Calming children during blood sampling paper accepted at DIS 2017

Tim and collaborators at Aarhus University and University College London got their research work on calming children during blood sampling procedures accepted at DIS 2017.


Blood sampling is a common and necessary procedure in the treatment and diagnosis of a variety of diseases. However, it often results in painful and stressful experiences for children. Designed together with domain experts, Pufferfish is a breath-controlled biofeedback game technology with bespoke airflow sensor that aims to calm children during blood sampling procedures. An initial randomized controlled trial was conducted in which 20 children aged 6-11 were assigned to one of two conditions involving either passive distraction (watching a video) or active distraction using the Pufferfish prototype. We present quantitative results demonstrating the effectiveness of our active distraction technique. Together with qualitative feedback from patients, parents, and medical staff we identify key aspects impacting the acceptance of breath-based active distraction and future system refinements. Our study highlights the potential of non-pharmacological assistive technology tools to reduce fear and pain for children undergoing painful or stressful medical treatment.

Sonne, T., Merritt, T.R., Marshall, P., Lomholt, J., Müller, J., and Grønbæk, K. 2017. Calming Children When Drawing Blood Using Breath-based Biofeedback. In Proc. DIS 2017, (to appear).


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Provocation paper accepted at DIS 2017

Dimitrios, Rikke, Jesper and Mikael got their research work on provocation accepted at DIS 2017


Recently within HCI, design approaches have appeared, which deviate from the traditional ones. Among them critical design introduces deliberate provocations in order to challenge established perceptions and practices. We have engaged ourselves with this design approach out of interest in understanding how to use provocation in research through design. Towards this end, we report on a field study with four families that used an aesthetically, functionally and conceptually provocative future probe. The purpose of the probe was to challenge existing energy consuming practices through provocation and make its users reflect on them. The paper describes how all three provocative aspects were addressed, and our findings demonstrate how they were experienced in the real world, and how they impacted our research through design approach. We conclude by presenting reflections on how to design provocations, and reflections for the impact of provocations for research through design in general.

Raptis, D., Jensen, R.H., Kjeldskov, J., and Skov, M. 2017. Aesthetic, Functional and Conceptual Provocation in Research Through Design. In Proc. DIS 2017, (to appear).


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Celebrating three years of MobileHCI Lasting Impact Awards

On Saturday 4. March we were joined by our old friend and colleague Connor Graham from Singapore National University for a one-off opportunity to celebrate three consecutive years of MobileHCH Lasting Impact Awards!

In 2013 the award went to Connor and Jesper for their 2003 paper on research methods. In 2014 it went to Mikael and Jesper for the “is it worth the hassle” paper from 2004 (it was). In 2015 the award went to Dimitrios for his 2005 paper on mobile museum guides. Together these three papers have almost 1000 citations.

For the first time all authors were together in the same place, so we brought out the bottle of 2003 Dom Perignon that has been kept in the cellar for this day since Mobile HCI in Munich in 2013.


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Celebrating Rikke’s farewell to RMIT and Tim joining the group

Rikke Hagensby Jensen will be away in Australia for 5 months visiting Yolanda Strengers’ group at RMIT in Melbourne.. We hope she will have a great trip, and look forward to having her back again! At the same time Tim Merritt has joined the group, and has hit the ground running!

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Paper presented and published at HICSS

John and Peter together with Jacob Nørbjerg published a paper titled “Dynamic Capabilities and Project Management in Small Software Firms” at the 50th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). [Link]

 Abstract: A small software company depends on its capability to adapt to rapid technological and other changes in its environment—its dynamic capabilities. In this paper, we argue that to evolve and maintain its dynamic capabilities a small software company must pay attention to the interaction between dynamic capabilities at different levels of the company — particularly between the project management and the company levels. We present a case study of a small software company and show how successful dynamic capabilities at the company level can affect project management in small software companies in ways which may have an adverse impact on the company’s overall dynamic capabilities. This study contributes to our understanding of the managerial challenges of small software companies by demonstrating the need to manage the interaction between adaptability and flexibility at different levels of the company.

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Full paper accepted for CHI 2017

Jeni, Dimitris, Jesper and Mikael have had a full paper accepted for CHI 2017. The paper is the result of the work of two of Jeni’s Master students, Eric and Bjarke, who investigated the use of four different cross-device interaction techniques in the lab in the spring of 2016.

Paay J, Raptis D., Kjeldskov J., Skov M.B., Lauridsen B.M., and Ruder E.V. (2017) Investigating Cross-Device Interaction between a Handheld Device and a Large Display. Proceedings of ACM CHI 2017 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Denver, CO, USA, 6-11 May 2017. ACM Press.

A video of the techniques is available here:

Abstract. There is a growing interest in HCI research to explore cross-device interaction, giving rise to an interest in different approaches facilitating interaction between handheld devices and large displays. Contributing to this, we have investigated the use of four existing approaches combining touch and mid-air gestures, pinching, swiping, swinging and flicking. We look specifically at their relative efficiency, effectiveness and accuracy in bi-directional interaction between a smartphone and large display in a point-click context. We report findings from two user studies, which show that swiping is both most effective, fastest and most accurate, closely followed by swinging. What these two approaches have in common is the ability to keep the pointer steady on the large display, unaffected by concurrent gestures or body movements used to complete the interaction, suggesting that this is an important factor for designing effective cross-device interaction with large displays.

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Tim Merritt joins S+I

Starting 1st February Tim Merritt will join S+I as an associate professor.  Tim has a research background in interaction design and in particular in designing novel/tactile interfaces and understanding the human activity of their use. Tim will primarily lecture and supervise students on the Interaction Design education.

Recent S+I seminar on “Human Activity Supported by Novel Interfaces“.

Tim’s Google Scholar page.

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S+I Research Seminar – Timothy Merritt

Title: Human Activity Supported by Novel Interfaces

Abstract: In many activities, communication among people can be limited. Current interfaces can be mismatched or inadequate considering environmental factors, e.g. the fine control offered by a mouse may be unhelpful while walking around a room, flat touch screens compete for attention from the driver, etc. In this talk I discuss findings from my recent research that investigates new technologies to support human activities and social collaboration in challenging contexts. This involves the development and evaluation of new interfaces that explore the capacities of the human senses, reduction of negative experiences, and support for social interaction in physical space. The talk will focus mainly on two projects 1) designing for communication in extreme contexts and 2) development of a novel breath-based biofeedback game for reducing pain and anxiety for children in a hospital.

Kiteboarding serves as an experimental platform to find ways in which technologies could support communication needs in mentally and physically demanding contexts. In our HapticKite system, a kite control bar with embedded sensors and actuators communicates instructions through voice or tactile cues to explore communication of control guidance. Tactile cues were shown to be productive in changing behavior, however, voice communication provides planning models and directional guidance better than tactile cues alone. Voice may negatively impact the user experience and is not well suited for all activities. The experiments highlight the need for better ways for communication tools to support mental models. I will share insights from our current work exploring haptics and kiteboarding and will connect this to wider issues in the design of technologies for people.

In the second part of the talk, I will provide insights from a recent project in which we developed a novel breath sensor and video game experience that provides active distraction for children undergoing blood sampling procedures at a special blood clinic in the hospital. The findings of a clinical trial suggest that our technique of providing active distraction reduced the pain and fear associated with the blood sampling procedure. I will provide an overview of the results of the clinical trial and insights about how the technology provided improvements compared to the control condition of passive distraction. This research highlights the potential of non-pharmacological assistive technology tools to reduce fear and pain for children undergoing painful or stressful medical treatment.

Short Bio: Timothy Merritt is an Associate Professor in the Design Research Group at Aarhus University, Dept. Of Engineering and teaches interaction design courses in the IT Product Development BSc and MSc programme. He holds a PhD from the National University of Singapore where his thesis explored how and why people respond differently to artificial and human team-mates in co-operative games. His current research investigates how people respond to interactive technologies including game experiences, shape-changing interfaces, tools for digital fabrication, and communication in extreme human activities. This has led to dissemination in the form of large internal exhibitions featuring demonstrations of future interactive product concepts, most notably at the world headquarters of Volkswagen AG and LEGO. Public dissemination includes interaction design conferences e.g. CHI, DIS, TEI and relevant journals e.g. Digital Creativity, Interacting with Computers among others. Prior to re-entering academic life, Tim worked for 12 years as project manager and senior enterprise management consultant at Siemens IT Solutions and Services designing and deploying monitoring systems within large corporations such as MetLife, BestBuy and government institutions including the Dept. Of Energy.

Where and When: Room 0.2.15, 16 of December 2016, 09:00-10:00

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S+I Research Seminar – Marta Kristín Lárusdóttir

Title: Integrating UX activities in Agile Software Development Processes

Abstract: Marta Kristín Lárusdóttir is an Associate Professor at Reykjavík University. She is visiting Aalborg to give a talk on her research on integrating UX activities in agile software development processes.

Where and When: Room 0.2.11, 5th of December 2016, 14:30-15:30

More information on Marta’s research can be found here:

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