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Category: Research

May 2, 2007

CHI Wednesday notes

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May 1, 2007

CHI Tuesday notes

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March 21, 2007

Extracting 3D faces using morphable models

The video pulls off several tricks that are each, by their own, pretty cool:

  1. Morphable model of the human face that you adjust sliders to deform (e.g. male/female, weight)
  2. Overlaying their morphable model on a photograph (e.g. Tom Hanks) and automatically extracting a 3D model.
  3. Manipulating their 3D model inside the photograph to change posing, facial expression, facial features, etc... as well as adding 3D objects (e.g. hat) to the photo and using the 3D model to correctly determine lighting.

via Table of Malcontents/work e-mail list

May 12, 2005

Give your daughters male names

The Edge is hosting transcript/audio/slides of a debate between Liz Spelke and Steven Pinker badly titled, "The Science of Gender and Science" (if you follow the link, you'll see the title misprinted as "The Gender of Gender and Science").

Pinker (predictably) argues that men innately have abilities that allow them to excel in science/math/engineering (nature), and Spelke argues that the data show that men and women have equal abilities, but are treated differently (nurture).

My friends who've taken classes taught by Pinker have described him as a pompous ass, and in the transcripts that clearly comes through, but even removing my negative reactions to his ass-itude, I still think Spelke does a much more convincing presentation -- of course, they are just throwing different statistical data sets back and forth that have irreconcilable conclusions, so I imagine this may be a case of reading for the data that best supports your given bias.

I'll include one point made by Spelke, which I have seen borne out by a different study involving orchestra auditions, as well as anecdotal stories by d regarding her better performance in getting job interviews due to her boy-ish name:

Spelke: The subjects ... were sent some vitas to evaluate as applicants for a tenure track position. Two different vitas were used in the study. One was a vita of a walk-on-water candidate, best candidate you've ever seen, you would die to have this person on your faculty. The other vita was a middling, average vita among successful candidates. For half the professors, the name on the vita was male, for the other half the name was female. People were asked a series of questions: What do you think about this candidate's research productivity? What do you think about his or her teaching experience? And finally, Would you hire this candidate at your university?

For the walk-on-water candidate, there was no effect of gender labeling on these judgments. I think this finding supports Steve's view that we're dealing with little overt discrimination at universities. It's not as if professors see a female name on a vita and think, I don't want her. When the vita's great, everybody says great, let's hire.

What about the average successful vita, though: that is to say, the kind of vita that professors most often must evaluate? In that case, there were differences. The male was rated as having higher research productivity. These psychologists, Steve's and my colleagues, looked at the same number of publications and thought, "good productivity" when the name was male, and "less good productivity" when the name was female. Same thing for teaching experience. The very same list of courses was seen as good teaching experience when the name was male, and less good teaching experience when the name was female. In answer to the question would they hire the candidate, 70% said yes for the male, 45% for the female. If the decision were made by majority rule, the male would get hired and the female would not.

Edge: THE SCIENCE OF GENDER AND SCIENCE

March 22, 2005

Thumbnails research

I miss Patrick Baudisch's user studies -- not too many research projects let their test subjects play video games in order to contribute to 'science' (see Focus+Context Large Displays). He's been busy since he moved to Microsoft Research, so I thought I'd give his latest research some lovin' (in collaboration with others). Although I can't find any game-based demoes for the projects I've posted below, I hope that he's still keeping his research subjects entertained.

On the small display front, there's Summary Thumbnails, which takes some similar ideas to Popout Prism's, though applied more generally and with larger thumbnails. The gist is that if you are trying to read a Web page on a small display (e.g. PDA), instead of shrinking everything uniformly to fit on the screen, try to summarize the various regions of text and increase the font size -- that way you get a readable summary of the text, rather than an unreadable, but complete, version of the text.

Another project of his that tackles the same issues is Collapse-to-Zoom. Rather than viewing the page as a whole, you can select regions of text that are unimportant, which then disappear, allowing the rest of the page to expand.

fishnetOne other project in a similar vein is Fishnet, which is appropriate for both large and small displays. It is a Web browser that makes the entire page visible in your browser window. In order to accomplish this, it shrinks regions of the page you're not looking at, while still preserving some of the visual structure. It also uses the popout concept from Popout Prism to make it easy to identify portions of the page that contain keyword text that you may be searching for.

Several of his projecs also deal with ways to cope with larger displays. Mouse Ether, for example, makes it easier to drag items with a mouse when you have multiple monitors -- often a mouse cursor will 'jump' between displays because of the different resolutions of the displays. There's also High-Density Cursors, which is an improvement over the Windows mouse trails and addresses the "where is my cursor?" problem. Finally, there's Drag-and-Pop, which is a form of more intelligent drag-and-drop. The system figures out the possible places you could be dragging an item and moves those places closer to you (temporarily), saving you extra hand movement.

December 13, 2004

Congrats PARCers

I'm happy to hear that PARC has made a deal with Fujitsu to commercialize their Obje and "Usable Security" technologies. Congrats!
- Fujitsu and Xerox Unit to Develop Next-Generation Data Networks

November 22, 2004

Yellow's not invisible

Being someone who knows what these "invisible" dots are (in general, not in this specific case), I thought I'd note that they're not "invisible to the naked eye." They're better described as "Little. Yellow. Different." They are dots printed in yellow, when viewed on white paper, are difficult, but not impossible to see. Also, they show up quite well under the right types of light.

If you don't have a color laser handy, you can get a general idea of the concept if you look at recent dollars (i.e. newest $20) and (IIRC) euros. Both have yellow printing on the back that, when scanned in, identifies the image as currency to the scanning program. Each bill has its own unique "constellation." The hiding effect isn't as pronounced on currency, though, as the intent is mainly to make it easy for a copier to pull out the pattern using the appropriate filter.

Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents

August 12, 2004

AAAI Photos: Maze of Carnage

I forgot who set this booth up. I assume it was an obstacle course for search and rescue robots, but as I gazed across the scene and witnessed the disembodied limbs sticking up in the air, waving back and forth, and the mannequins ripped in half in various trapped positions, I couldn't help but think that with a little more red paint they might have a good haunted house for Halloween.

photo

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AAAI Photos: Personal Rover

Although the conference floor was rather sparse with booths, there were two booths that caught my attention: NASA and a Maze of Carnage. The NASA booth had a small playpen with one of their personal rovers that I thought was pretty neat. Its head has a tilting camera that can be programmed to take panoramic photos. Granted, the resulting photo is stitched together horribly, but you forgive the robot for its cuteness.

photo

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May 26, 2004

Blogroll Rank vs. Permalink Rank

overstated.net has posted summary results from his paper Audience, Structure and Authority in the Weblog Community, which analyzes two different rankings of blog popularity: blogroll links (links to the site front page) and permalinks (links to a specific entry). The summary results show that the two are not highly correlated; while some sites like Slashdot, BoingBoing, and MeFi have a high degree of popularity in both, many do not.

(via kottke)

May 12, 2004

Moblogs go the way of the dodo

HP Labs' has posted a study of moblog usage that shows a precipitous drop-off in moblog usage after several weeks. While a drop in use is to be expected in any service (e.g. blogs), only 7% of users continue to use the service after 30 weeks, and by week 4, the median user is posting one photo per week (zero photos per week by week 5). There are several reasons one could use to explain the steep drop:
- moblogging isn't compelling to people
- the moblogging sites don't offer enough features to keep users engaged
- it's too difficult to post photos using a cameraphone
- added: (via dave) cameraphone photos aren't high-quality enough

Given the huge popularity of cameraphones, my best guess is that it's either the second or third reason, and my best hunch is that it's the third. The phone UIs really aren't designed for posting photos to TextAmerica and the like. IMHO, the value that a user gets from posting a single photo is not commensurate with the amount of effort it takes to send the photo to the service. For similar reasons, I can't envision services like Dodgeball surviving the current generation of phones.
05-12-04.moblog.graph.jpg
(via engadget)

Update: should've figured that Josh had a little bit to do with this. I wonder if he used his own moblog as a data point :). I notice his fits the curve well...

March 30, 2004

I/O brush

The i/o brush seems like an interesting blend of computer technology with a traditional medium. Kids point the brush at an interesting color or texture, and then they can "paint" it on an LCD screen. The brush hides a small camera for sampling objects to paint with.

I also think that a nice application of this technology would be for e-mailing grandma your kids latest work of art. A downside of this is that boys are likely to start sampling each other's faces. meta points out though that at least there won't be any messy paint for the teacher to cleanup.

(via engadget)
ten entries to #1000...

March 21, 2004

Funding research labs

There's a entry on /. about AT&T Labs' Brain Drain. I'm posting it here because it mentions the "[for some the last straw was the] loss of free espresso and bottled water." Hmm... seems familiar...

Why can't people who run research labs understand that research cannot exist in the absense of caffeine? The two are inseparable -- most of those researchers spent all of college working on caffeine-powered all nighters. For them, the psychological association between caffeine and determined, scholarly work is inseparable. Is it really worth the several hundred dollars a month to turn your researchers into bitter, decaffeinated zombies?

BTW - I'm very happy that the research lab I work at now provides free Dana Street Coffee. Not only do they understand our caffeine needs, but they give us high quality crack.

March 5, 2004

meme propagation II

Via /. comes this mention of research at HP that is tracking the propagation of memes in blogs.

It would be nice to see something like this become dynamic and available as a real-time resource. It's interesting to see how memes like the visited states meme take off, and the possibility of being able to track a meme back to its sources seems interesting as well. The research only targets URLs, which does not fully constitute a meme, but it should provide interesting results. Maybe in the future someone will be able to track an meme across links/comments/trackback/etc...

November 30, 2003

MS Barney Hack

meta is reading Where the Action Is, so I ended up stumbling upon the author's page on Hacking Barney. If I'd known that people at PARC had done this I would've asked them more about it. The CHI reviews are amusing.
- Hacking Barney

July 16, 2003

"human factor"

Former Asteroids power hitter Josh Tyler is back in the news with some quotes on his e-mail study.

May 20, 2003

Paper: Time Machine Computing

Time-Machine Computing: A Time-centric Approach for the Information Environment
Jun Rekimoto
Sony CSL

This paper is motivated by observations that many users prefer to use the desktop as a spatial organizational area (Malone), instead of using folders and the like. This leads to the inevitable problem of limited desktop space, which in Malone's research was partially solved with the idea of "piles." Freeman et. al have argued that time-oriented approaches (e.g. e-mail) are superior to pure spatial approaches and proposed a one-dimensional timeline system. Rekimoto expands upon both of these observations by trying to create a two-dimensional timeline system that allows for time-based and spatial cues.

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Paper: mediaBLOCKs

mediaBLOCKs: Physical Containers, Transports, and Controls for Online Media [pdf]
Brygg Ullmer, Hiroshi Ishii, and Dylas Glas
Tangible Media Group
MIT Media Lab
SIGGRAPH 98

This is an interesting complement/predecessor of DataTiles.

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Paper: ClearBoard

Iterative Design of Seamless Collaboration Media
Hiroshi Ishii, Minoru Kobayashi, Kazuho Arita

This paper presented several interesting prototypes of computers that you can look "through" to see the person you are collaborating with (imagine standing on opposite sides of a glass wall with markers).

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May 16, 2003

Paper: Using Memory Errors to Attack a Virtual Machine

Using Memory Errors to Attack a Virtual Machine [pdf]
A. Appel and Sudhakar Govindavajhala

This hack is way cool, mainly because it's not just theoretical. Some people at work saw this demonstrated at a recent security conference (see page 9 for the setup). The attack goes as follows: get JVM (or .Net) to load your applet, shine lamp onto the system's memory chips to induce a random bit flip, bit flip modifies pointer in object, object can now write to abitrary portions of memory.

In the practical world, this attack isn't very realistic (you need to have physical access and be able to get the JVM to allocate a huge amount of memory for your objects), but it's still very cool.

Paper: Home Network Security

Home Network Security [html]
Carl M. Ellison Corporate Technology Group, Intel Corporation

This is the worst paper I've read on home networking. It is so far removed from any proper understanding of the home user that it saddens me that this is the basis of Universal Plug-n-Play Security. This is clearly people who design solutions for the corporate space trying to design for a space they've never worked in before.

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May 14, 2003

Paper: InfoStick

InfoStick: an interaction device for Inter-Appliance Computing
Naohiko Kohtake, Jun Rekimoto, and Yuichiro Anzai
Keio University
Sony CSL Interaction Labs

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Paper: Casablanca home communication devices

Casablanca: Designing Social Communication Devices for the Home
Debby Hindus, Scott Mainwaring, Nicole Leduc, Anna Elizabeth Hagstrom and Oliver Bayley
Interval Research Corporation
CHI 2001

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May 13, 2003

Paper: The Active Badge Location System

The Active Badge Location System
Roy Want, Andy Hopper, Veronica Falcao, and Jonathan Gibbons
Olivetti Research Ltd.

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Paper: As we may live

As we may live - Real-world implications of ubiquitous computing [pdf]
Marc Langheinrich, Vlad Coroama, Jurgen Bohn, and Michael Rohs
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Good summary of privacy and ubicomp, including definitions of privacy, privacy motivations, privacy borders, ubicomp economic implications, etc...

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Paper: The Aware Home

The Aware Home: A Living Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing Research [pdf]
Cory D. Kidd, Robert Orr, Gregory D. Abowd, et al
Georgia Institute of Technology

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May 12, 2003

Paper: At Home with the Technology

At Home with the Technology: An Ethnographic Study of a Set-Top-Box Trial
Jon O'Brien, XRCE
and
Tom Rodden, Mark Roucefield, and John Hughes, Lancaster University
ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Sept 1999

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Denim

Denim is a really cool sketch-based UI prototyping tool

May 9, 2003

Paper: 7 Challenges for Home Ubicomp

At Home with Ubiquitous Computing: Seven Challenges
W. Keith Edwards and Rebecca E. Grinter
pdf

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May 8, 2003

Paper: Everyday Computing

Ubicomp Reading: Charting Past, Present, and Future Research in Ubiquitous Computing
Gregory Abowd and Elizabeth Mynatt
Georgia Institute of Technology

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April 27, 2003

iStuff Stuff

Amanda and Bryan start building iStuff. It's some interesting stuff, and you can even build some stuff on your own. (Stuff on iStuff).

April 16, 2003

Article: Synesthesia

I believe this article was linked off slashdot. My main reason for bothering to post it here is that it has this amazing quote:

We also observed one case in which we believe cross activation enables a colorblind synesthete to see numbers tinged with hues he otherwise cannot perceive; charmingly, he refers to these as "Martian colors." Although his retinal color receptors cannot process certain wavelengths, we suggest that his brain color area is working just fine and being cross-activated when he sees numbers.

full article