A Look Back at Computer-Human Interaction conference
The Computer-Human Interaction conference 2011 took place in Vancouver in May. Learn about this event with the interview of Emmanuel Pietriga, interim manager of the In-Situ team and president of the Paris chapter of SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction).
What significance does the CHI conference have in the field of human–computer interaction?
Emmanuel Pietriga: CHI (Computer-Human Interaction) is the international conference of reference for this field of study. Created in 1982, it grew 10% annually over the last decade and is now the 4th or 5th largest ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) conference by attendance and the largest by number of papers presented.
What role did French researchers play at CHI 2011 in Vancouver this past May?
Emmanuel Pietriga: French participation has experienced similar growth, progressing from two or three papers - at most - presented 10 years ago to about ten this year, including seven to which Inria contributed. They've made real headway because, to give you an idea, that's equivalent to the participation of major universities like Stanford. Microsoft Research, the leader in the field - and for whom HCI, or human-computer interaction, is of critical strategic importance - presents twenty a year. Moreover, one of our team's projects received a Best Paper award, placing it in the top one percent of the 1,532 submitted. Another, presented by the Mint team, received honourable mention - that is, it was nominated, putting it in the top five percent. Both gave greater visibility to our work since the conference is vast and it's impossible to see everything.
Do the French have a specialty?
Emmanuel Pietriga: No, French research more or less covers the whole HCI spectrum - from the design and evaluation of new means of interaction and visualization to software engineering - and French interface research, in particular, has addressed collaborative work interfaces and participatory design, involving end-users very early on in the creative process.
Have you spotted any new trends this year?
Emmanuel Pietriga: More a confirmation of trends already detected last year, especially innovative, tactile means of interaction: Apple or Android-based tablets, or very big high-resolution screens covering walls or floors. For a clearer picture of the innovations presented at not only CHI but also UIST (another high-profile event in the field regularly attended by Inria researchers) a selection of videos will be shown at the Pompidou Centre on 7 July in the Piazza space, under the auspices of the Parisian chapter of SIGCHI.
Manipulating 3D objects through touchscreens using tBox
Multi-touch has opened a new frontier for exploration in the design of novel data interaction methods. At CHI 2011, Martin Hachet and his fellow Iparla team members presented technology for the manipulation of 3D objects, an original contribution to the field in an area that has received little attention from researchers to date. « We were inspired by the widgets used in computer graphics, which we adapted for touchscreen manipulation. Contrary to other approaches aiming at direct contact with the object, we opted for the intermediary of a transformation widget, tBox, permitting better operational precision.»This box, controlled by the user, surrounds the object with which it is integrated.
The challenge lies in translating simple 2D gestures into a wide variety of operations (including spinning, dragging, shrinking and expanding) via the interface of the box. « Our goal is to make interactive 3D applications accessible to as many people as possible. With that in mind, we conducted experiments to identify the gestures inexperienced users would spontaneously make to perform such manipulations. Then we developed algorithms to detect these movements and tested them with novice users. We'll also be able to test them on the public at large thanks to our collaboration with Cap Sciences, one of the partners of the French National Research Agency InSTInCT project, which sponsors our work. »
The next step is to develop a stereoscopic version of this project using an innovative immersive system designed by Iparla and Immersion, to be presented this summer at Siggraph.