Sunday, December 14, 2008

Autonomous Wallpaper at Smart Space

On Dec 11 Autonomous Wallpaper was shown as a demo at Smart Space by Heidi Harman in Herning, Denmark. This one day conference focused on smart materials, smart living and smart green, and attracted an audience consisting of architects, designers and researchers. Autonomous wallpaper exemplifies a future wallpaper that creates a dynamic flower pattern from images that are sent by bluetooth (e.g. images taken and sent by a mobile phone). Currently, this is installed as a projection on a wall, complemented with an ultrasonic sender. This way, the users can physically point to the wall to "place" one or several flowers that will grow from their picture.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mobile Life in TechCrunch and CrunchGear!

John Biggs from leading technology blog CrunchGear visited the Mobile Life Centre in Kista and reported from our current research! Each article contains a video of the demonstrations. Some of the news also made it to partner site TechCrunch.

The featured systems included:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Workshop at CSCW

Mattias Rost will participate in the workshop: Beyond the Laboratory: Supporting Authentic Collaboration with Multiple Displays, at this years CSCW conference in San Diego. The workshop is on Saturday and he will attend the rest of the conference starting on monday.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Robot Workshop at NordiCHI'08

Ylva, Mattias and Sara, together with Alex Taylor from Microsoft Research, UK are arranging a robot workshop at NordiCHI'08 on the 19th of October. The workshop will discuss the intersection between HCI (Human Computer Interaction) and Human Robot Interaction (HRI). The participants are an interesting mix of designers, robot researchers, and HCI people... and we look forward to many interesting discussions!

See you in Lund!

The workshop:

The NordiCHI conference:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Mattias, Sara and Ylva participated in this years ArtBots exhibition in Dublin. On site we held interviews with all the artists on their perspectives on working with robotics materials and their thoughts on ethical issues related to robotics. We also kept a small area open for gallery visitors to reflect upon questions like "Why should we be afraid of robots?" and "Why do we love robots?" and put them up on a wall as post-its, for other visitors to view.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

UbiComp closing panel

Lars Erik Holmquist will take part in the closing panel at UbiComp 2008 in South Korea. The topic of the panel is the past, present, and future of ubicomp as a field, a research area, a technology direction and as a conference. See you in Seoul!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Demo at UbiComp in Seoul

Mattias Rost, together with Fredrik Bergstrand, will give a demo of a new mobile application called Columbus at UbiComp 2008 in Seoul, South Korea. Columbus is an application for exploring the world around you through photos. Going to a physical location will enable you to see photos taken at this location, while photos at other locations are not accessible until the location is visited.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Journal paper

Mattias, Ylva and Lars Erik recently got a paper published in a Special Issue on Human Interaction with Domestic Robots for the Journal of Physical Agents. The paper details the whole development of GlowBots as well as a preliminary user-study and can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Workshop at NordiCHI

Ylva, Sara and Mattias, together with Alex Taylor from Microsoft Research, will host a workshop at NordiCHI, on the theme of human-robot interaction and interaction design. The workshop will broadly aim to examine the intersections between HCI and HRI and how the two fields might learn from one another. Read more about the workshop call here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Science Café

Gullan and Gulle are two new Pleo robot FAL-members that accompanied Ylva Fernaeus and Mattias Jacobsson at an event at Stockholms Kulturhus - LAVA, sponsored by Sveriges Ingenjörer. High school students had the opportunity to sit down, have a “fika” and talk informally with the robot researchers to get insights into the field and ask questions during a couple of Science Café sessions. Our guest performance was very much appreciated and we hope that we managed to inspire a new generation of engineers and researchers.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Successful Ph.D. defence

On April 25, Sara Ljungblad defended her Ph.D. thesis Beyond Users at Stockholm University. The opponent was Professor Bill Gaver from Goldsmith college, and the evaluation committee included Jonas Löwgren (Malmö University), Annika Waern (Mobile Life, Stockholm University) and Lisbeth Svengren-Holm (Stockholm University School of Business). The thesis goes beyond a user-centred design approach to explore potential future applications and modes of interaction, including digital photogaraphy, robots and tangible interaction. Sara is currently an intern at Microsoft Research Cambridge, and will join the LIREC project at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science later in the year.

Monday, April 14, 2008

CHI 2008

The annual ACM SIGCHI conference on human-computer interaction, CHI 2008, took place in Florence, Italy. FAL's Mattias Jacobsson came back briefly from his stint in Idaho to present a note on the see-Puck, the display that was used to implement the GlowBots (see picture below). Co-author Lars Erik Holmquist also attended, as did Ylva Fernaeus (but only for the parties!) As usual, the technical program was packed and the social program even more exhausting. See you in Boston in 2009!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Being Human book launch

Microsoft Research have produced a new book, Being Human: Human-Computer Interaction in
the Year 2020.
It was the result of a workshop on the future of HCI last year, and FAL's Lars Erik Holmquist is one of the contributors. The book was launched at an event in London on April 2. One of several media attending and reporting from the launch was BBC - you can read their report and watch some video online.

New video featuring GlowBots

New Scientist have just published a video called The rise of the emotional robot which features the GlowBots from the Future Applications lab - chack it out from YouTube, below, or on the magazine's video page!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Human Robot Interaction

The third conference on Human Robot Interaction (HRI 2008) was held in beautifully located Felix Meritis of Amsterdam March 12th – 15th. Mattias and Ylva attended a workshop on Coding Behavioral Video Data led by Professor Peter H. Kahn, Jr. from University of Washington. During the workshop the FAL-duo presented some of the gathered video from preliminary user studies with GlowBots and discussed different possibilities for coding such intricate data. The conference itself was also relatively senior dense, and with a much larger attendance rate than expected it was a given success.

First out on the video session was GlowBots – A Love Story, receiving a fair amount of applauds. In summary, the conference felt to be more tilted towards human and robot rather than interaction – leaving a lot of space open for us to explore.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Designing Interactive Systems

Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) took place in South Africa on February 25-27. Maria Håkansson and Lalya Gaye presented a full paper, Bringing Context to the Foreground: Designing for Creative Engagement in a Novel Still Camera Application, about the Context Photography project.

The closing keynote was given by Professor Bill Gaver of Goldsmith College, who soon will be coming to Sweden to act as opponent for Sara Ljungblad's Ph.D. thesis.

And of course, there were some opportunities for more relaxing activities, like a very small safari...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tangible and Embedded Interaction

FAL-member Ylva Fernaeus went to present a theoretical full paper at the TEI'08 conference in Bonn, and also got selected to participate in the closing panel. The topics to be discussed in the panel were the "where, when, why and what of tangible interfaces", which resulted in quite some interesting (and amusing!) discussions. Below is a picture from the panel:

A general theme at the conference seemed to be how tangibles are moving from research prototypes with focus on "the interface", towards real applications and products, and how these are actually taken into use.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ubiquitous Content in Tokyo

Keio University recently organized a symposium to spread information about the Ubiquitous Content project and the XTEL platform, a hardware/software solution for rapid prototyping of physical interaction. FAL leader Lars Erik Holmquist was guest speaker at the symposium, along with robot researcher Yoshiyuki Sankai, who is a pioneer in the field of Cybernics and developer of a human robot suit.

Lars Erik also attended an exhibition with student project created using the XTEL platform, as well as other interesting examples of hardware/software interaction. It was fun to meet the talented Keio students and researchers and see some of their work! We hope to be using the XTEL platform in the Mobile Life Center and look forward to more collaboration with Keio, in particular the new Media Design Graduate School.

Here we see Ishizawa Takaaki, one of the XTEL system designers, proudly displaying boxes of the hardware board, along with students showing installations built using the platform. This included a soft toy to control an on-line avatar; a system for sharing images between friends and family; and finally Michihiko Ueno's shape-changing textiles.

Not everything was built using XTEL - there were many other interesting projects from Inakage Lab, Okude Lab. and Wakita Lab. Below we see Midori Shibutani with the Fabcell project, a color-changing dress based on thermo-chromatic textiles, and Yu Uchida with the interactive shadow installation Kage no Sekai.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Glowbots at home

We are currently conducting a long term user study of the GlowBots in a home environment.

The GlowBots are just starting to settle in the friendly family who has been taking care of them for the last month. The robots seemed a little shy in the beginning but now they have started to display a lot of unexpected talents:

An important observation is that since the robots don't seem to like daylight the children tend to switch off the light as soon as it is time to play - which of course means that their father has to do the cooking in the dark! Technology that really make a difference...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Internship at Ugobe

Next week Mattias Jacobsson will travel to Boise, Idaho to do an internship at Ugobe Labs. The people at Ugobe have created an innovative atmosphere, developing technology that take robotics to the next level, where sustained interaction with artificial creatures would actually be realized for the first time. Their first product - Pleo, was just hatched before Christmas, and has very reasonable price-tag.
Mattias will work on making robotics more appealing from a community perspective by working close with their researchers and look at issues concerning sustainable interaction. He will also explore the middle ground between entertainment robotics and mobile technology.
The internship is sponsored by a personal mobility grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research.

New member of FAL

Ylva Ferneaus has just started working at the Future Applications Lab! She received her Ph.D. degree from the department of Computer and Systems Sciences at Stockholm University in March 2007. The title of her thesis was Let’s make a digital patchwork, and it explored social, bodily and cultural forms of computer programming. At FAL, she will work in the European projects ECAgents - Embodied Communicating Agents and LIREC - Living with Interactive Companions, where she will explore novel robot technologies, with special focus on qualities that people are attracted by, and how these could be further addressed in research.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New intern

Nicolas Belloni is a new intern at the Future Applications Lab, who will be located at the Mobile Life Center in Kista. Nicolas is in his last year at a school of engineering called CPE Lyon (diploma equivalent to a M.Sc. in Electronics, Informatics and Telecommunications) in Lyon, France. For the last 5 months he has been an Erasmus exchange student at KTH in Stockholm, where he discovered the Mobile Life Centre. He will be doing his last internship (equivalent to a Master Thesis) on the Mobile 2.0 project for 6 months. Taking as a starting point several earlier projects about social mobile applications, including the Hummingbird and Push!Music, he will focus on how to combine social awareness and positioning in specific contexts like public transportation.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Acceptance at WMUTE 2008

Tools for Students Doing Mobile Fieldwork, by Mattias Rost and Lars Erik Holmquist got accepted for WMUTE 2008, being held in Beijing, China, 23-26 of March. The work presented describes three tools designed for students learning ethnography, and has been conducted within the iDeas project.