Category Archives: Conferences


I’m in Minneapolis for the 2014 IEEE Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces conferences through Wednesday. I’ll be part of Panel 3: “VR Toolkits: Why do we keep re-inventing the wheel?” presenting my take and perspective as the main developer of VR JuggLua.

I’ve posted related links and papers about VR JuggLua including a preprint of the intended journal paper (submitted) for VR JuggLua.

If you’re at the conference, come find me, and make sure to come to the panel: it’s Tuesday at 4!


I’m here in Singapore for the IEEE Virtual Reality conference and the SEARIS workshop at which I will be presenting. Flights were long but reasonably comfortable.

One interesting trend I’ve noticed: Like CHI, everyone has either a Mac or ThinkPad (or occasionally a small laptop/netbook of other sort). Lots more Thinkpads per Mac here than CHI, and they are generally tiny and running Win 7.

CHI 2010 – Sessions Attended

Here is an overview of the sessions/courses I attended at CHI 2010 – it was a great conference!  My ability to choose sessions to attend was somewhat constrained by my role as a student volunteer, but I got to attend a large number of interesting sessions and really actually lucked out with the task assignment as an SV.

Most links go to more information on the CHI2010 “advance program.” I’ve marked the papers/sessions I found especially intriguing.





All Week – Posters and Exhibit Hall

Day 1 – Opening Plenary Notes

Here are my very nearly unedited notes from the opening plenary given by Genevieve Bell (Intel), taken on my mobile device…

“CHI has been around for a long time, and you haven’t turned turned the opening talk into either a drinking game or bingo. As an Australian, I found this lacking.”
Ethnography and anthropology.
What are real consumers? They don’t have kids and white furniture, or all stare transfixed with such pleasure as in marketing photos..

Future involves shifts:
Demographic shifts – toward 75pct of people living in cities
and those may mean crises in resources and infrastructure
US avg home 2300-2700 sq.ft, 2.5 people.
Elsewhere goes down to about 1000 and more people.
Women in workforce an accellerating trend.
Global economic crisis has disproportionately affected men.
Companies will have to move beyond just “shrink it, pink it” to make items appeal to women.
People still think of the intrnet as a destination in places – and the idea of “feral” also applies.
“Feral internets”
Percent of internet users that are American from 70 down to ~25: bring different ways of interacting and conceiving of information.

The TV was not a PC with internet waiting to happen: viewership is growing. – like hot or not for networks
Device convergence didn’t happen, and a “simple” network looks a bit messy.
When it breaks it’s not clear what’s broken or who to call.

New anxieties. concern for privacy changing: accept providers having demographics, but terrified that what we are really doing will get out.

Implications for research – future controversial topics:
Religion: Still a very important part of many people’s lives, and technology becoming integrated with it. Church sign with “God answers KNEe-mail”, Vatican has a web site with a link labeled “secret archives”…

Government: clashes between internet time and government time.
Australia took data on government-managed systems, came up with a site called “it’s buggered, mate” and it will become real!

Sex: Poloroids brought sexting to the world long before mobile phones, but institutions get anxious when people think about studying this. And, look beyond just pornography, even though there is precious little HCI research even there.

Sport: It’s a big thing for those not in this room, but less on ACM portal about it than the others together. 40% of US households upgrading to HDTV cited sports looking better as the reason. Not understanding cricket is a social crime.

Etiquette: sign in church that roughly translates to “it would be a blessing if you turned your cellphone off.” We will increasingly have to negotiate how we interact with constant connectivity. We even lack the language to discuss it: our terms like “not connected” imply a social norm that those folks are on the wrong side.

Gender: Lists of best apps for men included “PMS Buddy” (Track up to 5 women!). Best apps for women include “For Aunt Flo” and “iPeriod”. Things worth studying here! What does it means to talk about these things from feminist theory, queer theory points of view?

Day 0, and day 1 begins

Yesterday, some enjoyable SV’ing, and a bit of project work. And today,the big one begins. Waiting for the opening plenary to start, with Coldplay’s “Clocks” jamming in this huge ballroom that nevertheless seems quite full…

CHI Day -1 (workshops) – Pre-registration

I’m here in Atlanta for the CHI 2010 conference: I’ll be a student volunteer and attending as many of the sessions as I can. I now have the N810 set up better for quick blogging, so I’ll be putting in quick updates all week.

When working registration today, met Univerity of Iowa’s Thomas Hansen of PyMT fame – this would count as my first “conference turns familiar email address into face” experience of the event. Looks like he might also be a student volunteer as well! It reminded me I should really look in to publishing my multitouch work that came out of my senior project. Just need to ask someone more up-to-date on the lit in that area for a bit of assistance.

(And yes, I have another post in draft form on Haptics – will finish it up while I’m here between doing SV things, attending interesting sessions, and working on my 575 project…)

IEEE Haptics – Papers and Demos

Note: Going through old drafts, I found I had never posted this one.  Oops!

Here’s a taste of the papers and demos I found intriguing – these are gently-edited version of my live notes, in places, hence the terseness. For access to the papers/demo info and official photo, you’ll probably have to go through IEEE – those registered for the conference got a USB copy of the proceedings.


Oral Session 1

  • 3D Force Prediction Using Fingernail Imaging with Automated Calibration, Grieve et al. – this one seemed interesting to me, primarily because it is closely related to the HCI 575 (Computational Perception) course that I am currently taking.  It seems like it could have come out of a similar course project – and it seems like there are clear ways to build upon this work to make it less sensitive to lighting and position and allow it to run in realtime.
  • Design of a Vibrotactile Display via a Rigid Surface, McMahan et al.  – This is the paper on the “haptic floor tiles” I mentioned earlier as a teaser.  They generate high-frequency haptic content when you step on one of the specially designed floor tiles – made out of aircraft panels, load cells for force measurement, and voice coils for rendering. It allows them to better simulate walking on natural, structured surfaces (crunchy leaves, snow, etc). See the demos, below, for photos of me walking on these.  They put them as a CAVE floor, which seems like a great idea – simulate walking on thin ice, and help train users to avoid falling through. Can we get some for the MIRAGE?
  • Emulating Human Attention-Getting Practices with Wearable Haptics, Baumann et al. – A servo-controlled wrist squeezer as a more natural, less intrusive way to get your attention.  This research team is very inventive, producing lots of low-cost prototype haptic devices for providing wearable, expressive feedback support.  Not sure how we can connect their work to virtual assembly, but they’ve got some great ideas.

IEEE Haptics – General impressions, Vendor demo highlights

Alright, well, with the combination of data corruption, poor battery life, poor usability (seriously, I have to transfer each photo off of my camera one at a time?), and an intense single-track conference, the well-intentioned “liveblogging” idea didn’t really come to pass. Nevertheless, I’ll share my general notes and vendor demo impressions photos with you here – summaries of the papers and demos will follow in the next post.

General impressions

  • Medical and dental applications of haptics seem to far outnumber immersive engineering applications. I don’t believe I saw a single CAD model during the whole conference. My intuitive hunch is that this is because spare parts for practice or testing are more feasible than spare people.
  • It seems I would be well-served to read a textbook or take a course in control theory: turns out that not only is most of the technical side of haptics based on it, I’ve been tiptoe-ing around it in my own work for a while.  Anyone have good suggestions on introductory texts (preferably written with a computer science perspective), now that I’ve finished Wikipedia’s content on the subject?
  • HAPI and H3D (open-source) from SenseGraphics seem to be the closest thing to a universal haptics software API out there at the moment, so I’ll definitely be looking in to it.
  • There’s a lot of neat techniques that caught my eye – it will be difficult trying to narrow my own research scope enough to have a doable Ph.D.

From the vendors…

  • SenseGraphics was showing off a haptic application written with their open source haptics scenegraph H3D: the demo was written in python, and is running here on an LCD-based stereo coincident workspace display.
    LCD-based stereo haptic coincident workspace from SenseGraphics

    A bit of an improvement over the CRT-based ReachIn systems, though apparently the conference exhibit room was not amenable to the nVidia glasses behaving nicely.

    SenseGraphics demo, from a user's perspective

  • Another exhibit from SenseGraphics – some kind of training app I didn’t get to try out.

    SenseGraphics H3D app - note the icons from the Tango Project

    SenseGraphics H3D app - note the icons from the Tango Project

  • Sensable brought its display: one of many dental applications, an improved version of the Phantom Desktop, and a demo using a Phantom Omni and 1.5 for teleoperation showing different control algorithms.
    Sensable's Haptic bite articulation demo

    One of the many dental (and medical) applications on display - Sensable

    New Phantoms - variant of Phantom Desktop with versatile mounting

    Sensable's "next big thing" - Phantom Desktops with screw holes for versatile mounting and an external control unit

  • Moog Inc. (not to be confused with synthesizer company Moog Music) showed off their extremely-stiff HapticMaster haptic device. They said that their force control style is is the difference from the Sensable devices that lets them simulate such stiffness. It was pretty good feeling, though the demo system’s lack of manipulator rotation dimmed the glow.The wonderfully-stiff Moog HapticMaster device
  • I tried out the ButterflyHaptics device. While it might be useful for precision medical simulations, its extremely limited working volume and rotational freedom (almost none – and it gets rather upset if you exceed it) seems to make it less applicable for haptic assembly applications.

    ButterflyHaptics maglev device

    ButterflyHaptics maglev device - sensitive, light, but restricted: promising with some polish

Greetings from the east coast!

I’m here in Waltham, MA (almost but not quite Boston), for the IEEE Haptics Symposium, which is being held as the final sub-conference of IEEE VR 2010. I arrived last night, seemingly well-coordinated with the departure of the other ISU attendees of the conference. I’ll be updating this blog regularly during the two-day event, with brief notes and perhaps some photos, if I can get my cell phone to transfer photos without beeping loudly.

My first impressions are that the conference environment seems very welcoming.  The first presentations are on fingertip and tactile haptic systems, an area I’ve never really looked into, so it’s all new to me.  There’s quite a bit of technical interest in the physiological and psychophysical interaction and the cutaneous receptors. Some of this research seem to be slick new hardware that would be cool to have.  (Example: how about haptic floor tiles in the C4 or its replacement? Simulate the effects of walking on natural surfaces like gravel, snow, etc…)

It’s reassuring that the questions that come to my mind while listening to the presentations seem to be generally either a: technical/terminology details a quick Google can answer, or b: also occurring to other, presumably more experienced conference attendees who bravely stand up and actually ask questions after the presentations.

I’ve been to academic conferences before, and have even presented.  That said, this research area is relatively new to me, so I imagine that this experience will teach me quite a bit about what to do and what not to do in conference presentations in this field.  After the first few presentations, I already have a few notes.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the presentations, as well as the demos – there’s nothing like a haptics conference to literally get in touch with new developments!  I’m resisting the urge to pull out the USB proceedings and browse the papers from the rest of IEEE VR and 3DUI that interested me but that I wasn’t present for – I’ll take a look at those later.  I think I will probably soon have to come up with a better system for archiving papers than keeping them all on my Dropbox, or I will run out of space pretty quickly. I’ve got the CHI 2010 conference (and thus its proceedings) coming up in early April, WINVR2010 in May, and I imagine those won’t be my last conferences…

More later!