Roderick Murray-Smith, Hamilton Institute, NUI Maynooth
Project Code: 05/RF/CMS052
Principal Investigator Details and contact information:
Name: Roderick Murray-Smith
Dept: Hamilton Institute
Institution: NUI Maynooth, Maynooth, Co. Kildare
This project will develop a novel approach to interaction design, based on closed-loop system design and probabilistic reasoning. The approach makes interaction into a negotiation process, and is especially relevant for systems instrumented with sensors. It includes a dynamic simulation approach to gestural interaction which improves learnability, and robustness to user variability, while allowing users to become 'masters' with fluent, skilled ability to navigate information spaces in a continuous fashion. We shall build on our current sensor platform to create and test applications in spatial and gesturally controlled systems, with multimodal feedback.
This proposal addresses the problem of how to build natural, easy-to-use interfaces for computers which can sense continuous motion, especially for small, mobile computers such as mobile telephones, Pocket PCs/PDAs and music players. We will investigate how an approach based on dynamic systems theory, probabilistic reasoning and control theory can use multimodal feedback to create a new way of solving these problems, through ‘Negotiated Interaction’.
This work has wide-ranging implications for Human-Computer interaction (HCI) in general, but is especially important for the rapidly growing area of mobile computing. The work will investigate the extent to which the approach may enable users to sense and make sense of digital information related to phenomena in their environment such as places, routes, events and people. A useful and usable system needs to be able to model and accommodate the uncertainty relating to the relationships between the user and the phenomena, relationships that can vary dynamically and involve complex interactions of location, time and value.
Richer sensors are already entering consumer products, e.g. the Nokia 3220, a low-end phone has a 2-axis accelerometer, Samsung released the first gesture recognition phone this year (SCH-310), and Sony has released a new gesture game control. The framework for development of interaction based around such systems, is however, still a discrete event-based framework, which is ill-suited to the continuous interaction and rich feedback which such systems potentially allow, and the lack of compelling software development for this mass-market potential emphasises the need for a new approach to interaction design away from the desktop for continuous interaction systems, especially if we are to make such systems rewarding to use. Our probabilistic, dynamic framework allows us to make use of the continuous control actions humans have evolved to perform on the physical world. Now, though, we can apply these to rich abstractions such as multidimensional, structured probability density functions as if they were tangible objects. So, the likelihood of a route being interesting to a user can be represented probabilistically with respect to their proximity to it, the route’s attributes and the way the user reacts to cues given by the system to suggest how they might explore it. This is of theoretical interest to interaction design research in general, as we are going to the heart of interaction design and proposing a fundamentally new approach to it. The approach supports designers both in the intricate, low-level detail of the look and feel of interaction, analysing both the human actions and feedback to human perception, and can also incorporate probabilistic information from high-level context detection, such as Bayesian network context estimates.
One Post-Doctoral Researcher will be required, for two years, earning €45k per year, based at the Hamilton Institute, in Maynooth, Ireland, to explore this area. The post-doctoral researcher will work under the guidance of the Principal Invesitator Roderick Murray-Smith. The Hamilton Institute is a multi-disciplinary research centre formally established at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth in November 2001. The Institute seeks to provide a bridge between mathematics and its applications in information and communication technologies and biology.
As part of the post-doc’s research, he or she will build a hand-held, location-aware system which has rich audio and vibrotactile feedback. We will create an experimental environment (indoors and outdoors) for the testing of the implementation of our theoretical ideas. Our prototype system will be location-aware (GPS, with magnetometer for bearing information), with high-resolution multi-sensor inertial sensing, multimodal feedback (two vibrators, audio & screen), Wireless networked, and allowing multiple users to interact simultaneously with each other, and with networked resources in the environment. We will use two or more matchbox-sized ‘SHAKE’ Bluetooth sensor packs per person (developed by SAMH engineering, Blackrock, together with our group, as part of a consortium including Swansea, Glasgow and QUB Universities) on head or second hand, so that bimanual, and head-gesture interaction can be combined with the inertial sensing of the basic sensor pack. We will create virtual environments in parallel with outdoor environments, which allow us to test a range of features in our system.
Applications are invited from well qualified candidates for a two year post-doctoral position at the Hamilton Institute.
The successful candidate will be outstanding researchers who can demonstrate an exceptional research track record or significant research potential at international level. We are looking for self-motivated, innovative researchers, who are able to take fundamental, novel ideas for interaction design and create prototype systems to test them, and run user evaluations to judge the quality of the ideas. A strong commitment to research excellence, an ability to work in an interdisciplinary team, mathematical modeling skills and programming ability are very important. Successful candidate will probably have background in one or more of: control theory, signal processing and human-computer interaction design.
Successful candidates will be expected to take up their posts no later September 1st, 2006. Appointments will be at €45000 p/a. Informal enquires regarding the posts can be made to Roderick Murray-Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org). Applications with cv including contact details of three referees and two significant papers should be sent electronically to:
Project: A dynamic systems approach to Negotiated Interaction on mobile devices
Project Description: This project will develop a novel approach to interaction design, based on closed-loop system design and probabilistic reasoning. The approach makes interaction into a negotiation process, and is especially relevant for systems instrumented with sensors. It includes a dynamic simulation approach to gestural interaction which improves learnability, and robustness to user variability, while allowing users to become 'masters' with fluent, skilled ability to navigate information spaces in a continuous fashion. We shall build on our current sensor platform to create and test applications in spatial and gesturally controlled systems, with multimodal (vibrotactile and audio) feedback. The implementation will be primarily in C/Python on PocketPCs, and Series60 Nokia telephones, with sensor packs. For examples of the group's research, papers and videos of existing demonstrations, please see http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~rod
to be received no later that 1st July, 2006.