Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The see-Puck at CHI 2008

The see-Puck: A Platform for Exploring Human-Robot Relationships by Mattias Jacobsson, Johan Bodin and Lars Erik Holmquist, was accepted as a note presentation for CHI 2008, the annual ACM SIGCHI conference on human-computer interaction. The paper details the development of the see-Puck, an extension of the EPFL e-Puck platform which was used to develop the popular GlowBots demo. CHI takes place in Florence, Italy on April 5-10.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Viktoria Institute 10 years old!

On December 5, Viktoria had an open house to celebrate that it is now 10 years since the institute started (in the summer of 1997 to be exact). FAL showed several recent demos: Ubiquitous Graphics (below), Push!Music, Autonomous Wallpaper and Glowbots. Unfortunately the historic Hummingbird demo, which would have shown several examples of inter-personal awareness devices dating back all the way to 1998, had to be canceled due to a bicycle accident...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Rome visiting FAL

This week we had a visit from Rome. Valerio Sperati is a Ph.D student from CNR-ISTC / La Sapienza, and will work with us in a collaboration project for ECAgents. The plan is to combine aspects of our different approaches to explore how we can make even more interesting robot-applications.

Friday, November 23, 2007

News brief in Computer about Autonomous Wallpaper

The latest number of Computer (IEEE Computer Society) has a news brief about Autonomous Wallpaper. The system allows users to send pictures (e.g. taken with their camera phone) to their living room wall. The system then calculates a unique "agent" from each picture, which is represented in the form of a flower with several branches. The colors of the flower are based on the original picture. Several flowers can affect each others growing behavior and cross-pollinate. The user can physically position each flower on the wall due to a modified positioning system. An ultrasonic sender and receiver calculate the position, send this to the computer that calculates the flowers, and a projector is used to display the flower on the wall.

Read the news brief in Computer, IEEE Computer Society, nov 2007, (Vol 40, No. 11)
by Lina Dailey Paulson

Project website

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pin&Play published in Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

The latest number of the Personal and ubiquitous computing journal includes an article written by Sara Ljungblad, Maria Håkansson and Lars Erik Holmquist. The article "Ubicomp challenges in collaborative scheduling: Pin&Play at the Göteborg film festival" describes studies and prototyping activities that investigate how Pin&Play as a ubiquitous computing technology could support paper-based practices. The results illustrate the benefit of learning from a real world practice, and point towards challenges that appear when physical paper practices are traced digitally.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Lars Erik is going to be in Tokyo on November 18-23. He will be visiting Keio University's Shonan-Fujisawa Campus and the Keio SFC Open Research Forum in Roppongi Hills. Other meetings and engagements include Sony Interaction Laboratory, Sony Ericsson, The Swedish Institute for Growth Policy Studies, and The Wimpy's. If you are in Tokyo and want to meet up, do get in touch!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Greetings from Sony Ericsson

Maria is currently doing a 3-month internship at Sony Ericsson in Lund, Sweden. This internship will run during October-December 2007 and is part of the new Mobile Life Centre where Sony Ericsson is involved as an industry partner. Maria will do a small qualitative user study on mobile sharing, as well as take part in activities at the Experience Lab where she is located.

GlowBots - a Love Story @ HRI 2008

Mattias Jacobsson will present a short video clip related to our GlowBots project at HRI 2008. We have also released a lot of code and documentation for the software and hardware.

We present a small episode describing how a young girl meet a swarm of GlowBots for the very first time.
The film-clip was captured at the Emerging Technologies exhibition, SIGGRAPH 2007, where we experienced an overwhelming attention with more than five thousand visitors laying their hands on our group of GlowBots. In this particular case the young girl is instructed by a staff member and immediately starts to play with the robots. She is really touched by the beautiful patterns showing on their round LED-displays and picks them up, shake them and gently puts them back down. Her interaction with the robot encourages it to wonder off and communicate its pattern with other robots. The result is an ongoing dialog between the robots about the latest fashion in attractive patterns. The robotic design is based on a previous study where we interviewed owners of rather unusual pets such as snakes, spiders and lizards. We have then tried to transfer some of the qualities found in their interaction and relationships with their pets to explore the design-space in everyday robotics. GlowBots is the first proof-of-concept robotic implementation that came as a direct result from this study.

Maria and Lalya at DIS 2008!

Maria and Lalya got their full paper "Bringing Context to the Foreground: Designing for Creative Engagement in a Novel Still Camera Application" accepted for DIS 2008. The conference takes place in Cape Town, South Africa, during 25 February - 27 February 2008.

Sensor-based interaction has enabled a variety of new creative practices. With ubiquitous computing, designing for creative user experience with sensor-based devices benefits from new opportunities as well as new challenges. We propose a design approach where surrounding context information is brought to the foreground to become a resource for interaction, available at hand and in real time to the users. We illustrate this approach with our project context photography as a design case. Context photography consists of taking still pictures that capture not only incoming light but also some of the additional context surrounding the scene, with real-time context information visually affecting the pictures as they are taken. Based on the design and use of our context camera prototypes, this paper brings insight into implications of our approach to the design of sensor-based ubiquitous computing systems for creative purposes.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Good luck Lalya!

October 31 was the last official working day for Lalya Gaye at the Viktoria Institute and the Future Applications Lab. She will still hang around for a while, work at the IT University and most importantly present her Ph.D. thesis in Spring 2008! During her time in FAL, Lalya worked on many exciting projects. Perhaps the most wellknown was Sonic City, a groundbreaking context-aware music generation system which has been presented at several conferences and books. Among other things, Lalya also created the Bashocam for collaborative photo sharing, was an organizer of several Mobile Music workshops, and contributed to the Context Photography project. We wish Lalya all the best in the future, and if you have a position for a researcher or teacher with a unique competetence combination of art, technology and lindy hop, you know where to find her...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pre-seminar for HCI thesis nov 5th

On the 5th of november Sara Ljungblad has a seminar about her thesis draft "Experience centred Innovation" at DSV in KIsta, Stockholm. Professor Jonas Löwgren will act as "opponent" and discuss the draft.

Abstract of the thesis:
How can experiences be used as a resource for innovation in HCI (Human Computer Interaction)? This thesis presents the design philosophy "Experience Centred Innovation" which attempts to capture qualities of experiences and transfer these into innovative designs and forms of interaction for digital artefacts. Innovation is approached in the design process by matching "the design material" with qualities of experiences, studied in a human practice. The practice is referred to as a marginal practice, and is chosen to be relevant for the intended design outcome instead of representing potential users. This is different from a user-centred design process within HCI that focus on intended users as a basis for design. The research is design driven, and builds on several empirical design cases. Experience Centred Innovation contributes with (1) the concept or transferable qualities as a resource for innovation (2) novel design outcomes, and (3) transfer scenarios - design method for capturing and transferring qualities of experiences.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pictures and video from Wired NextFest

The demonstration of Glowbots at Wired NextFest was a big success! You can see some pictures here. GlowBots are small wheeled robots that develop complex relationships between each other and with their owners. They were designed using the Transfer Scenarios method, presented at CHI 2007, and are a result in the European project ECAgents - Embodied Communicating Agents. Wired NextFest is a four-day festival of innovative products and technologies that are transforming our world. Below is a Glowbots video from Artfuture - tracking cutting-edge creativity from around the world...

The Future Applications Lab Blog

The Future Applications Lab Blog is now replacing the old FAL-webpage. Here you will find updates on what happens regarding our work. To find more information about us you can find links on the right.

Peace out,
Mattias Rost, Future Applications Lab