Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Herr Doktor Tse

I'm happy to annouce that I've successfully defended my doctoral dissertation! The defense presentation and question rounds went surprisingly smoothly. After my defense friends from the Interactions Lab presented me with a little surprise.

I received a custom made hat with a scene depicting my PhD research on speech and gesture interaction over digital tabletop displays. Apparently this is a tradition done in many German Universities and started in our by some of our graduate students from Germany.

The theme of my hat is focused around speech and gesture interaction around a table. It has a tabletop display with two chairs (made of foam core) and a wooden mannequin attached connected to a series of strings. Pulling the strings on the tassle causes the mannequin's arms to move and also plays a sound.

Sound was achieved by using a Napolean Dyanmite gift card. The hat says a quote from the movie whenever the tassle is pulled "So like, nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills". Some matching text was added around the base of the hat that says "critics agree, you got flippin sweet PhD skillz!"

This was certainly a very pleasant surprise, thanks iLab!

1 comment:

Lynn V. Marentette said...


I studied your research when I was taking graduate HCI and Ubiquitous computing. I'm excited to see that you work for Smart Technologies.

I'm a school psychologist who became interested in large-screen touch interaction when some SmartBoards were delivered to the middle and high schools where I worked. I used them with some students for group counseling and social skills, and study skills activities and was hooked.

For that reason, I started taking computer classes at mid-life, part-time, in 2003. I'm preparing myself for Ph.D. research in this area. I really like the idea of a flexible form factor, so the display can function horizontally as a table, vertically, and as a drafting table, supporting the interaction and collaboration between two or more people.

Because I work in a school setting, I know that it is important for touch-screen systems to have the capability of inter-operating with a variety of devices, including assistive devices.

The system should be able to support communication between people who are remotely located, such as students in classrooms in other countries, or groups of students on field trips to historical sites or in the wilderness, equipped with hand-held devices- like the new iPhone, which has GPS, etc.

Is Smart Technologies working on this sort of thing?