Monthly Archives: January 2012

Microsoft Office Labs vision 2019

A very interesting video on what Microsoft views what interaction will be like in 2019

“Home Networking” paper

I read “Home Networking and HCI: What Hath God Wrought?” by Erika Shehan and W. Keith Edwards. This paper is about making easier the installation and maintenance of a home network. It is a collection of ideas of how we could change the networks technically, and what we could do to achieve this goal.

I chose this paper because of the two key words of the title. Networking, as Brian  explained during his presentation of the Aware Home, is at the center of the idea of creating a smart home in Georgia Tech. As for HCI, it is a fields into whcih I am very interested, and I thought it could be nice to read ideas about how the home networking experience could be improved from an HCI point of view.

I was a bit disappointed by the HCI part of the paper, as there is not so much material about that. However I found the paper very interesting because unlike many other papers that try to create a brand new product, this one focuses on making something more robust. I think that answering the questions they raise has to be done in order to have a chance to see products from the Aware Home implemented in real houses.

Detecting Human Movement by Differential Air Pressure Sensing in HVAC System Ductwork: An Exploration in Infrastructure Mediated Sensing

This paper was about adding sensors to the infrastructure of the home to do motion sensing, In particular adding them to the air filter in the HVAC Systems in homes. They installed five sensors to measure the change in the total static pressure, which is a measure of the resistance on the HVAC’s blower. The static pressure is affected by changes in the airflow back to the unit. Through this, the sensors were able to detect changes in the homes such as doors opening and closing and people standing in the doorways.

I chose this paper for a few reasons. First of all, this paper was assigned as an additional reading in Mobile Ubiquitous Computing last semester, and I wasn’t able to read it. Another reason was that I like the idea of adding sensors to the infrastructure of an environment instead of to the objects in the environment.

The paper is well written and presented but there are some obvious limitations to the practical use of the system. The system can sense the pressure changes due to doors being opened and closed and if adults are standing in doorways, but sensing movement in the rooms themselves isn’t feasible.

Vision Video for Smart Home

Each team please use coordinate and collaborate to produce the Vision video of a Smart Home in 2200.

Pipeline tool is at

The content of the video should include

* team name, theme, credits

* design the technology and interaction for a day for residents in the Smart Home – suggest 5 characters (mom, dad, grandma, boy, girl) – could substitute anyone to any other character – pet, robot, alien, bug, etc.

* design the software or hardware technology demo (rapid prototype, mock-up, screen shots, wizard of oz, etc) and the narrative and interaction for the characers and produce scenario video (hand drawn, cad, photoshop, stop motion video, real life acting, etc)

* combine all video together in any format – single narrative, co-existence, parallel universe, brady-bunch style multiple windows, or TV series 24

Video screening to be Feb 7th in class

Ubiquitous Computing

Readings (to discuss 1/31)

  • Gregory D. Abowd, Elizabeth D. Mynatt, 2000, Charting Past, Present and Future Research in Ubiquitous Computing, in ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 7(1):29-58

“What was I cooking?” Paper

I read the What Was I Cooking?  Towards Deja Vu Displays of Everyday Memory paper by Quan Tran and Elizabeth Mynatt.  This paper looked into creating a visual collage of the cooking process to help a chef’s memory.  Unfortunately the results feel inconclusive from this paper, and I would like to see an extended study done.

The reason I chose this paper is primarily to do with the close tie in to the kitchen.  I’m planning on doing a project related to the kitchen, and wanted to see what sort of issues this research brought to light.  Specifically I found the prospect that having cameras in the kitchen area might be detrimental to privacy interesting and will need to take that into consideration.

In terms of being a memory aid, I found this paper to be somewhat limited in usefulness, as I don’t feel the rigor of the test case really showed adequate results.  That being said, a few ideas of mine plan on using similar situational awareness techniques, such as using video feed to display current and recent states of the kitchen.  Thus there were some benefits to reading this paper, just not as much as I would have liked.  On a side note, there were two other papers that dealt with the kitchen, both followups to this paper.  It should be noted that the links to these papers were removed, and should be updated.

“TrackSense: Infrastructure Free Precise Indoor Positioning using Projected Patterns ” Paper

I read the paper on how it is possible to have a portable device that can identify its exact location in a room within a few centimeters. The device built for this uses a webcam and projector to identify location. The projector can display a grid on the wall in front of the camera, and using the geometry of the grid, identify the location and orientation of the camera relative to that wall.

I found this paper interesting because it is possible that components of a smart home may have some behavior based on where they are in the home. Devices such as the Roomba could already have a use for a device that can give the roomba an exact location in the room. Also, this particular technology does not require an infrastructure in the room, so houses would not have to be built with the devices in mind.

The biggest downside with the current device mentioned in this paper is that the prototype was fairly large and cumbersome. This would make adding to other devices and robots difficult. However, the paper did propose many methods of shrinking the device to something more usable. One such possibility would be to use some sort of laser projector that can be much smaller and use much less power than a traditional projector.