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Workshop with Lucy Suchman 04/05/2012

Our fellow researcher Kalja Kanellopoulos was invited to take part in an interdisciplinary PhD workshop with Prof. Lucy Suchman at the Ruhr University Bochum last week. Suchman is an expert in anthropology and sociology, focusing on science and technology studies, feminist technoscience and human-computer interaction – to name only some of her main research areas. Before coming to the Lancaster University Department of Sociology and Centre for Science Studies she spent twenty years as a researcher at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center. Her book Human-Machine Reconfigurations. Plans and situated actions (embedded at the end of the article), first published in 1987 as her thesis, broadly influenced different scientific fields and still counts as one of the key texts in science and technology studies and human-computer interaction. The 12 participants of the workshop were invited to discuss their projects with Suchman, applying the concepts she developed to their own work. The inspiring one day workshop brought together young academics from different scientific fields, such as sociology, anthropology and media studies. It was organized by the Mercator Research Group.


GameDays 2013 at TU Darmstadt

Crossworlds participated at the expert discussions on Serious Gaming at the GameDays 2013 at TU Darmstadt last week. The goal of the talks was a get together and a consolidation of different game research groups within the German Society of Computer Science and the creation of a possible new interdisciplinary group concerning Serious Games research. Thanks to Stefan Göbel for inviting us!


International Symposium for Information Science

Last week’s 13th International Symposium for Information Science was a very interesting experience for our collegiate Andreas Bischof and CrossWorld’s associated member Vera Obländer. Information Science is an interdisciplinary research field on the triad between knowledge, humans and information technology, as the German information science pioneer Gernot Wersig pointed out in 1993. Researchers from a broad vary of disciplines like library science, book science, applied informatics, hci design, interaction design, psychology or philosophy attended the conference at the Univesity of Apllied Science in Potsdam.

Among the key notes, talks and doctoral sessions several media informatics associates of Chemnitz University of Technology presented their work. Thomas Wilhelm gave insights on his concept for a web service to improve information retrieval technology. His colleague Marc Ritter presented a technical solution to improve digitization and extraction of metadata in video archives.

Andreas Bischof and Vera Obländer presented the first results from CrossWorld’s mutual research seminar, including all current members, associate researchers and students of Technische Universität Chemnitz. During the last semester we worked on an interdisciplinary, overarching taxonomy on interaction in human machine constellations. To combine and compare the different approaches to the term “interaction”, we developed a meta-definition with three structural features of definitions of interaction.

The paper (in German) and the whole conference proceedings can be found on the publication server of FH Potsdam.


4th Augmented Human International Conference 2013

Thad Starner

Thad Starner, wearing Google Glass on the 4th Augmented Human Conference 2013 in Stuttgart

The collegiate Vincent attended the 4th Augmented Human 2013, which took place in Stuttgart, Germany, on March 7 and 8. The conference focused on augmenting human capabilities through technology, seeking to improve human life. The keynote was held by Thad Starner, pioneer in wearable computing and Technical Lead/Manager on Google’s Project Glass. He talked about his work leading to Google Glass and some other hardware they invented, like a glove that can help people learning to play piano without having to pay attention. It was also interesting to hear how he started decades ago when wearable computers were only bulky prototypes, which he wore on a daily basis in his personal life.

All the presented papers detailed interesting concepts, like a camera in a football that generates a bird’s eye view when thrown, manipulation of emotional response by slightly changing the user’s reflection in a mirror or a system for gait rehabilitation for Parkinson’s patients. The whole conference was very inspiring and everyone agreed they were glad that they attended. The 5th Conference 2014 will be held in Kobe, Japan and our Collegiate hopes to attend again next year.


Conference on german Science Studies

Science and Technology Studies (STS) and the Sociology of Knowledge are largely seperate fields in german Sociology. To overcome this trench the respective sections of the German Assosication for Sociology met for a mutual conference at Technische Universität Berlin on january 18. and 19. Our fellows Kalja Kanellopoulos and Andreas Bischof attended the event.

The core of the joint-work was the question about the social dimension(s) of scientific knowledge. The associated problems, e.g.the relations between different types of knowledge like “everyday knowledge” vs. “scienctific knowledge”, have been handled as empricial questions, which allowed a comparative perspective. Some of the discussed dimensions briefly touched:

Production of Scientific Knowledge
The basic social mode of production of scientific knowledge is boundary work. It’s production as canonical knowledge is based on personal networks, and shaped by opposing dynamics in scientific knowledge (differentiation) and the organization of academic science (stratification). The production of scientific knowledge in companies can lead to irresolvable contradictions, particularly for qualitative research. A softer institution of the production and updating of scientific knowledge are conferences and conventions itself, their multiple functions should be investigated further.

Legitimation of Scientific Knowledge
Regarded as an essential distinction against other forms of knowledge, scientific knowledge institutionalized its own forms of legitimacy. In modern science the book review is one of the classical forms of literary criticism. The qualitative analysis of different review journals shows how necessary the comparative analysis of differentiated academic cultures is. A relatively new form of assessment of scientific knowledge is the appointment of quantifying algorithms. Examining these bibliometrics and its meaning in recent publishing shows their lack of standard and possibility of abuse. As an outlook for future research, forms of popular scientific mediation has been mentioned, particularly used by natural sciences. Those reflect a special and recent form of legitimation of scientific knowledge: its capability of being connectable to public discourses.

Effects of Scientific Knowledge
Scientific knowledge is the base for most governance strategies and instruments. Political decisions about legal conditions of human medical issues such as organ donation are more and more delegated to expert committees, with lack scientific examination. By becoming part of governance structures, the scientific knowledge undergoes a peculiar social effect: It becomes “blind” for its own derivation and tends to construct society as an external entity. It therefore operates in a semantics of naturalization of social order. Another example for the diffusion of scientific knowledge in various sectors of society is the analysis and monitoring of human practices using cameras. Evaluation forms such as eye tracking in market research or surveillance of public places develop specific forms of visual objectivity.


VAR2 Conference

Keynote from Prof. Patricia Soh-Khim Ong, National University of Singapore on "Use of Augmented Reality in Design and Manufacturing"

Keynote from Prof. Patricia Soh-Khim Ong, National University of Singapore on “Use of Augmented Reality in Design and Manufacturing”

The Fraunhofer IWU and the Chair of Machine Tools and forming techniques organized a conference on virtual and augmented reality in Chemnitz from January 31st to February 1st 2013. The VAR2-Conference focused on new research for “extending reality”. Session topics included virtual engineering, interaction in virtual scenes, trends and potentials of augmented reality and data management for VR/AR application. Benny Liebold and Daniel Pietschmann from Crossworlds presented a research poster and a short paper titled “Explaining User Experience in Stereoscopic IVEs via Spatial Mapping in Mental Interaction Models: Prototype of a Multi-User-Interaction VR” at the conference.


ECREA 4th European Communication Conference 2012

Opening Keynote at 4th ECC ECREA 2012 in Istanbul

The 4th ECC conference of ECREA, the European Communication Research Association, was located in Instanbul. It provided a perfect platform to meet and discuss profound transformations that are taking place globally in modern societies. While social media was the particular focus at this years conference, contemporary topics were encouraged, regarding the old and the new within the European communicative sphere. Graduate Members Benny Liebold and Daniel Pietschmann visited Istanbul and engaged in discussions about new theoretical research and empirical studies presented at the conference. Each thematic section and temporary working group of ECREA hosted parallel panels at the main conference, including Audience and Reception Studies, Digital Culture and Communication, Interpersonal Communication and Social Interaction. Both Crossworld colleagues are active members of the TWG Digital Games Research which hosted a preconference prior to the ECC. After one week of networking, fruitful discussions and interesting talks with the European Communication Research Community, both graduates returned with new ideas, contacts and concepts for research cooperations within the field of media psychology and virtual worlds.


Visit to Ars Electronica Center in Linz

Our fellow researchers Michael Heidt and Kalja Kanellopoulos visited the Ars Electronica Center (AEC) in Linz from October 16-17. The AEC unites art, science and technology in many different ways. One of the projects, which made the AEC famous all over the world, is the Ars Electronica Festival. It takes place in Linz every year in September.

The museum’s permanent exhibition introduces the visitor to topics of genetic engineering, robotics, neurology and media art, while the current temporary exhibit “Out of Control” delivers some insight into “What the Web knows about You”. Overall the center’s main focus lies on interactivity and participation and one cannot avoid the impression to visit a huge playground. Whether old or young, people seem to love it and while exploring deep space, interacting with little robots, or doing scientific experiments – supported by the museum’s accommodating staff members – they learn while playing. Next to the wide-ranging exhibition space one can find the Ars Electronica FutureLab, the center’s think tank, consisting of 50-60 research staff members. In addition to exploring the exhibition our two fellow researchers had a meeting with Michael Badics, one of the directors of Ars Electronica Solutions.


Bernstein Conference Computational Neuroscience 2012

The Bernstein Conference Computational Neuroscience (BCCN) is the largest European conference in Computational Neuroscience. This year the conference was hosted by the Bernstein Center Munich (September 12-14). It was filled with three days of stimulating presentations of international top researchers from MIT, Harvard, UCL, Stanford, or MPI, giving insights in their newest brain research and modeling. The conference provided the opportunity to present new research approaches and results in two poster sessions in the evening.

Beside the interesting contributions of many other researchers all over the world the CrossWorlds member Michael Teichmann presented its well frequented poster to “Learning invariance in object recognition”. The poster reviews his current work and gives an insight how models of the visual system could be designed and trained to obtain human-like recognition and processing abilities. The poster abstract is published in the conference proceedings by Frontiers of Computational Neuroscience (Abstract)


Student Symposium at the Department of Computer Science

This year the first Student Symposium of the Department of Computer Science was held at Chemnitz University of Technology on July 4th 2012. It was an overwhelming success, as many undergraduate and graduate students contributed and raised it to an very successful event. The symposium provided students the opportunity to present their latest research including their thesis or their PhD project. The contributions could be in form of posters, short or full papers. Each contribution was subjected to a peer-review process to guarantee its quality.

The CrossWorlds member Michael Teichmann took this opportunity to present his current research as a short paper. In his contribution he brought the functioning of the human visual cortex together with methods of designing object recognition systems. For the interdisciplinary character of his paper and his presentation Michael Teichmann has been awarded a honorable mention. Read the rest of this entry »