Augmentation and Accessibility

Albrecht Schmidt

University of Stuttgart, Germany

Albrecht Schmidt is professor for Human-Centered Ubiquitous Media in the computer science department of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany. He held several prior academic positions at different universities, including Stuttgart, Cambridge, Duisburg-Essen, and Bonn and also worked as a researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute and at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. In his research, he investigates the inherent complexity of human-computer interaction in ubiquitous computing environments, particularly in view of increasing computer intelligence and system autonomy. Over the years, Albrecht worked on automotive user interfaces, tangible interaction, interactive public display systems, interaction with large high-resolution screens, and physiological interfaces. Most recently, he focuses on how information technology can provide cognitive and perceptual support to amplify the human mind. To investigate this further, he received in 2016 a ERC Consolidator grant. Albrecht has co-chaired several SIGCHI conferences; he is in the editorial board of ACM TOCHI, edits a forum e.g. in ACM Interactions.

Course Description

In the lecture we will discuss how digital technologies can enhance human capabilities. In human evolution tools for the mind and aids for perception have played a key role. The ability to read and write has completely transformed our ability to remember. Reading glasses, microscopes, and binoculars are examples that have chance what humans can visually perceive. With current technologies in physiological sensing (e.g. EEG, EMG, gaze) and rich interfaces for presentation (e.g. augmented reality, virtual reality, large screen displays) digital building blocks for augmenting and amplifying the human mind and perception have become available. The challenge is, how to create these new assistive and enhancing technologies in a way that they are easy to use and in the best case become a part of ourselves.

In the lecture we will look at the current technologies for interfacing to the human. On the input side we give an overview of how physiological sensing can be used to create more natural interfaces. On the output side we look in particular at new opportunities that arise from augmented reality in different contexts and using different modalities. With advances in artificial intelligence and automation many of these novel system will exhibit autonomous, adding complexity to the interface design. We highlight the importance of explorative and experimental work in this space in order to experience the new capabilities. In the lecture we include a discussion of how such novel assistive technologies related to the tradition notion of accessibility.

The lecture will include presentations, discussion of reading materials, and hand-on exercises.

Date & Room

February 22nd, 2019, Room F130