I manage a team of people that specialises in human-factors issues, in particular gaming and novel interface technologies at SnT/University of Luxembourg. Our thematic area is called “IGNITE” (Interaction, Games and Novel Interface Technologies), we are part of SECANLab and the HCI Research Area Group.Currently there are around seven researchers (one to be hired soon), two professors, one PhD and up to six student assistants involved.
Our main area of interest right now is looking at how we can use approaches from gaming and collaborative systems to improve the quality of life from an economic, social or cultural perspective for people in Luxembourg and Athens. In one project we are exploring how to alter mobility patterns of people in order to reduce traffic congestion while in another project we are using video-to-video services to improve cultural awareness between Athens and Luxembourg. Although we are a human-centred research team we are technology driven and work with the underlying base technologies that arise from work within our parent research groups SECAN-Lab and the HCI Research Area Group. For example, vehicle-to-vehicle networking or Internet-right-of-way platforms. This allows us to focus on new and emerging basic technologies that may initially not seem to be “human-focussed”.
Current Team and Projects
Since joining SnT at the end of 2010 along with colleagues I have successfully attracted projects with a value of about €5.3m, with the share for the University of Luxembourg being about €1.3m. As a result we now have a team of people working on human-computer interaction issues. We are in turn part of SECAN-Lab which is led by Prof. Dr. Thomas Engel of the SnT at the University of Luxembourg.
We are of course involved in other project proposals and are happy to make contact with people and groups who are interested in working with us. You can contact me via the form on this website or alternatively via my official webpage.
Researchers: Dr. Rod McCall, Dr. Vincent Koenig (HCI RG Leader), Dr. Tigran Avanesov, Dr. Nicolas Louveton, Dr. Andrei Popleteev and Bob Reuter. + 1 TBA
PhD Student: Martin Kracheel
Student Research Assistants: TBA
Faculty: Prof. Dr. Thomas Engel (Leader of SECAN-Lab) and Prof. Dr. Romain Martin (Head of EMACS Research Unit).
Project – I-GEAR
Incentives and Gaming Environments for Automobile Routing. Traffic congestion is a problem in many countries and with government budgets being squeezed, large road infrastructure projects and roadside assistance systems are no longer feasible. The I-GEAR project specifically addresses these problems by looking at new ways to change driver behaviour through the use of incentives, social networking and pervasive gaming concepts.
Starting with the premise that sitting in a traffic jam is lost time and money, the I-GEAR project will explore how we can best channel the motivations of drivers in a way that will optimize traffic flow. For example, by encouraging counter intuitive driving strategies such as driving more slowly or taking a seemingly longer route. It will also explore social driving approaches such as car sharing or driving in a platoon (or convoy) to specific destinations. Our underlying idea is the people would rather do something else rather that sit in a traffic jam but that in order to encourage this behaviour we need to provide them with social, economic or personal incentives.
The project raises a number of challenges, which range from identifying the motivations of drivers and relevant incentives though to how to design in-car information systems that do not distract the driver. In order to support these areas the project will utilise a contextual design approach that places the driver from the outset at the very heart of the process which will include extensive fieldwork coupled with detailed laboratory and in-situ studies.
Drive Lab will contain a number of networked car cockpits, which will include standard car controls in addition to input devices such as tablet PCs and eye-tracking systems. In order to support research within the FNR funded I-GEAR, Move and other projects the lab will add support for accurate traffic simulation data drawn from Luxembourg therefore allowing researchers to explore the impact of real-world context. Results from Drive Lab will be used to design and implement future in-car IT systems and services. The laboratory is located on the Usability Lab at the Walferdange campus and is part of a collaboration between SnT and the EMACS Research Unit.
Project Leader: Dr Rod McCall ( Roderick.firstname.lastname@example.org )
EMACS/Faculty Project Manager: Dr Vincent Koenig (Vincent.email@example.com)
Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr Thomas Engel ( Thomas.Engel@uni.lu )
Funded by: Fonds National de la Recherche, Luxembourg ( www.fnr.lu )
LiveCity brings together leading telecoms providers, SMEs, local government agencies and research institutions from across Europe to develop and test new Internet right-of-way technologies. The basic premise of the project is to provide a virtual path throughout the Internet that will allow for fast, reliable, interactive data transfer with a guaranteed quality of service. LiveCity will add to this technical base by using the right-of-way technologies to deliver reliable video-to-video services across Europe.
LiveCity will develop the underlying technologies, APIs and range of test beds to showcase this new technology. The project has a distinct industry flavour that will result in the development of key performance indicators that will be used to validate the underlying technologies and test beds that are provided. Across Europe a number of test beds will be available for public use including systems for use in schools, e-health, and municipal services. SnT will be involved in the city experiences aspects of the project that will look at how these technologies can be used to promote the cities of Athens and Luxembourg using pervasive gaming approaches. The design of the experience will be opened up to experts who will be given a brief to promote cross-cultural collaboration between the inhabitants of both cities. The project will create a living lab that will operate between Athens and Luxembourg that will be live for around one year starting in mid 2013. From a research perspective researchers at SnT will be exploring the human-computer interaction aspects of the system as well as issues that arise with respect to data privacy.
Project Information Partners: OTE (Co-ordinator), Magnet Networks, Foundacion Cartif, Red Zinc, Scoil Cholmcille, Brunel University, Universite du Luxembourg, Telefonica O2 Ireland, Deutsche Telekom, Quartzspark, Dimos Vrilission, Ayuntamiento de Valladoilid, One Source, Health Service Executive
Local Project Leader: Dr Rod McCall ( Roderick.firstname.lastname@example.org )
Principal Investigator for UL: Prof. Dr Thomas Engel ( Thomas.Engel@uni.lu )
Funded by: European Commission
Past Projects and Work
I have extensive experience of working within projects relating to mixed realities, ranging from pure virtual reality through to location-aware augmented reality, below are a list of some previous projects in these areas. I was also co-supervisor of Georg Hackenberg who developed a 3D multi-touch environment using gesture recognition while at Fraunhofer FIT. Georg Hackenberg went on to win the prestigious annual Fraunhofer Hugo Geiger Prize (first place).
For more information on Georg’s work see this press release (external link).
The IEEE Paper can also be downloaded.
IPCity – Interaction and Presence in Urban Environments
Prior to joining SnT I was a member of the IPCity project which I subsequently went on to lead until its successful completion in March 2010. The project focused on urban mixed reality technologies, applications and theories. The project build a number of highly successful demonstration systems that explored a range of themes such as: urban planning, large-scale events / environmental awareness, augmented reality gaming and location-based storytelling. IPCity went on to be recognized as a leading project in this area and received significant media attention.
I had the great pleasure in working with some very talented people within this project both those working at Fraunhofer FIT and also those from the partner institutions. The results of this collaboration some two or so years later are still getting interest from people all over the world.
Project website (external link)
There were many other systems within IPCity, so please check out the website for more information.
MARCUS – Mobile and Augmented Reality and Context in Urban Settings
MARCUS was a project that brought together some of the worlds leading researcher on mobile and augmented reality systems for use in urban settings from the EU and New Zealand.
MIRACLE – Mixed Reality Applications for City-based Leisure and Experience
A project between Fraunhofer FIT and HIT Lab NZ (University of Canterbury, NZ) to enhance co-operation in the field of mixed realities for use in city experiences.
A co-ordination action project that brought together the leading researchers into the field of presence research in order to foster new research projects, organize summer schools and to map out future research in this area.
The project developed and explored from a theoretical perspective photo realistic virtual reality. Our work involved exploring usability, place and presence issues within these photo-realistic virtual environments. It represented one of the early photo realistic virtual environment technologies and allowed people to move around within a limited space.
Virtual reality for use in crisis management/emergency simulation. Two example systems were developed that explored rescue and evacuation scenarios in ships and oil installations. Our main work involved exploring the sense of presence and usability issues within such simulators.