Mov’in) were built to validate the design. TheInterview was used to test the effect of the user’s cultural background on their perception of presence in interacting with these multimedia presentations in a distributed setting. During the project, the proposed architecture was used in implementing applications for various projects, ranging from a big EU project together with professional developers, to a small educational project by a team of four second year university students. Each resulted in a working demonstrator or prototype.

During the design process, several formal methods were used, including Object-Z, Broy’s component based framework, and the Petri net based OCPN and ASE. The formal approaches were helpful: They are abstract enough to make mechanisms explicit in a clear way and at the same time they are concrete enough to see the structure of the implementation. However it was not possible to formalize every aspect of the system. The system is far too complex for that. Several formalisms and several types of “syntactic sugar” were used to keep things manageable. Yet the most important design concepts were covered by formalizing them in a pragmatic way.

As a direct result of this design, a generic architecture has been implemented on top of existing network technologies and platform architectures, to enable playing IPML scripts in a networked environment with user preference and dynamic configurations taken into account. Aside from the architecture, this project also contributed to the body of scientific and engineering results. Examples are the method of rapid robotic prototyping, the extension of Petri nets as action synchronization engine, and new architectural patterns such as Timed Action, Synchronizable Object, Real-time Channel and Streaming Channel.

The results of user evaluations offer preliminary insight into how distribution, level of control and number of users influence user’s fun and presence experience in interacting with an AmI movie. Notably the level of control, and the number of the users, have a positive influence on the user experience. The influence of distribution on the user experiences is also observed and there can be an effect depending on the type of the distributed content and how the distribution is arranged. An effect of cultural background upon the perception of presence in a distributed setting is also observed. As far as known, it is the first time that the long-standing conjecture on this effect is confirmed experimentally.

J. Hu, “Design of a Distributed Architecture for Enriching Media Experience in Home Theaters,” PhD Thesis, Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, 2006.
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