Once upon a time I juggled my interests between technology and world politics. Eventually technology won, and that’s what I do for living now.
However, I did take world politics (and geopolitics) very seriously. Back in 2006 I participated in the 36th Saint Gallen Symposium. It was the middle of the financial crisis and it was a great experience to hear bankers and politicians talk about what should be done. Even Kofi Annan gave a speech about his view on the crisis and how to get out of it. Despite the several talks on the crisis, the main topic of the conference was Europe, and the European Union, which was in the middle of an identity crisis with the constitution having been recently rejected.
For participating in the symposium I wrote a little piece titled “The European Ideological Consolidation“. In the essay I argued that for a better integration countries should walk away from nationalism and a true federation should be formed. In this respect I proposed a series of European-wide institutions and programs. Particularly important to such ideological consolidations is extending programs like Erasmus (where university students can do one or two semesters at another European country) to the older population. The way to do this, I argued, was through Country Associations. Through country associations the adult population of two countries had to engage in cultural exchanges which, ultimately, would result in a better understanding of each other. This program, ambitious enough and probably utterly expensive, would create a European narrative at the individual level.
Countries Associations: This is most controversial of all the institutions here proposed and still needs a lot of work on the idea itself. As a mean to integrate European nations with each other, targeting mainly the adult population, this work proposes to create couple of countries. Two countries would be a couple for some time period. During this time the population of the two of the countries will, by law, join special programs of cultural, economical, training, etc. The couples would be changed every 2 or 3 years. As in some countries the population has to go every single year during the entire life to give some few months military service, the European population sponsored by the government could do this as well. Indeed this is a proposal for the ideology consolidation among the older people.
What I want to stress out with this post is that this idea turned out not to be that crazy after all. In a recent piece on the Social Europe Journal, sociology Professor Ulrich Beck from the University of Munich and the London School of Economics proposed something similar:
We need to ask how an individual can become engaged with the European project. In that respect I have made a manifesto, along with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, called “We Are Europe”, arguing that we need a free year for everyone to do a project in another country with other Europeans in order to start a European civil society.
I read the manifesto and WOW!!! That’s the way to go (author bias here). After having lived in Europe for many years I can see how this can really benefit the older populations, and specially people that have less exposure to the European work mobility (the Danish gardener). I will follow up closely what happens with the manifesto, it’s just great to see I wasn’t completely lost in my previous ideas
Lee Semel (@Semel) has twitted me a video of Ignorify – a parody app that aims at letting people completely ignore the real world coz, you know, the real world is for old people and there is no reason to take your eyes off the phone
The video is really funny, and I enjoyed watching it a lot. Bu more importantly, it does embed all of the criticism that CrashAlert has received. The criticism centers on the idea that, despite the possible safety benefits, an app like CrashAlert is certainly going to encourage people to stay stuck to their phones and ignore the real world.
The big dilemma for me is that I agree with such criticism. Very much so. I do believe that current technologies have induced us to such immersion and that such trend should stop. But I also see there are situations where I end up using my phone while on the go and expose myself to such risks. Perhaps this kind of careless and reckless usage of mobile devices is gonna stop with HMDs. Perhaps not!
How to get out of the dilemma? Something that was cristal clear from the CrashAlert experiment is that move information is not better (cognitively) and people don’t prefer it either. Thus, a more advanced CrashAlert should not necessarily provide more detection features as the Ignorify video portraits. Perhaps the next version of CrashAlert should both provide alerts for short bursts of interaction while on the move, and also block the display and force the user to stop when the engagement is taking long. Or perhaps not
The discussion is open, and I love that people are coming to me with this.
Note: The video was created by the time we developed and tested CrashAlert – a funny coincidence.
Ever since CrashAlert got covered by Rachel Metz the MIT Technology Review last week (see Safe Texting While Walking? Soon, There May Be an App for That) there has been a series of reactions on the social media. Well, negative reactions are included in the article itself with Prof. Clifford Nass describing it as “the epitome of removal from both the physical and social world.”
I don’t see CrashAlert as the best of my ideas or the ultimate solution to the texting and walking problem, but it’s certainly a solution to a real problem that we encounter everyday (if you ever bumped into something or someone while engaged in fun texting you know what I am talking about). Nonetheless, in this post I would like to collect the most interesting Twitter messages, both positive and negative, for posterity.
“CrashAlert” warnt Handy-User vor Straßenlaternen [Hightech]
— Donette Ranaware (@DonetteRanaware) April 15, 2013
Walk-and-texters now have protection from looming obstacles, thanks to CrashAlert. We should add this to Gander ripar.in/17dbYal
— Gander (@getgander) April 15, 2013
Walk-and-texters now have protection from looming obstacles, thanks to CrashAlert. We should add this to Gander ripar.in/17dbYal
— Gander (@getgander) April 15, 2013
— Jacqueline Vanacek (@JacquelnVanacek) April 15, 2013
Safe Texting While Walking? There May Be an App for That: The last time you saw someone walk into a lamppost w… bit.ly/136jDKF
— Way West Media (@waywestmedia) April 15, 2013
— Kasai Davenport (@KasaiDavenport) April 15, 2013
Have you ever bumped into a pole while texting and walking? Developing app could save you from such embarrassments. on.mash.to/17epCtN
— Magnet Media, Inc. (@MagnetMediaInc) April 15, 2013
Thou will not walk intoa lamppost anymore… fb.me/15g7GWbPU
— Ranjana Foogooa (@ranjana157) April 15, 2013
— Claire Willett (@clairedwillett) April 15, 2013
— On Ideas (@onideas) April 15, 2013
“CrashAlert could make it easier to walk and text without smacking into things”. No nos estamos pasando un poco? techre.vu/YoR3NF
— Carol Romero (@nomadkarol) April 15, 2013
— Weather Chick (@IAmWeatherChick) April 15, 2013
Tired of bumping in to objects while walking and texting at the same time?! We might have the answer for you.ow.ly/k5kHV
— Alsayegh Media (@AlsayeghMedia) April 15, 2013
— Goodmind (@GoodmindMR) April 15, 2013
Safe Texting While Walking? There May Be an App for That on.mash.to/137RLCp – after driving, now we face “safe texting while walking”.
— Yudha P Sunandar (@yudhaspiza) April 15, 2013
— Res Life at Loyno (@loynoreslife) April 15, 2013
— Young & Rubicam (@YoungRubicam) April 15, 2013
— 52 Pick-up Inc (@52PickupInc) April 15, 2013
CrashAlert app spots obstacles w/ depth-sensing camera so you can text & walk effectively without bumping into things mashable.com/2013/04/15/cra…
— Katie Artemas (@kartemas) April 15, 2013
“Safe Texting While Walking? There May Be an App for That” – That’s I lie it’s actually impossible.feedproxy.google.com/~r/Mashable/~3…
— Jonny (@Jonny5isalive1) April 15, 2013
— Kathryn Ashby (@kj_ashby) April 15, 2013
— Design4Change (@Design4Change_) April 15, 2013
Be safe you are Texting and Walking!!! fb.me/1IBLnvsM1
— nTelos Wireless(@ntelosva) April 15, 2013
I know I would……Who else would get this? ow.ly/k5Bvf
— Sound Tracks (@SoundTracksFest) April 15, 2013
— Matthew Zageris (@matthewzageris) April 15, 2013
RT (at)mashable 安全なテキストメッセージ歩きながら？ @ techreview経由でそのon.mash.to/XNi8PCのAppがあるかもしれません
— Transtter (@transtter2) April 15, 2013
Yap, hoje em dia há mesmo apps para tudo xD mashable.com/2013/04/15/cra…
— Catarina Vieito (@catvieito) April 15, 2013
— Baby Fritz! (@YoSoyFritz) April 15, 2013
— Kelly Dern (@kellydern) April 15, 2013
— Tricia Wilkerson (@twilkerstfd) April 15, 2013
Here’s an app that helps you safely walk & text, without the worry of face planting into a pole mashable.com/2013/04/15/cra…
— Initiative U.S. (@InitiativeUS) April 15, 2013
Ever walked into a wall while texting? Then this app may be for you! on.mash.to/137RLCq
— Onefatsheep (@Onefatsheep) April 16, 2013
— David Hotchkiss (@davidhotchkiss) April 16, 2013
— Jennifer Wong (@wojennifer) April 16, 2013
— Ingeborg Reiersgård (@Ingeborgar) April 16, 2013
— Priyam Chakraborty (@cpriyam) April 16, 2013
— Saad Bashir (@msaadbashir) April 16, 2013
— Shruthi (@shruthirameshan) April 16, 2013
If you’re one of those who recently banged your head against a road sign while checking your Twitter feed, this… fb.me/2lMMmG8NM
— Rantau PR (@RantauPR) April 16, 2013
— Digital_MY (@Digital_MY) April 16, 2013
No more hitting that pole when your texting and walking!ow.ly/k6kpD
— DejaVuDubai (@DejaVuDubai) April 16, 2013
Walking and texting and subsequently walking into a lampost… could be a thing of the past if this app is developed tiny.cc/v7mmvw
— Carphone Ireland (@CarphoneIE) April 16, 2013
— Horizon Blue (@HorizonEternity) April 16, 2013
CrashAlert — технология для безопасной текстовой переписки на ходу: Ученые из университета штата Манитоба (Канада… goo.gl/fb/zAkZO
— soft_komputer (@soft_komputer) April 16, 2013
People will never stop texting while walking! Technology can help.on.mash.to/13eYV7N
— Health for America (@health4america) April 16, 2013
— Holly Nielsen (@HollyNielsen) April 16, 2013
Now here’s an app that might make texting while walking a whole lot easier (and safer too!) ow.ly/k6LSb
— Delta Media Inc. (@DeltaMediaPR) April 16, 2013
But does it detect open manhole covers? => Safe Texting While Walking:There May Be an App for That on.mash.to/12hJaOH
— Michael Jones (@TulsaMJ) April 16, 2013
— Kelsey Van Vechten (@kelsveevee) April 16, 2013
— Tyler Cook (@TylerLCook) April 16, 2013
I personally LOVE this one
— Martin Weinberg (@MartinWeinberg) April 17, 2013
Safe Texting While Walking? There May Be an App for That! Great, no more walking into doors! ow.ly/kbzMz
— Chenine G(@ChenineG) April 19, 2013
In this video Aurelien Tabard presents our work on TIDE at the FITG 2012 seminar in Paris.
This is a nice take on the project!
In this post I am planning to collect information about how to do a literary review for HCI projects. The idea for this review is not that of a systematic literature review paper. But a more relaxed version of it that can used to report in a related-work section of an HCI/Ubicomp/UIST paper, and yet be illustrative enough of the state of the art within a certain research path. This post is not a definitive guide, it’s rather a collection of thoughts and experiences that I plan to nurture over time.
Systematic Literature Reviews are great tools when embarking on a extended research effort like a PhD or a group project. Very common in other sciences like the natural sciences and medicine, within computer science and engineering I have found only references to them from the field of Software Engineering. And it’s from Kitchenham’s work  that I derive the guidelines for this post. Kitchenham’s concludes her report with a list of the most important steps to undertake. In this posts I propose a series of steps based on Kitchenham’s, and discuss what they entail.
- Research Question
- Search Strategy
- Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria
- Data Collection
- Data Coding
- Data Synthesis
The first step is defining the research question. Some might say: well, sometimes you don’t know what the research question is until you’ve delved into the area sometime. My answer is: right, but at that point you aren’t writing your CHI paper yet! Anyway, human-computer interaction is a very wide field and each particular area has developed its own methods and relevant research questions. From my experience, a sub-set of research questions that come up once and again are: 1) what’s the effect of a novel technology? 2) what’s the frequency or rate of a factor like the adoption of a technology? 3) presenting a novel technology and devise the possible scenarios in which it could be used presenting initial user feedback or other advantages like simplicity or robustness over previous options. 4) what’s the cost and risks factors associated with a certain novel technology?
The second step is defining the search strategy. Here, the authors identify the search terms that define search terms of related work, terms that will be looked for in the titles and abstracts of potential papers for the review. Particularly for emerging topics, it’s important to be familiar with the different names used for the same phenomena/problem and include them all in the search. Next, the authors are to define the sources for their search which will include online databases like the ACM digital library and Google Scholar, but also complete proceedings and journals. The advantage of not relaying entirely on the online databases is that scanning proceedings and journals can produce works where the same problem is named differently, and then provide other search terms. Finally, following on established research groups and researchers can show unpublished studies (like technical reports) and the evolution of a topic/problem into novel research spaces.
The third step is the definition of clear inclusion/exclusion criteria: their main goal is to help identify the primary studies in relation to the problem and their actual relevance. Here, researchers can look at the kind of paper (system, review, evaluation, design, etc) and their impact (citation count). I have also found it useful to look at less determinant things like the download count and how many copies are found around the web. These criteria could also include things like whether the study has conclusive results, or its internal validity, etc.
The fourth step is defining what kind of data will be collected from each paper. For human-computer interaction and Ubicomp studies, I have found it useful to collect data about the methods they used, the internal and external validity of their experimental setup and results, and an assessment of the quality of the work. Also, an aggregation of the results (if qualitative) and acceptance/rejection of the proposed hypothesis. Finally, in case the paper presents a novel technology or a descriptive study, it’s useful to collect a description of the technology in terms of design dimensions (and their values) and the main topics discovered in the descriptive study.
The fifth step is coding the collected data in order to identify main lines of research and significant results. This coding can take many shapes starting with a tabulation of the surveyed papers (as we did for the InterruptMe design space paper) or a more grounded-theory-inspired kind of coding.
The final step handles the synthesis of the captured data and its aim is to identify what are the gaps and opportunities given the current state of the art. A particular useful thing to look at is the discussion and future work sections of the covered literature (they must have been looked at during the data collection). In the actual paper-writing, this is where you point out how’s your work different than the existing one (either in focus or contribution).
OK, this is the approach I am taking this year. The reader should remember that this is not a fully systematic review like the ones proposed at , but rather a way to cover the state of the art for writing compelling related work sections of CHI/Ubicomp papers. The reader should also remember that this is an iterative process, with several cycles over these steps and with shifts back and forth between them.
 B. Kitchenham. Procedures for performing systematic reviews.
Technical report, Keele University and NICTA, 2004.
I think this video explains it well enough!
For more details please consult the upcoming paper:
J. D. Hincapie-Ramos, M. Esbensen, and M. Kogutowska, “Rapid Prototyping of Tangibles with a Capacitive Mouse,” in The 11th Danish HCI Research Symposium – DHRS2011, November 2011. To Appear. – [pdf (6.6MB)]
This year I attended the UIST conference where I presented our first paper on InterruptMe. It was a very intensive conference I had loads of fun, and met with many interesting people. As I knew I was going to attend anyway I decided to join the student competition, and formed a group together with my colleagues Morten Esbensen and Magdalena Kogutowska.
The problem was “do something cool with the new Microsoft Touch Mouse”. Our proposal was to build a little casing for the mouse, so that it’s multitouch surface could handle multiple inputs (touches) guided to it through wires. This capability together with the wireless communication of the different touches by the mouse and the batteries makes it perfect for rapid prototyping of tangibles.
You can find the guide, the API, and other material here: http://itu.dk/people/mortenq/loki/index.html
The results: we won the first place on the best implementation category.