First Conference on HCI for Mobile Devices
Glasgow University (21st - 22nd May 1998)
This was a two day conference arranged by the Glasgow Interactive Systems Team of
Glasgow University led by Prof Chris Johnson. 14 papers were presented in a single stream,
almost all of them by British academics. Henk, PhilN and JimBR attended the conference on
behalf of our wearables group.
Many speakers focussed on the HCI problems that come with designing interfaces for
mobile devices and called for "better models" to describe mobile scenarios.
However, our favourite papers were less theoretical and more practical, describing real
systems and offering pragmatic, example solutions to HCI and engineering issues. The best
- Lancaster University's Tourist Guide system (Nigel Davies). This project combined
subnotebook devices, GPS and microcell wireless connectivity to make a handheld viewer for
Lancater's tourists. It is interesting both as a 'proof of concept' of a context-based
application and for its microcellular wireless architecture ("WaveLAN", operates
at 2.4GHz delivers up to 2Mbps per cell), which could provide useful coarse grain location
information to receivers. The guide system differs from Georgia Tech's CyberGuide
principally in that tourist information is stored on the internet rather than locally.
- Ericsson's virtual keyboard study (Michael Goldstein). User performace for various
keyboard devices were compared. Most interestingly they did their own informal 'wizard of
oz' study of the performance of touch typists typing in thin air (on a desk) without a
keyboard(!). Results were gleaned by manual inspection of video data from the typists
hands. They found that touch typists could achieve 81% of normal keyboard speeds at first
attempt (Live survey found that only 25% of audience could touch type!). Discussed various
methods of sensing input at the non-keyboard, but nothing was built. Also looked at
another device suitable for touch typists: a ten button keyboard using software
disambiguation based around dictionary look up.
The main value of this conference was the opportunity to meet other people active in
- Neil Watkinson from BT labs. Working mainly
on networks for mobile systems (UMTS), but also conversant with most of the wearable
issues and prepared to broker contacts with others in BTRL.
- Johnny Farringdon from Philips
Research. Joined Philips about 6 months ago from UCL. New in the wearable field. Johnny is
one of about four full time researchers working as a team with the charter of exploring
wearables. Leo Poll, who we met at ISWC97, is only working part time with the project.
Their wearable project has been going full time for about a year so far and is still
trying to settle its research agenda. At present they are apparently pursuing some twenty
different directions! The team comprises 3 people working in software areas (including
Johnny) and these maybe more open to collaboration. They have recently taken on low level
software/ hardware skills and this area is more company confidential.
- Bob Rosenberg from UCL. Just completed a
PhD covering alternative interface devices for wearables. Built a chording glove and a
biometric pointing device. Also has experience in data visualization, augmented reality
and with web technology. By background this guy is an engineering physicist from Cornell.
Currently looking for a post in industry.
- Odd-Wiking Rahlff
from SINTEF Telecom and Informatics. Part
of the HIPS
(Hyperinteraction within Physical Space) Esprit project to build an ineractive tourist
guide system for installation in Milan. Currently in the first of the project's three
years. The eventual system will allow users to add their own information on the fly to the
system's database. This makes it similar to our own LocoMedia project.
This page last updated April 26, 2002
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