Interacting with Smart Objects: a Workshop

A few weeks ago we were talking about the importance of evaluating WoT applications with real-users as they might(/surely do) have expectations that are tremendously different to our geeky notion of what are useful applications of a Web of Things.
Well today I wanted to share with you a venue that might go towards this directly as it is specifically looking at HCI and human aspects of smart things, enjoy the CFP:

Workshop on Interacting with Smart Objects
at IUI 2011
Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA

February 13th 2011

There is this undeniable ongoing trend to put computing capabilities into everyday objects and places. Well known examples range from smart kitchen appliances and objects (smart coffee machines, smart knifes and cutting boards) up to smart meeting rooms and even city-wide infrastructures.

These smart objects are fully functional on their own, but added value is obtained through communication and distributed reasoning. While other venues have focused on the many technical challenges of implementing smart objects, far less research has been done on the topic of how the intelligence situated in these smart objects can be applied to improve their interaction with the users. This field of study poses unique challenges and opportunities for designing smart interaction.

Smart objects typically have only very limited interaction capabilities. Yet, their behavior exhibits an amazing amount of intelligence. For example, several digital cameras are able to recognize faces in a scene automatically and adjust the focus accordingly. For first time users this can be quite surprising, and for experts this is a feature they probably want to turn off. The challenge is to design intuitive interaction with smart objects in a way the user feels in control of the smart object and understands the behavior and capabilities of the object.

Interaction with smart objects is situated in the physical environment of the user, i.e., it does not take necessarily takes place in a desktop setting. A smart object often uses additional cues from its context to improve the interaction with the user, thereby, making the interaction between user and smart object feel more natural. Furthermore, a smart object is a physical object which allows to exploit approaches from tangible and embodied interaction to enhance the interaction.

The aim of this workshop is to leverage the discussion on the design of the interaction with smart objects. Thereby, we want to bring together researchers from all related fields like human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing and psychology.

We seek high quality contributions that explore the combination of intelligent interaction with the specific characteristics of smart objects, including but not limited to:
– novel interaction concepts for smart objects
– self-explanatory smart objects
– multimodal and adapted interaction
– context-awareness
– embodied and tangible interaction
– intelligibility of smart objects
– user studies and evaluation techniques
– technology and models required for enabling the interaction with smart objects

Our goal is to leverage the discussion between researches from several disciplines and thus to advance the research of interacting with smart objects. To stimulate discussion between the workshop participants we plan a poster and demo session. We want to spark further discussions during in-depth discussions on selected topics. We accept submissions in the following categories:

– position paper (2 pages)
– short papers / demo papers (4 pages)
– full papers (6 pages)

Submission Deadline: November 12, 2010
Author Notification: December 12, 2010
Camera-Ready versions: December 19, 2010
Workshop: February 13, 2011

– Melanie Hartmann, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany
– Daniel Schreiber, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany
– Oliver Brdiczka, Palo Alto Research Center, USA
– Kris Luyten, Hasselt University, Belgium
– Max Mühlhäuser, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany

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