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Pin & Play and Call - Implementation and Evaluation of a Tangible User Interface (TUI) for Skype

Student(anonymous, Login required)
SupervisorDaniel Röhr
ProfessorProf. Dr.-Ing. Michael Beigl
IBR GroupDUS (Prof. Beigl)
TypeDiploma Thesis
Statusfinished
Start15.06.2007-02.01.2008

Thesis Type:

The thesis can be done as diploma or master's thesis.

The thesis can be done as semester thesis.

The DUS research group:

The Distributed and Ubiquitous Systems (DUS) research group works together with well-known international partners from research and industry in the field of ubiquitous and pervasive computing systems.

Ubiquitous Computing:

A vision of ubiquitous computing is the invisible computer. Computer as visible elements of our environment disappear. To the human user, the environment or everyday things become the user interface. All in one computing systems are substituted by specialized, well-designed appliances. The user no longer has the feeling to interact with a computing system but with common everyday objects in his environment.

Project Description:

Using the Pin & Play platform a physical user interface, a so-called tangible user interface (TUI) for Skype shall be developed. The implementation will be using C# and the .Net development environment running under Windows. The Pin & Play hardware platform which will be used to realize the physical controls is Pin & Play. It is described and demonstrated at www.voodooio.com.

The implementation should allow the user to exploit the advantages of a freely configurable physical user interface (e.g. the placement of the Pin & Play on the substrate, scribbleing on paper above the substrate, ...)

The Pin & Play devices shall represent the graphical user interface of Skype whereever possible and even extend it. Using e.g. the LED of the Pin & Play devices the availability of a contact can be visualized directly on the Pin & Play that represents the contact. Pressing the button then initiates the connection. The contacts can be visually and physically organized, e.g. the basic color of a pin symbolizes the type of contact (e.g. personal, business, ...), and a printed image on the button's head shows the person's face. These button can be grouped and freely arranged on the surface. Also, scribbling of notes is possible on a paper overlay of the substrate.

The implementation will be analyzed by a user study. Here, the user behavior and system usage will be researched on the following aspects:

  • speed comparison of the task "calling person X" between TUI and GUI
  • usage behavior and usage of the physical aspects of the user interface
  • usability aspects

The study will be held over a two weeks time frame. The participants will ideally NOT be computer science students (or of related natural sciences), but "ordinary" people using Skype for their communication. This will help ensuring that there is no special technology affection by the participants which could influence the results of the study.

A basic working implementation in C# already exists.

We request:

  • communication skills, creativity, self and time management
  • fluent German language skill, English a plus
  • Willingness to acquire new knowledge and its application
  • Personal initiative and presence in the research lab


last changed 2008-07-16, 11:55 by Daniel Röhr
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