REAL! Deliverable 1.

For Deliverable 1, I read the following papers:

1. Bolt, R. A. 1980. “Put-that-there” Voice and gesture at the graphics interface. In Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and interactive Techniques (Seattle, Washington, United States, July 14 - 18, 1980). SIGGRAPH '80. ACM, New York, NY, 262-270. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/800250.807503

2. Weiser, M. 1995. The computer for the 21st century. In Human-Computer interaction: Toward the Year 2000, R. M. Baecker, J. Grudin, W. A. Buxton, and S. Greenberg, Eds. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, San Francisco, CA, 933

3. Hollan, J. and Stornetta, S. 1992. Beyond being there. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Monterey, California, United States, May 03 - 07, 1992). P. Bauersfeld, J. Bennett, and G. Lynch, Eds. CHI '92. ACM, New York, NY, 119-125. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/142750.142769

4. Abowd, G. D. and Mynatt, E. D. 2000. Charting past, present, and future research in ubiquitous computing. ACM Trans. Computer.-Hum. Interact. 7, 1 (Mar. 2000), 29-58. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/344949.344988

5. Myers, B., Hudson, S. E., and Pausch, R. 2000. Past, present, and future of user interface software tools. ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 7, 1 (Mar. 2000), 3-28. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/344949.344959

Before reading these papers, Dr. Sprenkle directed me to Harvey Mudd's User Interface course from which I drew “How to Read an Engineering Research Paper” (http://www.cs.ucsd.edu/~wgg/CSE210/howtoread.html.) I have evaluated these papers according to the format suggested and have also included my overall impressions about connections between the papers.


1. Bolt's paper, “Put that there,” approached the problem of improving an interface using speech-recognition by combining speech recognition and position sensing in one interface. In 1980, when Bolt wrote this paper, speech-recognition software was highly limited to the point where it could only recognize a 120-word vocabulary in 5-word “utterances.” Bolt conceptualized the idea of MIT's “Media Room (pictured here), which allowed a user to point to things (the map in the case of the picture) and move objects by both voice activation and gesture. For example, a user might use the command “Put the magenta circle to west of the green diamond.” This command would work without gesture, but he might use gesture to improve the statement and instead say, “Put that there” when pointing to the magenta circle and then pointing west of the green diamond.

While this paper was revolutionary in the technology and conceptualization involved, it seemed weak in application. Only in the ending paragraphs do they actually suggest any application, and these applications were things like “planning a harbor facility” or “moving battalion formations.” These tasks could be done much easier with a different interface. The contributions to the overall field, however, were strong. Here, Bolt is suggesting the combination of interfaces to improve upon each other. Speech-recognition is still not widely used, and I wonder what strategies they might draw from Bolt in improving these interfaces? I also wonder what impact this large, gestural display how on such applications the iPhone or the tabletop computer as those both use gesture for large display?


2. In “The Computer for the 21st Century” Mark Weiser conceptualizes and describes ubiquitous computing. He terms ubiquitous computing as the idea of computers becoming so ingrained in our everyday lives that they become invisible. His proposed solution to meet this goal begins with technology already found at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center: tabs, pads, and boards. Tabs are computers that are around 2 by 2 inches, pads are the size of a piece of paper, and boards are size of chalkboards. He argues with these three devices and, subsequently, with communication between these devices we can begin to integrate computers into our everyday lives.

Weiser’s paper had major implications for the future of computing at the future of HCI. He invented the idea of ubiquitous computing. He was changing the way people thought about computers and beginning to expand beyond the “desktop” metaphor. He questioned where computing could take us exploring both expansions and limitations. My only critique of this paper is his lack of analysis of the social implications ubiquitous computing might have. Two major social critiques stuck out at me: privacy and security. Ensuring that a system is both totally secure and totally private are essential to persuading users to integrate technology into everyday life. Currently there is a problem of trust of technology, and this paper read a bit like Orwell’s 1984. His idea of “tabs” made me think of the US passport controversy. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/15/AR2006091500923.html


3. “Beyond being there” explores the idea of replicating face-to-face communication using technology. The authors suggest that in order to approach this problem, you cannot assess how to replicate “being there” as users will always prefer the real thing, but instead one must consider how to go “beyond being there” by creating a method that users would prefer over face-to-face communication. They address four scenarios that represent “beyond being there”: interest group discussion via web bulletin, social networking via automatic matching of personal internet profiles, anonymous posting via electronic communication, and semisynchronous discussion via email of electronic bulletin board. In each of these cases, users could find reasons to prefer these methods to face-to-face communication.

For me, the take-away message was in their approach to the problem. They wanted to solve a problem in human-computer interaction, but instead of attempting to replicate a human interaction, they assessed the tasks that might be performed and created a new computer-interaction. They wanted users to prefer technology to not using technology, which seems obvious but in concept is novel.


4. It was interesting to read, “Charting Past, Present and Future Research in Ubiquitous Computing” after reading Weiser’s piece on the conceptualization of computing. This paper presented the limitations that the future might present and possible solutions to those problems. The authors were concerned with three areas within ubiquitous computing: natural interfaces, context-aware interfaces, and automated capture and access. They argue that across all three of these topics there will be a push towards continuous ubiquitous computing that demands a new set of approaches. These approaches will continue Weiser’s idea of an “invisible computer” as the authors of this paper describe their prediction of a future “characterized by continuously present, integrative, and unobtrusive interaction.

This paper really made me consider the social implications of ubiquitous computing, as it was one of the major concerns of the paper. The authors brought up an important (again perhaps obvious) point about the “human need” for a type of technology. They warn against developing technology that has no human need, and instead suggest finding a way to improve human lives and then draw upon that idea. This seems obvious, but I can see how easy it would be as researcher to get caught up in developing a novel idea only to find out it is not truly applicable in everyday life. Also, like Weiser’s paper it discussed security and privacy, but did so at a more in depth level. I am still concerned with the privacy and security involved in the system and would be hesitant, as a user, to fully trust what I did not understand.


5. “Past, Present and Future of User Interface Software Tool” was very similar in approach to the previous article as it reviewed the development thus far and explored future implications of user interface software tools. This paper, however, focused on more concrete, rather than theoretical solutions. The authors argue that the user interface must change as our input and output devices change through such technologies as speech-recognition, 3-D processing, mobile devices, and ubiquitous computing. Looking at specific approaches to the design of user interfaces, they suggested that old, seemingly dead-end techniques might prove more useful in light of this new set of problems. The solution that most struck me was the idea of “model based and automatic techniques” for user interface design. The authors detailed how these techniques had become useless because of the “desktop metaphor” standardization, but suggested that they might prove useful in creating high-level interface to be built for multiple devices (desktop and mobile device.)

Highlighting the past and future of the user interface is especially helpful in this stage of my research. These authors allowed me to grasp the problems I may face, and consequently have allowed me to avoid some problems. Not only should the HCI community reevaluate how they design user interfaces, but also they should reevaluate how they think about computers. They are no longer fixed, but rather are changing, dynamic machines.


For deliverable 0, I have achieved a strong foundation in not only previous research developments, but in conceptual ideas and approaches in HCI. One underlying theme I found in each reading was the idea of developing around an “environment.” For the two ubiquitous computing papers (Weiser and Abowd and Mynatt), they were attempting to develop a new environment—one in which computers were seamlessly integrated. For the Abowd/Mynatt paper, they were also concerned with adapting this environment for continuous use. “Beyond Being There” wanted to create an electronic environment that users would prefer over their natural environment. The “Media Room” in Bolt’s work was meant to be an environment in and of itself as well as create an environment with which the user could interact. Finally, Myers, Hudson, and Pausch were addressing the issue designing around an environment rather than around events. In their conclusion they state, “We believe that these new tools will be organized around providing a rich context of information about the user, the devices, and the application’s state, rather than around events.”

While these papers were encouraging, they were also daunting as our environment changes from day to day. HCI seems ever changing; I just hope I can keep up!

==== Journal 1: ====

As I read and collected these papers I ran into a few “problems.” Although this was not really a problem, I had trouble determining which papers to read. I think there much be a better approach out there, but I basically just went to all the major conference sites, HCI course sites of Stanford, MIT, Harvey Mudd, and Berkeley, and searched the ACM with relevant terms looking for papers with a large number of citations. Can't the HCI community agree upon some list of foundational papers? The websites I found that actually did this have not been updated since the 1990's.

My next “problem” was in how to evaluate these papers. I had read some specific research in Computer Science Education from Dr. Quintin I Cutt's at the University of Glasgow while preparing my Marshall Scholarship application materials, and I was often struck by the relevance of some of the ideas in these foundational papers. So what? This fact made we reconsider the process of reading the foundational papers first. If I read the specific topic papers first, then I might find relevant ideas to apply to some topic instead of the other way around. Ultimately, I decided that my original method was best, and that worst comes to worst I can go back and read the foundational papers again (or my summaries! :)) looking for inspiration.

The only real problem I encountered was realizing I was planning to choose a topic without any indication of a problem. I need to find time in my research to evaluate a problem and find a solution rather than blindly develop a hypothesis. Surprisingly, the people in ubiquitous computing seem take this method where they develop a technology and then find an application for it later. I want to find a problem, then attempt to find a solution.

TypeError: array_keys(): Argument #1 ($array) must be of type array, null given

TypeError: array_keys(): Argument #1 ($array) must be of type array, null given

An unforeseen error has occured. This is most likely a bug somewhere. It might be a problem in the discussion plugin.

More info has been written to the DokuWiki error log.