Tuesday, December 15, 2009

LIREC project in New Scientist - Learning to love to hate robots

Maria Håkansson has been interviewed in New Scientist about our long-term study of the robotic toy dinosaur Pleo in the homes of families. Read the article here!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

SIGGRAPH Asia in Yokohama

Lars Erik Holmquist chairs the Emerging Technologies section of SIGGRAPH Asia 2009, in Yokohama, Japan. In Emerging Technologies, attendees experience works that show how computer graphics and interactive techniques are evolving to adapt to new technical, social, and environmental conditions. We collaborated with Södertörn University to produce a teaser video for the exhibition:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Maria receives grant from Nokia Research

Maria Håkansson has received a personal grant from Nokia Research Center Helsinki to do a user study of location-based services from a non-urban perspective! The project is planned for January-March 2010.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rob Tieben working on ActDresses

Rob Tieben is working since september on the actDresses project: changing the appearance of robots in order to change their behaviour. Feed-back and feed-forward at the same time, incorporated in tags, wearables, or perhaps even robot clothes.
Rob is a student from the University of Technology Eindhoven, he is with us for 3 months and he is sharing his thoughts and ideas about the project on this blog

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Henriette Cramer joins as a Postdoc at FAL

Henriette Cramer is a new ERCIM postdoctoral fellow at SICS and the Mobile Life Centre.

Henriette's done her PhD-research at the University of Amsterdam, where she focused on user interaction with autonomous and adaptive systems. Her experiments and user studies looked at people's reactions and trust when they interact with systems that appear to take their own decisions (e.g. spam filters, on-screen art recommenders, social robots). She's been looking at themes such as system autonomy vs. user control, transparency and systems' social behaviours such as proactivity, touch and empathy. Her work shows that people can show quite interesting unanticipated behaviour based on their perceptions and understanding of a system. She's also shown that 'features' suggested in the literature such as social behaviour and explanations for results cannot be directly applied in every situation.

More on her blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Book Release!

On July 17th the book titled Multiplatform E-Learning Systems and Technologies: Mobile Devices for Ubiquitous ICT-Based Education will be released. The book features the chapter Tools For Students Doing Mobile Fieldwork which is written by Mattias Rost, and Lars Erik Holmquist.

Here's the abstract of the chapter:

Students are not always sitting at their desk when learning new things – they are also out in the world. We present a set of tools we developed to support groups of students who are doing field studies. Initially, we gave the students a wiki for gathering field notes and their group work material. Based on observations on how they used it and collaborated, we developed additional tools to run along with the wiki. These include a mobile application for capturing data (photo, video, audio, and text) and automatically uploading to the wiki, and a set of web tools which run on top of the wiki for increasing the awareness between students, and for browsing the captured data. We describe the implementation of these tools and report on the experience from having students using them on their own equipment during the course.

You may order the book here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tangible and Embodied Interaction @ Liseberg

FAL had an internal conference in Göteborg this Tuesday, which we spent at the Lindholmen area, where the Viktoria Institute is located. In the evening, we visited the Liseberg amusement park to experience some intense interactions...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Today two of our B.Sc thesis students - Johan Sundin and Victor Luque successfully presented their project entitled "Autonomous RFID Robot With Behavior Combination". This is part of the ongoing ActDresses project where we currently are implementing research prototypes to demonstrate how dressing things up and accessorizing can be thought of as a way for doing tangible programming. The robot is built from scratch and features omni-directional wheels, a rotating IR-detector and an RFID-reader that can read multiple tags simultaneously.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Push!Music on Video

Push!Music is a mobile music sharing application that uses ad-hoc wireless networking to allow co-located people to share music between each other. This can be done in two ways. First, songs can autonomously copy and send themselves to another player based on similar music listening histories. Second, users can personally recommend songs to others simply by sending them. The Push!Music project was part of the European Union project ECAgents, and has been covered in e.g. a demonstration at UbiComp 2005, and a paper at ECSCW 2007.

Watch the video below where Maria Håkansson and Mattias Rost demonstrates Push!Music!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Video: Push!Photo

Push!Photo is a mobile photo sharing application. It runs on wireless handheld computers, and photos can be made public and immediately accessed by anyone nearby. The application also automatically searches for photos on nearby devices to find interesting and relevant photos based on the context and history of the users. Push!Photo shows how it is possible to share digital photos in a mobile setting just as easily as paper photos. The Push!Photo project was part of the European Union project ECAgents. It was first demonstrated at UbiComp 2006.

Below, watch as Mattias Rost gives a demonstration of Push!Photo!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mattias and Ylva visited KTH on the 26th of May for a presentation of Nao - a small humanoid robot developed by a french company - Aldebaran Robotics. Nao will for instance replace Sony's canine robot Aibo as a standard platform for RoboCup and is at the same time very open source oriented. Also - if you order four of them, you get the fifth for free!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Working and Living with Robots

Ylva and Mattias participated in a two days workshop at ABB in Oslo, May 14-15.
Apart from learning a lot about different kinds of robots, we also presented some of the results in LIREC, had a full day of brainstorming on novel interaction styles, and tried out two ways of programming industrial robots (during which Mattias managed to prove the fundamental difference between simulation and reality...). Very fun!

On the move – sharing music, inspiration and fun

Maria Håkansson has been invited to contribute with a text about Push!Music and mobile music sharing in issue #22 "Seizing the moment" of Vodafone receiver. Read it here!

Successful PhD defence

On February 26, Maria Håkansson successfully defended her PhD thesis "Playing with Context: Explicit and Implicit Interaction in Mobile Media Applications" in Man-Machine Interaction at Stockholm University.

Opponent was Assistant Professor Eric Paulos from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA. The evaluation committee members were Professor Jonas Löwgren, Interaction Design, Malmö University; Docent Annika Waern, Mobile Life Centre/Stockholm University; and Professor Árni Sverrisson, Sociology, Stockholm University.

Maria is currently working at SICS and in the Mobile Life Centre.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Postodoc position available!

We are pleased to announce the availability of a number of postdoctoral positions at the Interaction Design and Innovation Lab at SICS, the Swedish Institute of Computer Science. The lab is closely associated with Mobile Life, a research centre at Stockholm University in cooperation with the telecom industry.

We are looking for recent Ph.D. graduates from all over the world with a strong interest in mobile technology and interaction design, who want to work in a dynamic research environment in Sweden. You can contribute in many different ways: by inventing and implementing new and exciting technologies and interfaces; by performing user tests and ethnographic studies; by running design workshops and creating novel concepts for mobile interaction; and much more. The lab is organized in two groups: the Future Applications Lab, led by Professor Lars Erik Holmquist; and Involve, led Professor Kristina Höök. In the Future Applications Lab, we use an approach called grounded innovation to invent and test new technology that could become products in 5-10 years time, including context-aware mobile services and social robots. In Involve, we are interested in exploring affective and bodily interaction, and involving users both physically and cognitively in what we call an affective loop.

The positions are offered through the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) Fellowship Programme. Positions are typically for 12 months, or 18 months when the fellowship is split between two of the ERCIM institutes. The fellow at SICS will receive a monthly allowance of 2 580 Euro. Costs for travelling to and from the institutes will be paid.

To apply, you need to go through the ERCIM application page:

This page also contains detailed application requirements. Make sure to mark your field of interest as "E-Mobility -> Mobile Applications and Human-Computer Interaction for mobile devices" and your desired host institute as SICS. In addition to applying through the ERCIM web page, you should also inform us of your application by e-mailing your CV and a cover letter stating your research interests to Lars Erik Holmquist (see below).

The deadline for applications is April 30; successful applicants should be able to start in the summer of 2009.


The Interaction Design and Innovation lab at SICS is located in Kista, Sweden, about 20 minutes by subway from the centre of Stockholm. For more information about us, please refer to:

The Mobile Life Centre is also located in Kista. For more information, please refer to:

ERCIM aims to foster collaborative work within the European research community and to increase co-operation with European industry; c.f.

For questions, please contact:
Lars Erik Holmquist, lab manager
Interaction Design and Innovation, SICS
leh@sics.se -- +46 703 55 85 00

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lars Erik Holmquist appointed professor

Lars Erik Holmquist has been appointed professor in Media Technology at the Department of Communication, Media and IT at Södertörn University. Initially, Lars Erik will spend about one day per week at Södertörn while keeping his position as manager of the Interaction Design and Innovation Lab at SICS, group leader of the Future Applications Lab, and as a research leader at the Mobile Life Centre.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Forthcoming PhD thesis defence

On February 26, Maria Håkansson will defend her PhD thesis "Playing with Context: Explicit and Implicit Interaction in Mobile Media Applications" in Man-Machine Interaction at Stockholm University.

Opponent is Assistant Professor Eric Paulos from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.

When: February 26, 13.00 (1 p.m.)
Where: Lecture hall D, Forum-building, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV), Stockholm University
Address: Isafjordsgatan 39, Kista

This thesis contributes with insights into how aspects of the surrounding physical and social context can be exploited in the design of mobile media applications for playful use. In this work, context refers to aspects of the immediate surroundings – outside of the device – that can be identified and measured by sensors; for instance environmental aspects like sound, and social aspects like co-located people. Two extensive case studies explore the interplay between users, mobile media, and aspects of context in different ways, and how it can invite playful use. The first case study, Context Photography, uses sensor-based information about the immediate physical surroundings to affect images in real time in a novel digital camera application for everyday creativity. The second, Push!Music, makes it possible to share music both manually and autonomously between co-located people, based on so-called media context, for spontaneous music sharing.

The insights gained from the designs, prototypes, and user studies, point at the value of combining explicit and implicit interaction – essentially, the expected and unexpected – to open for playful use. The explicit interaction encouraged users to be active, exploratory, and creative. The implicit interaction let users embrace and exploit dynamic qualities of the surroundings, contributing to making the systems fun, exciting, magical, ‘live’, and real. This combination was facilitated through our approach to context, where sensor-based information was mostly open in use and interpretation, ambiguous, visible, and possible to override for users, and through giving the systems a degree of agency and autonomy. A key insight is that the combination of explicit and implicit interaction allowed both control and a sense of magic in the interaction with the mobile media applications, which together seems to encourage play and playfulness.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Two posters at HRI

The group will present to short papers at the Human-Robot Interaction conference (HRI), were we present some of the recent work on ethics performed in the LIREC project. Both papers are based on workshops held during the fall, one at nordiCHI in Lund and one at the ArtBots festival in Dublin. The two topics discussed concerns the intersection of third wave HCI and HRI, and what could be thought of as a "robot cargo cult". We think both these themes may open up for lots of interesting discussions, so if you are in San Diego at the time please come and hang out by our posters!

ActDresses to TEI

Ylva and Mattias will participate in the Tangible and Embedded Interactions conference, presenting a conceptual paper on the ongoing project actDresses, in which we explore the design space of controlling and programming robots by dressing them up. The picture sequence above shows one of three interaction scenarios that we are currently working on. More information on this project is available at the actDresses webpage.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Photography study at CHI 2009

Sara Ljungblad will present the paper Passive Photography from a Creative Perspective: "If I would just shoot the same thing for seven days, it's like... What's the point?" at CHI 2009, the annual ACM SIGCHI conference on Computer-Human Interaction. The paper describes a study of Sensecam, a wearable digital camera that is designed to take photographs passively, without user intervention. The paper is based on work conducted with Richard Harper at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. The CHI conference will be held in Boston, USA, on April 4-9, 2009.