mark w. newman

School of Information
University of Michigan
4380 North Quad
105 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
+1 734 764 0020

[professional] mwnewman AT umich DOT edu
[unprofessional] mark AT newmantaylor DOT com

Current Projects

 

 

PLEASE NOTE

This project page is no longer maintained. Please see the Interaction Ecologies Group page for a more up-to-date list of projects.

See below for projects completed before the formation of the IntEco group.

 

Design Tools for Ubicomp

Replay UI

Interaction designers have found that the only reliable way to build systems that people can actually use is to prototype early and often, and to get your prototypes in front of real users at every opportunity. For desktop and web-based systems, the interaction designer's toolkit is now somewhat mature--but things look very different for emerging application types such as mobile, ubiquitous, and context-aware systems. We are working to develop tools to support rapid iterative prototyping of ubicomp applications, including the Replay system for capture and playback of sensor data streams.

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Collaborative Configuration

SI Logo

As personal computing environments become ever more complex, it becomes challenging to for end-users to create, understand, and maintain the hardware and software configurations that allow them to carry out the activities that matter to them. In this project, we are develop techniques that will allow users to help each other create and maintain configurations. Specifically, we are developing the Collaborative Configuration Service (CCS)—-a facility that collects configuration information from various users and matches similar users with each other for the purpose of diagnosing problems, providing help, and recommending new functionality.

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Previous Projects

The Social Spaces Kit

Two users standing in front of a ProD display, viewing photos of cricket players.

Social spaces adapt their interactive behavior based on their occupants. In this project, we are developing hardware and software components to make it easier to rapidly prototype, construct, and test social space applications. The SSK consists integrates with the Whereabouts platform, enabling users to share data for social purposes while maintaining control overy their privacy. An earlier version of the SSK was called the ProD Framework.

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Talking Points

Photo of sighted user with Talking Points prototype in downtown Ann Arbor

Talking Points is an urban orientation system for the visually impaired. It combines positioning and tagging technology with community-generated descriptions of points of interest that are accessed via a speech interface. A mobile prototype has been developed based on studies of the urban navigation strategies of both sighted and visually impaired users, and a field deployment is currently being planned.

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eKidney

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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting the lives of more than 30 million Americans. To empower patients and their families, the National Kidney Foundation Michigan (NKFM) has developed several successful peer-driven support and education programs. We are working with NKFM to design, develop, deploy, and evaluate technology-enhanced, peer-driven patient empowerment programs. Currently, we are undertaking a broad-based ethnographic study of CKD sufferers to explore the opportunities for web-based, mobile, and ubiquitous computing technology to improve quality of life and health outcomes. In addition, we are developing a web-based community to allow young adults with CKD to find information and social support during the challenging process of adapting to life with a chronic disease.

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Escape

Mobile device showing escape UI

Many mobile devices have touch-sensitive screens that people interact with using fingers or thumbs. However, the poor resolution of finger and thumb selection still limits selection speed. With Escape, we address the selection speed problem through a new target selection technique where targets are selected by gestures cued by icon position and appearance. A user study showed that Escape performs faster and with comparable error rates as competing techniques.

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OSCAR

OSCAR supports flexible control of devices and services in near-future home media networks. It allows monitoring and manipulation of connections between devices, and allows users to construct reusable configurations to streamline frequently performed activities. A user study showed that people could use OSCAR to configure and control a realistic and fully operational home media network, but that they struggled when constructing certain types of reusable configurations.

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The Obje Display Mirror

This project examined the potential for technology to enhance users’ experience of their environments through the improvement of the unremarkable activities that comprise everyday experience. Based on a 6-month study, we designed, deployed, and evaluated technology to support and enhance a common but unremarkable practice: the act of connecting a portable computer to a shared display (e.g. VGA projector). The new capabilities of our technology introduced subtle but significant changes in the practices surrounding the sharing of information in meetings.

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Casca

Peer-to-peer systems appear promising in terms of their ability to support ad hoc, spontaneous collaboration. However, current peer-to-peer systems suffer from several deficiencies that diminish their ability to support this domain, such as inflexibility in terms of discovery protocols, network usage, and data transports. Casca was developed as a demonstration of the capabilities of the Obje Framework for overcoming these limitations and supporting ad hoc collaboration.

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The Speakeasy Browser

The future world of ubiquitous computing is one in which we will be surrounded by an ever-richer set of networked devices and services. In such a world, we cannot expect to have available to us specific applications that allow us to accomplish every conceivable combination of devices that we might wish. Instead, we believe that many of our interactions will be through highly generic tools that allow end-user discovery, configuration, interconnection, and control of the devices around us. This project represents a design study of such an environment, intended to support serendipitous, opportunistic use of discovered network resources. We built and evaluated a generic browser-style application built on top of an infrastructure (Obje) developed to support arbitrary recombination of devices and services.

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The Obje (née Speakeasy) Framework

Interoperability among a group of devices, applications, and services is typically predicated on those entities having some degree of prior knowledge of each another. In general, they must be written to understand the type of thing with which they will interact, including the details of communication as well as semantic knowledge such as when and how to communicate. The Obje Framework is based on the idea of “recombinant computing”—a set of common interaction patterns that leverage mobile code to allow rich interactions among computational entities with only limited a priori knowledge of one another. Obje is designed to support ad hoc, end user configurations of hardware and software, and provides patterns for data exchange, dynamically "pushed" user control, discovery of new services and devices, and contextual awareness.

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DENIM

DENIM is a system that helps web site designers in the early stages of design. DENIM supports sketching input, allows design at different refinement levels, and unifies the levels through zooming.

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The Designers' Outpost

The Designers’ Outpost is a tangible user interface that combines the affordances of paper and a large physical workspace with the advantages of electronic media to support collaborative information design for the web. Based on an earlier ethnographic study, we analyzed web site design practice and developed a system to support the practices used by designers during the early phases of information design.

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