Paper from ACE Workshop on Entertainment in Cars and Transportation

Last year along with my colleagues from The Unversity of Salzburg Christaine Moser and David Wilfinger et. al (full author list and workshop proposal) we held a very hands -on workshop looking at Entertainment in Cars and Transportation, which is a rather important and emerging topic right now. Anyway I plan to make some of the materials from that available online. One of the authors (Sven Krome) has kindly to let me make his paper available here.

Enjoyable Stress Reduction: Approaching A Design Space For The Piloted Driving Context.

Authors: Krome, Holopanian and Walz.

In this paper, we portray ongoing work aiming to define a design  space for enjoyable, playful interactions in the context of a piloted driving situation. Towards this purpose, we identify constraints in the general context of piloted driving, the car’s interior and
controls as well as the car manufacturer’s safety recommendations. Furthermore, we align the identified constraints with proposed stresslessness-strategies for rear-seat passengers in order to anticipate conflicts and choices in the design of stress- reducing interactions for the piloted driving context.


From: Workshop on Entertainment in Cars and Transportation at ACE 2013 Conference, Enschede, Netherlands.

New Project Starts

We have just started working in a new EC (CHIST-ERA) project called eGlasses, it is in partnership with a range of research groups across Europe in Poland, Austria, France, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

The eGlasses project is focused on the development of an open platform in the form of multisensory electronic glasses and on the integration and designing of new intelligent interaction methods using the eGlasses platform. This is an initial development focused on long-term research and technological innovation in perceptual and super-perceptual (e.g. heart rate, temperature) computing. It is an emerging technology that is also focused on the creation of mobile, perceptual media. Perceptual media refers to multimedia devices with added perceptual user interface capabilities. These devices integrate human-like perceptual awareness of the environment, with the ability to respond appropriately. This can be achieved by using automatic perception of an object’s properties and delivering information about the object’s status as a result of reasoning operations. For example, using the eGlasses, it will be possible to control a device, which is recognized within the field of view using the interactive menu, associated with the identified device. Other examples include presentation of a recognized person name, recognition of people with abnormal physiological parameters, protection against possible head injuries, etc.

The platform will use currently available user-interaction methods, new methods developed in the framework of this project (e.g. a haptic interface) and will enable further extensions to introduce next generation user-interaction algorithms. Furthermore, the goal of this project is to propose and evaluate new and intelligent user interactions, which are particularly useful for healthcare professionals, people with disabilities or at risk of exclusion, and to create and evaluate behavioural models of these mobile users.

The main scientific and technological objectives of the project are to design and evaluate the following:

- eye-tracking hardware and algorithms for a user, who is mobile in a noisy real world environment, – algorithms for perceptual media and for super perceptual computing, – methods for locating objects and guiding vision towards the identified objects,

- methods of interactions with users and objects (menu of activities for the identified person or object), – a haptic interface in a form of a peripheral proximity radar, – methods for the recognition of the user’s own gestures and recognition of gestures of the observed person,

- methods for context-aware behavioural studies, – methods for reference applications. The result of the project will be an open platform in the form of multisensory electronic multimedia glasses and a set of new methods for intelligent user interactions, especially in the context of perceptual media.

Women may again face Stoning in Afghanistan

I hope as many people reading this blog will be as disgusted as I am by the fact that women may again face stoning for adultery in Afghanistan. According to a report in The Guardian a draft of the penal code drawn up by a sub-committee (not yet in the final full draft) this sick and evil punishment may make a return to the laws of the land. It should be noted that it requires just four witnesses (who are certain of the act) for such a punishment to be carried out. Also there is likely to be little resistance to the proposed law as it is seen as part of the Sharia. Personally I am sick and tired of any government (UK included getting away with spying on people and torturing them in foreign jails ) constantly claiming that basic human-rights are a local matter. In my opinion a basic level of respect for others is international and when such evils as what is proposed in Afghanistan are brought up again they should be dealt with much more harshly than the current political pussy footing around the subject.

Paper- Driver Diaries: A Multimodal Mobility Behaviour Logging Methodology

By Martin Kracheel, Rod McCall and Vincent Koenig

Abstract: The Driver Diaries are a mobility behaviour logging methodology, consisting of an online survey, a mobile application and focus group interviews. They are used to collect data about mobility behaviour, routines and motivations of commuters in Luxembourg. The paper focuses on design and development of the Driver Diaries and it explores the use of the application as a requirements capture and an integral element of an infotainment application that can change the standard routine driving behaviour of mobility participants in order to reduce traffic congestion.



Blog problems – server failure

Due to the server where this blog is hosted totally failing until 31/10 and the subsequent backup being a few days old some of the more recent posts may be missing, in particular recent papers. I will try to rectify this as soon as possible.

There was also some problems last week with an update to WordPress which promptly broke several plugins; this also caused many problems.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Driver Diaries IOS App Available Soon

Having successfully launched the Android version of the Driver Diaries Application earlier this year we are pleased to say that the IOS version is now nearly ready for release. Development has been advancing well recently and we will shortly submit it to Apple for verification. If you are interested in signing up or want more information on the project please visit:

Please note the application is intended for those commuting to work in Luxembourg. The application is being released as part of the FNR funded IGEAR project which explores gamification as a method of reducing traffic congestion. The work is being conducted at the SnT Research Centre at the University of Luxembourg. For more information on the research team behind the project please download the IGNITE flyer.

As this forms part of a research project only a limited number of people can take part.

New Publications Coming Out This Month

The following papers are scheduled to be presented at two different conferences later this month, I will make them available after the events are over on this blog.

  • Assessing In-Vehicle Information Systems application in the car: a versatile tool and unified testing platform. Louveton N., McCall, R., Avanesov, T., Koenig, V., and T. Engel. Automotive UI 2013, Eindhoven.
  • Driver Diaries: A Multimodal Mobility Behaviour Logging Methodology. Kracheel, M., McCall, R., V. Koenig and T Engel. Automotive UI 2013, Eindhoven.
  • (Semi-) Pervasive Gaming Educational and Entertainment Facilities via Interactive Video-to-Video Communication over the Internet, for Museum Exhibits. Chochliourous, I., McCall, R., Popleteev, A., Avanesov, T., Kamarauskas, T., Spiliopoulou, A., Sfakianakis, E., Georgiadou, E., Liakostravrou, N., Kampourakis, I. and I Stephanakis. AIAI Conference

The work in  above publications were partially funded either by the FNR, Luxembourg or the European Commission under the I-GEAR and LiveCity projects respectively.

Deadline Extended for Autonomous Driving Workshop @ AutoUI 2013

Call for Papers

Position Paper Submission Deadline: Wed, Sep 30th, 2013
Workshop Date: Sunday, October 27th, 2013

This workshop will explore the emerging themes of autonomous driving, social driving and novel user interface approaches. The aim being to define the future landscape for research within and across each these areas.

It aims to collect different, radical, innovative, versatile and engaging works that challenge or re-imagine human interactions in today’s automobile space. It will seek to challenge existing thinking by exploring what is possible both now and by the time the autonomous vehicle is a standard feature of our roads. Participants will be encouraged to suggest alternative concepts whether low fidelity, high fidelity, or both. Especially encouraged will be works that are experiential and can be demonstrated hands on.  The workshop will be an opportunity to re-shape the conversation of automobile technology by introducing the community to a new way of thinking.


Submissions are invited on (but not limited to) the following topics:

- Autonomous vehicles, including specific issues such as handover, legal, ethics and trust
- Novel user interface approaches from haptics to subliminal information
- Usability testing and user acceptance, including metrics and analysis approaches.
- The social car, from a current human centred social networks perspective to one where cars have greater control.
- Entertainment for drivers and passengers, including gamification

Interested workshop participants will be requested to submit a 1 page position paper by Sep 30th, 2013 describing their project and how it fits to the workshop topic. Projects can be theoretical or empirical (prototypes, studies, applications, or interaction concepts) and should be innovative in nature. The paper should also contain a short bio of the author highlighting the relevant areas of interest and current work or research.

Please submit your work via email to
Workshop Website

We look forward to your contribution!

Workshop organizers:
Roderick McCall (University of Luxembourg)
Alexander Meschtscherjakov (University of Salzburg)
Carlos Montesinos (Intel Labs)
Alexander Muir (Microsoft)
Rabindra Ratan (Michigan State University)
Dalila Szostak (Intel Labs)
Manfred Tscheligi (University of Salzburg)
David Wilfinger (University of Salzburg)

A Guide to Writing Academic Papers

A quick guide for those who are perhaps new to writing academic papers.

When I first started writing academic papers (as a PhD student) it would be fair to say they were not of the best quality; they are also still not perfect now! While I had a reasonable acceptance rate over time it became clear that a few comparatively simple tips can go a long way. I don’t claim to be the worlds best paper author but below you can find a few simple tips I have learned from experience; there are no doubt many others as well. I am also a reviewer for many conferences, workshops and journals so sit on the other side of the fence quite often. It should be noted that a lot depends on the type of paper you are writing, I predominantly write papers which are the result of observing human behaviour relative to some computing system. Occasionally I also write more theoretical papers. Although many of my tips may be related to these two types of paper, some of the more general ones may be useful to the wider academic writing audience.

Writing Style

  • Write the structure of your paper out first. Accompanying this should also be the main points (results) or themes you wish to address.
  • It’s tempting to try and sound lofty and to revert to complex phrases just to prove you are clever. Don’t go down this path! As you will find you will often need to describe complex terms and use equally complex wording, therefore where possible please avoid adding complex expressions unless totally required.
  • Remember the reviewers (and readers) of your paper may not know every detail of the area you are talking about. You should assume some common background knowledge but you must explain all the key points that people need to know in order to understand your story.
  • Generally a paper should tell one story; perhaps with a few sub-points. If you are trying to talk about too  many topics at once there is a good chance no one will really understand them.
  • A paper is essentially an argument which defends your findings. Remember the more points or stories you add the more points you are defending and the more evidence you have to provide. Following on from this is the point below.
  • You must provide evidence to back up any points you make whether these are statements drawn from citations (so cite if you state something in the background)  or drawn from your data.
  • A good background section always helps to orientate the reader but do not be tempted to add in aspects which are not fully relevant to the work you will present.
  • A paper is a presentation of facts that either backup your findings (or theory) or may indeed show the limitations of your work. If you are aware of limitations then it is a good idea to mention and if possible suggest ways to address them.
  • Avoid writing a paper that sounds like a sales pitch, instead write in an accessible but neutral way and do not exaggerate or be tempted patronise the reader. If something is clear in the data then it is clear so do not write something like “obviously this indicates” or “as the reader will know X said this”.
  • If something isn’t clear in your head it most likely will not be in anyone else’s. Try getting away from the issue for a while and/or strip the idea down to it’s component parts and see how you would then explain these parts (of a whole) to others.
  • The argument should provide a clear motivation for the work plus the details of how you went about it plus your findings. Basically you need a clear start, middle and end.  Just like a novel.
  • A good abstract, introduction and conclusion are essential. The abstract and intro draw people in. Furthermore, people will often read the conclusions more than other parts of the paper.
  • Most conferences and journals have a page limit, do not be tempted to exceed this! Also if your paper looks like it will be less than the maximum number of pages then do not be tempted to pad out the work to fit the limit. Reviewers always see through this.
  • I am the worst proof reader on earth and have most likely made some mistakes in this article. You must always read your work many times, thoroughly and from start to finish! Preferably do this after having not looked at the paper for a few hours or days, otherwise you will read what you want to see. In addition to basic typos, other things to look for are: consistency of terminology, abbreviations and spelling (are you using US and British English?), formatting and using the correct citation format.
  • Use pictures or diagrams instead of (or alongside) textual descriptions where possible, in particular for overviews of processes.
  • Where possible use charts to represent data, however always spend time looking at the best chart/graph to represent your data. The wrong chart/graph can frequently cause confusion. Sometimes asking an colleague to look at your data and asking them to suggest a format is a good start.
  • It is a good idea to get someone who is familiar with the domain but not the particular piece of work to read through the paper. This can act as a way to get it proof read but more importantly it is a very good way to see if your story is clear.

Some Specific Points

  • If you are a non-native speaker of the publications language please, please, please get it proof read by a native speaker prior to submission. This is also a nightmare for reviewers who can only decide on the basis of what is written whether a paper is any good. If they cannot understand what you have written there is a much higher risk of rejection even if we try as far as possible to take into account the fact that the written language may not be the first language of the author.
  • The apostrophe is an annoying part of the English language, by far the easiest to understand usage guide can be found here  at the slightly fanatical site of:  The Apostrophe Protection Society.
  • The Economist magazine publishes a useful writing style guide which I have often loaned to others when they were in need.
  • Avoid long sentences, this can be tricky if you are coming from certain other languages.

I cannot emphasise this enough, your paper is a story and it is your job to tell it in the best way!

I hope this is of some use and I will no doubt add more tips as they come to mind. Also if you have any tips of your own please feel free to add a comment.

New Paper: Maintaining a Sense of Control in Autonomous Vehicles via Auditory Feedback

Authors: Beattie, D., Baillie, L., Halvey, M. and R McCall

Workshop on Perceptual Quality of Systems, Vienna.


This paper presents the findings from an observational field study conducted with 8 car drivers. The study attempted to create a taxonomy of sounds that present information to people whilst driving. We also aimed to determine whether participants noticed these sounds as they occurred and whether they paid attention to them. Furthermore, we asked the participants subjective questions regarding particular sonic attributes and their ability to catch driver’s attention. It was concluded that although certain sounds occur regularly, differing levels of attention are given to each depending on the information they present. Our study also revealed that while all sonic attributes play an impact in catching driver’s attention, some aspects are more noticeable than others. We conclude with a discussion of our future directions with regards to the findings obtained from our observational field study and outline the plan for our next study.

Download from my publications page.