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.