UBISS 2015: Workshops & Instructors

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Workshop A: SENSOR-BASED INTELLIGENT MOBILE INTERFACES

Maximum number of students to be enrolled to the workshop: 24

Today’s mobile phones have a range of built-in sensors and powerful processing capabilities. This allows apps to leverage sensor data from for example accelerometers, touchscreens, microphones and RGB cameras, in order to infer contextual data (such as the user’s emotional state) or to allow users new interactions (such as gestures). This workshop teaches students how to use mobile phone sensors and algorithms from for instance the machine learning field to design compelling intelligent interactive systems.

In this workshop students will learn how to build user interfaces in Android that respond to a range of sensor data. Students will also be introduced to the theory and design principles critical for building compelling intelligent interactive systems. The workshop will demonstrate how to go from theory to practice by providing step-by-step instructions that detail how to build compelling sensor-based mobile user interfaces.

Students will be tasked with designing and implementing an Android user interface which responds to sensor data in a non-trivial manner. The implementation should be robust to noise and demonstrate awareness of the design principles that have been covered in the workshop.

After the workshop the student will understand the basics of intelligent interactive systems design for mobile devices. Student will be able to build user interfaces in Android that respond to mobile phone sensor data in a sensible manner. Student will also be aware of the theory and design principles that serve as a foundation for intelligent interactive system design.

The typical student has a background in computer science, psychology, cognitive science, engineering, or related field, and should have working knowledge in how to program using Java, including programming a graphical user interface using Java. Previous Android programming experience is beneficial but will not be assumed. The workshop will include primer for students without Android experience. Some mathematical background is beneficial for a complete understanding of the algorithms involved, however no particular mathematical skills are required to build the implementation.

Instructor: Dr. Per Ola Kristensson, University of Cambridge, UK

Per Ola Kristensson

Per Ola Kristensson is a University Lecturer in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge where he leads the Intelligent Interactive Systems group. He is interested in designing intelligent interactive systems that enable people to be more creative, expressive and satisfied in their daily lives. His PhD thesis was on gesture keyboard technology for touchscreens and in 2007 he co-founded ShapeWriter, Inc. to commercialise this technology. He was the Director of Engineering of this company until it was acquired by Nuance Communications in 2010. ShapeWriter was selected as the 8th best iPhone application by Time magazine in 2008 and won a Google Android ADC50 developer award in the same year. He did his doctoral work at the Institute of Technology at Linköping University, Sweden and at IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, USA (Ph.D. Computer Science 2007). In 2008-2011 he was a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge (Darwin College) and in 2011-2014 he was a Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. He is an Honorary Associate Professor (Docent) in Computer and Systems Science at Stockholm University, Sweden and an Honorary Reader at the University of St Andrews. In 2013 he was recognised as an Innovator Under 35 (TR35) by MIT Technology Review and appointed a Member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland. In 2014 he won the ACM User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) Lasting Impact Award and the Royal Society of Edinburgh Early Career Prize in Physical Sciences, the Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane Medal. He is an Associate Editor of ACM Transactions on Intelligent Interactive Systems and the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. He also serves as a Programme Co-Chair for the ACM Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI 2015) and has served as an Associate Chair for CHI 2010, 2012-2015 and as a Faculty Member at the 2010 and 2012 CHI Doctoral Consortia.

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Workshop B: DESIGN FICTIONS FOR DATA GEOGRAPHIES

Maximum number of students to be enrolled to the workshop: 15

Information today is embedded within and distributed across a variety of urban and exurban geographies. Indeed, it has become difficult to point to situations where information systems do not play a direct or indirect role in the disposition of physical features of the city and its surroundings, or of human activity as it affects and is affected by them. These geographies of information are increasingly driven by data. Data are the raw material from which they are formed, by which they are constituted, and through which they take shape.

This workshop will probe the urban and exurban geographies of Oulu and investigate the role data plays in how they are organized, disposed, and experienced. Working in small groups, participants will learn how to work with simple sensing devices and sampling techniques to collect data about the environment and how we inhabit it. Visualizations produced from these data will form the basis for the production of short videos that attempt reimagine our relations to these data geographies through fictional narrative scenarios.

Students should have experience in at least one of the following skillsets: programming (Arduino, Processing, D3, etc), data visualization, video editing, narrative storytelling.

Instructor: Associate Professor Mark Shepard, The State University of New York, USA

Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard is an artist and architect whose work addresses contemporary entanglements of technology and urban life.

Recent work includes the Sentient City Survival Kit, a collection of artifacts, spaces and media for survival in the near-future “sentient” city. It has been exhibited at the 13th Venice International Architecture Biennial; Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria; Transmediale, Berlin Germany; The Dutch Electronic Arts Festival (DEAF 2012), Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Haus für elektronische Künst, Basel, Switzerland; Arte.Mov Festival for Mobile Media Art, São Paulo, Brazil; Center for Architecture, New York; the International Architecture Biennial Rotterdam, the Netherlands; LABoral Center for Art and Industrial Creation, Gijon, Spain; ISEA 2010 RUHR, Dortmund Germany, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York. The project received an honorary mention in the Interactive Arts category of the 2011 Prix Ars Electronica and was nominated for the 2011 Transmediale Award.

His Tactical Sound Garden [TSG], an open source software platform for cultivating virtual sound gardens in urban public space, has been presented at museums, festivals and arts events internationally, including the Design Museum, Barcelona; The Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, Maryland; Conflux Festival 2006, Brooklyn, New York; ISEA 2006, San Jose, California; SIGGRAPH 2007, San Diego, California; Futuresonic, Manchester, UK; Sonar Festival, Barcelona, Spain; The Electronic Language International Festival – FILE 2007, São Paolo, Brazil; and the Arte.Mov Festival for Mobile Media Art, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

In 2006 he organized Architecture and Situated Technologies (with Omar Khan and Trebor Scholz), a 3-day symposium bringing together researchers and practitioners from art, architecture, technology and sociology to explore the emerging role of “situated” technologies in the design and inhabitation of the contemporary city. In the fall of 2009, he curated Toward the Sentient City, an exhibition that critically explored the evolving relationship between ubiquitous computing, architecture and urban space. Organized by the Architectural League of New York, this exhibition consisted of five newly commissioned projects by interdisciplinary teams distributed throughout New York City.

His edited book based on the exhibition titled Sentient City: ubiquitous computing, architecture and the future of urban space was published by MIT Press and the Architectural League of New York. He is an editor of the Situated Technologies Pamphlet Series, published by the Architectural League of New York and co-author with Adam Greenfield of the first pamphlet in the series, “Urban Computing and its Discontents.” Other publications include “Structures of Discord (After Balanchine’s Agon)” in Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition, published by the Walker Art Center; “Surviving the Sentient City” in Inscribing a Square: Urban Data as Public Space; “Tactical Sound Garden [TSG] Toolkit”, in 306090 v.9 – Regarding Public Space, published by Princeton Architectural Press; “Situating the Device” and “working title: Industrian Pilz”, in Shark, a Journal of Poetics and Art Criticism, v.1 & 2.

Mark received an MS in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University; an MFA in Combined Media from Hunter College, City University of New York; and a BArch from Cornell University. He is an Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, where he holds a joint appointment in the departments of Architecture and Media Study and directs the
Media Arts and Architecture Program (MAAP). He has been a visiting researcher with the Network Architecture Lab at Studio-X, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation of Columbia University, and a fellow at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in New York.

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Workshop C: DESIGNING GAMES FOR THE BODY

Maximum number of students to be enrolled to the workshop: 20

Digital games are increasingly utilizing sensor technologies that can track the players’ bodies and their movements (e.g. Kinect, Nintendo Wii). Moreover, some of the most used everyday consumer devices (e.g. smartphones) already include sensors that can be used to support new bodily play experiences. This workshop utilizes these sensors and devices but aims to create novel games and play experiences that go beyond what we get served by established game studios, aiming to inspire a future of gaming in which the person’s body is at the centre of the play experience.

This workshop will provide a hands-on exploration of the intersection between play, digital technology and the body. Participants will engage with the complete process of creating digital bodily play experiences, from coming up with the initial play concept to designing a functional prototype of the envisioned play experience. Each thematic session will be introduced by a short lecture followed by practical group work.

Attendees will have learnt the skills and knowledge necessary for designing novel bodily play experiences, allowing them to take their new understanding beyond the workshop so they can create their own body-focused games in the future. Participants will be guided to engage in a research-through-(game)design process in order to be able to submit the result of the workshop to a design competition and/or a research conference.

Students from different disciplines are encouraged to participate in this workshop. Basic skills in some of the following domains might be useful: interaction design, game design, hardware prototyping and programming.

Instructor: Associate Professor Florian 'Floyd' Mueller, RMIT University, Australia

Floyd Mueller

Florian 'Floyd' Mueller directs the Exertion Games Lab at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. The Exertion Games Lab investigates the design of exertion games, these are digital games that require physical effort, in order to understand the opportunities of combining technology, play and the human body. This research is situated within a broader interaction design agenda that supports people’s values such as an active and healthy life. Floyd has been a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, having worked on the topic of exertion games across four continents, including at organizations such as the MIT Media Lab, Media Lab Europe, Fuji-Xerox Palo Alto Laboratories and Xerox Parc. Floyd has also been a Microsoft Research Asia Fellow and has worked at the Microsoft Beijing lab with the research teams developing Xbox Kinect. Previously in Australia, he has worked at the University of Melbourne and was a principal scientist at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), where he led the Connecting People team of 12 researchers.

Floyd’s work has been shortlisted for the European Innovation Games Award (next to Nintendo's WiiFit), has won the Nokia Mindtrek Ubimedia Award, and was commissioned by Wired's Nextfest. His games were played by over 20,000 players across 3 continents and were featured on the BBC, ABC, Discovery Science Channel and Wired magazine.

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Workshop D: 3D WEB AND OPEN DATA FOR SMART CITIES HACKATHON

Maximum number of students to be enrolled to the workshop: 24

In recent years 3D graphics has become a more feasible and a more important part of the multimedia experience in the world wide web. Today, WebGL allows rendering interactive 3D graphics in modern web browsers with GPU acceleration. Application development for 3D web is enticed by the facts that (1) web browsers are available for all major platforms including mobile devices, and (2) a web application typically does not require the user to install or update any software or libraries other than the web browser. A number of 3D web applications have been developed for various domains from information visualization to games, architecture and cultural heritage. This hackathon style workshop focuses on the particular application domain of “smart cities”, where 3D virtual city models are coupled with open data sources (e.g. buildings, services, traffic, weather, IoT) into novel prototype applications using 3D web technologies.

The workshop first provides an overview of the 3D web technology landscape, including WebGL, three.js, the basics of 3D modeling applications (Blender, SketchUp), and the workflow from creation to runtime engines. A special emphasis is placed on the technologies developed in Oulu, i.e. the realXtend open source platform for creating real-time networked multi-user 3D environments, the FIWARE Advanced Web-based User Interface Generic Enablers, and the Meshmoon hosting service for creating and hosting multi-user 3D spaces for free. To bootstrap the hacking, the workshop participants are provided with the “Virtual Oulu” 3D model of downtown Oulu and a number of open data sources. In terms of 3D UI devices, the participants have access to Oculus Rift VR headsets and a CAVE. The participants are grouped into project teams of 3-4 students that each brainstorm, design and implement their own prototype, including 3D web programming, 3D content production and 3D UI design. For an example of such a prototype, check out the “Virtual Helsinki” FIWARE demo exploiting multiple FIWARE Generic Enablers. The source code of the prototype is available at https://github.com/playsign/fidemo/ and is licensed as open source for the code and with creative commons licenses for graphics.

Prospective students should have expertise in at least one of the following areas: 3D web programming, 3D content production, 3D UI design.

The project teams producing particularly “successful” prototypes will be offered the opportunity to (1) to “sell” their prototype for real-world deployment in “Virtual Oulu” for a one-time fee, and (2) collaborate with the University of Oulu researchers on conducting a field trial for the purpose of collecting research data on their prototype.

Coordinator: Professor Timo 'Timppa' Ojala, University of Oulu, Finland

Timo Ojala

Timo "Timppa" Ojala is a Professor of Computer Science at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Oulu, Finland. Timppa leads the Urban Computing and Cultures research group and the UBI (UrBan Interactions) research program that have conducted a longitudinal and multidisciplinary study of ubiquitous computing systems with real users in authentic urban setting at the Open UBI Oulu civic laboratory deployed at downtown Oulu. This "in the wild" exploration commenced over ten years ago and has imposed a visible and lasting change on the Oulu cityscape in form of the city-wide panOULU WLAN network providing open and free wireless Internet access to the general public, and the UBI-hotspots, the network of large interactive public displays deployed around Oulu, for example. During the past couple of years Timppa has coordinated the design and implementation of "Virtual Oulu", a detailed 3D virtual model of downtown Oulu implemented atop the realXtend open source platform and hosted in the Meshmoon hosting service. While Timppa coordinates the execution of the hackathon, the technological know-how and hands-on guidance of the project teams is provided by a team of industry professionals that have intimate knowledge of the technologies and software platforms used in the hackathon.

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