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Scalable Interaction Paradigms for Pervasive Computing Environments
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
The computers of our day-to-day environments including notebooks, smartphones, desktop computers, cars, intelligent lighting, and multi-room entertainment systems offer a plethora of interaction techniques using touch, voice, mouse, gestures, or gaze. While they are each consistent in itself, they are nevertheless slightly different, which leads to errors, increased time to learn and often frustration. The shift from interacting with dedicated "computers" to interacting with distributed ensembles of computational devices (so-called pervasive computing environments, PCE) will fundamentally change our understanding of interacting with a "system" in which almost any action turns into "operating a computer." While the trend towards PCE is already apparent, we have a scant understanding of scalable interaction paradigms, when the number, diversity and complexity of devices increase. At the same time PCE include more and more interactions which connect physically distributed users and devices. This virtualisation and distribution of pervasive computing environments poses additional new research challenges as the interaction paradigms potentially have to scale to a dramatically increased number of users.
The overarching research question of this Priority Programme is to understand the nature of interaction with large and complex pervasive computing environments and to explore suitable interaction paradigms.
For this Priority Programme, we expect comprehensive research proposals, which take the specific challenges of future PCE into account. A dedicated focus should be on the quality of the emerging interaction in terms of efficiency, experience and well-being. This also requires developing dedicated methods and tools to support the design and the evaluation of interaction paradigms for PCE.
All in all, projects in the Priority Programme will cover thematic areas, called "Themes":
- Theme 1: Design of efficient and meaningful scalable interaction paradigms
How do existing interaction paradigms scale to pervasive computing environments? What are the characteristics of interaction paradigms that can be used across devices and domains? How to ensure that interaction paradigms can be used independently of the context but still consider the context-induced restrictions? Are there fundamental limitations that prevent the adoption of a single pervasive interaction paradigm? How to address issues of efficiency as well as broader aspects of meaning through these interaction paradigms?
- Theme 2: Rigorous and robust evaluation of scalable interaction paradigms
How to evaluate interaction techniques that are supposed to work across a range of devices and domains? Can there be standardised study methods to evaluate interaction paradigms for pervasive computing environments? What are the methods to evaluate interaction paradigms in-situ? How far can we extend unsupervised observation techniques by modern sensor technology to reach a reliable understanding of the usage of pervasive computing environments? Can model-based simulation of user interaction speed up the design phase and enable to select promising interaction designs early in the design process?
- Theme 3: Assessment of the success of interaction paradigms
What are the metrics that measure and describe actual success, effectiveness, and satisfaction in pervasive computing environments? What is the score and value under which we rate a design effective and efficient but also meaningful and pleasant for an individual? What is a good balance between traditional performance metrics such as task performance and error rate versus user experience, joy of use, and well-being? What are meaningful testbeds to verify the results?
The Priority Programme further implements two obligatory mechanisms to ensure the cohesion and cross-fertilisation among projects: (1) reference scenarios and (2) tandem projects.
At least one of three reference scenarios should be addressed within the proposals:
- Personal smart spaces: A personal smart space is a private and intimate place familiar to the individual. This can be the user's body along with its surroundings, or a physical space, e.g., in the home, which is shared with family and friends and only rarely with strangers. There already exists an ensemble of interactive devices in this type of space, consisting of wearable devices, entertainment devices, the smart home or devices brought by guests.
- Public smart spaces: A public smart space, e.g., a registration office or lecture theater, is often unfamiliar to the individual. It is shared with strangers. There already exists an ensemble of interactive devices in this type of space, consisting of multiple interactive displays, cameras, sensors, and actuator technology.
- Smart control rooms: Control rooms are dedicated spaces. They already contain ensembles of devices of varying nature and functionality, which jointly contribute to professional and potentially safety-critical tasks. In contrast to other spaces, control rooms provide a controlled setting, dedicated roles of the operators as well as clear tasks, routines, and goals for the operators.
Importantly, our vision of scalable interaction also includes a transition between such spaces, or their virtual connection. That is, scalability expands to dimensions of intimacy/publicity or of private/professional usage.
2. Tandem projects each involve researchers from two different research groups. They should jointly and complementary address two of the three research themes (T1 and T2 or T1 and T3) pointed out above. These themes should be explicitly addressed in each of the tandem projects. Thus, projects will join expertise in novel interaction paradigms for PCE either with novel evaluation methods or novel metrics for assessing the quality of the interaction. Each tandem project must also be embedded in at least one of the three reference scenarios provided above.
Further Information: