Media Technology MSc

Lecture - Designing Computers in Any Way Shape or Form

Prof. Roel Vertegaal, PhD, originally hails from the Leiden region and currently is director of the Human Media Lab at Queen's University, Canada. In December, he will be back in Leiden and give a talk about "Designing Computers in Any Way Shape or Form". Prof. Vertegaal will discuss the exciting topic of how advances in flexible thin film display technology are leading to a set of revolutionary new user interfaces. Speaker: Roel Vertegaal Title: Designing Computers in Any Way Shape or Form Time: Monday December 19th, 2011, 14:30 - 15:30 Place: Snellius building, room 413 After the talk and Q&A, there will be an opportunity for drinks and an informal chat. About the talk Over the past few years, there has been a quiet revolution in display manufacturing technology. One that is only comparable in scope to that of the invention of the first LCD, which directly resulted in Kay's DynaBook and the modern laptop. The e-ink electro-chemical pixel, combined with advances in organic thin-film circuit boards have resulted in displays that are so thin and flexible, they are beginning to resemble paper. Soon displays will completely mimick the high contrast, low power consumption and flexibility of real ink. This will cause a revolution in computer user interface design. This revolution marks a final frontier for Human-Computer Interaction: one in which interactive computer displays can have any organic form or shape, rather than the rigid technological surfaces of DynaBook. One where the shape of the computer is the input device. One where any object, no matter how complex, dynamic or flexible its structure, can display information. This new paradigm of Organic User Interface (OUI) requires a new set of design guidelines. I'll examine the historical perspective of the organic architectures of Frank Lloyd Wright discussing implications for user interface design of computer systems that have any shape or form. I will give an overview of technologies such as Tangible User Interfaces that led to Organic User Interfaces, and discuss some example OUIs, such as Gummi, developed at SONY Computer Science Laboratories and PaperWindows, one of the first truly 3D thin-film paper computers developed at HML, both in 2004. If in the near future, we can manufacture thin-film displays with user interfaces that can take on any shape or form, rigid or flexible, we can look forward to a time in which computer interfaces are designed, like a product, through user-centric and form-centric industrial design techniques rather than through mathematical, engineering or software design methodologies. For more info on organic user interfaces, see . About the speaker Dr. Roel Vertegaal is one of Canada's leading designers of future interactive technologies. Roel is Associate Professor in Human-Computer Interaction at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where he directs the Human Media Laboratory. He is also founder and CTO of Xuuk, Inc., a company that develops attention sensors for interactive, real-world viewing statistics gathering ( Born near Leiden, Roel's first degree was in Music from Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands, prior to which he studied Visual Arts at The Hague's Free Academy. The interfaces he developed for mapping musical parameters into two-dimensional controls are now standard features on equipment designed by Apple and Korg. He studied Computing in Britain, and holds a PhD in Computing from Twente University in The Netherlands, where he developed FrameServer, one of the world's first in-line webcams. Since then Roel has become one of the world's experts on eye contact between humans and technology. He was the first to demonstrate functions of eye contact on human group communication, developing video conferencing systems that tracked human gaze in groupware. He also developed eyebox, the world's first 10+ meter eye tracker, as well as the concept of Attentive User Interfaces, for which he received the Ontario Premier's Research Excellence Award. His work featured in media across the globe, from Good Morning America to Fox News, Discovery Channel, Wired, Scientific American and Businessweek. Roel has given invited presentations and keynotes at Philips, Samsung, Microsoft, Polymer Vision, Xerox PARC, Changing the World, Stanford University, MIT Media Lab and Delft University, and many others. He helped create the first North-American conference on Eye Tracking Research and Application (ACM ETRA), and initiated ALT.CHI as an papers venue for risky ideas at the annual ACM SIGCHI conference, for which he has also served as Associate Papers Chair. He advised the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC., and has been a member of the NSERC Networks of Excellence NECTAR and GRAND. Amongst his many current activities, Dr. Vertegaal is leading a new cross-campus multidisciplinary initiative in Computing and the Creative Arts at Queen's University ( He is working with world famous designer Karim Rashid, Inc. to develop a new media lab facility at Queen's, which is to be the world's first designer laboratory. Roel is also collaborating with designer Yves BĂ©har to develop non-flat computer products of the future. With researchers in the Biology Department, he is heading one of Queen's most prominent forays into the arctic, aiming to develop a network of research stations in Nunavut that will eventually allow for crowd-sourced computer vision tracking of polar bears. In his spare time, he is working with faculty in the department of Medicine to develop new theories on the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease. Prof. Roel Vertegaal, PhD Associate Professor in Human-Computer Interaction Director, Human Media Laboratory School of Computing Queen's University Kingston, ON K7L3N6 twitter #roelvertegaal