April 13, 2012

New paper published

So today I put the finishing touches to my latest journal paper, entitled "Evaluating user response to in-car haptic feedback touchscreens using the Lane Change Test".  This paper is based on the findings of the first of two studies I conducted into user response to haptic touchscreens, and builds upon my AutoUI 2009 conference paper with new data and analysis.  It's being published in Advances in Human-Computer Interaction which is an open-access journal so is freely available here to anyone who is interested.  The article is 'in press' at the moment, but the final version should be available shortly.

February 28, 2012

Back to school

One of the bigger differences in going back to being a student is being presented with a wider range of opportunities for learning. As part of the EngD we sit nine modules over three years (I've yet to do any so far!), mostly based around the core requirements of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship MSc. Alongside that however are skills development courses and workshops run through the Research Student Skills Programme. I kicked off my learning journey by signing up to a couple of these today - some of the material might be covering old ground but a bit of reinforcement never hurts, right? ;)

February 10, 2012

So what HAVE you been doing?

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/csde/gsp/eportfolio/directory/pg/esrhbw/research/publications

I've been updating my e-portfolio to include the various publications I've worked on over the last few years - the list can be found here. Most recently my first journal paper as lead author, entitled "Visual-Haptic Feedback Interaction in Automotive Touchscreens" was published in Displays.

As with the blog, I'll be adding information about my research to my e-portfolio as it happens.

February 03, 2012

New beginnings

At the beginning of December 2011, I ceased to be a staff member of the University of Warwick. After working at WMG for some 7 years, I have returned to the student life! I submitted my MSc by Research thesis, titled "User-Cetred Evaluation of Novel Human-Machine Interface Technologies for Automotive Applications" earlier in the year and was looking for future opportunities. One which stood out was a chance to study for an Engineering Doctorate in conjunction with Jaguar Land Rover Advanced Reasearch, looking into the design and optimisation of configurable displays with a focus on optimising user experience. This fitted in well with the focus of my MSc and gave my the opportunity to continue to work in an interesting field with a fresh focus and new challenges.

Of course, there are certain things haven't changed: I'm sat at my old desk, sharing an office with my old colleagues and I think that it will take a little while to adjust to being a full-time student again. That said, I'd hope that the time I have spent at WMG and the relationships that I have built gives me a different perspective which might be helpful to my fellow EngDs.

I'll be aiming to keep this blog updated regularly, using it to write about my research and my expereinces of life as a postgraduate, and as a place to put some of the cool stuff I'll come agross in the course of looking for other stuff!

August 03, 2009

Auto UI 2009

Writing about web page http://auto-ui.org/index.php

The 1st International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications (AutomotiveUI 2009), in-cooperation with ACM SIGCHI takes place in Mon/Tue 21 - 22 September 2009 at University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.  The conference covers covers a range of topics related to automotive user interfaces and in-car interactive applications.  The programme for the conference can be found here; I will be attending to present my paper "Assessing Subjective Response to Haptic Feedback in Automotive Touchscreens". 

I'm very much looking forward to the event and to the discussion of the latest trends and research in automotive user interface design.  I'll be reporting back with a review and pictures from the event. 

July 13, 2009

More on Lexus Remote Touch

I had the chance to have a play with the Lexus Remote Touch system in a RX450h last week.  The vehicle was stationary at the time so caveats must be applied with respect to the system's performance under driving conditions; however I can report the following:

On the 'Home' screen, there are five icons in a horizontal line, which are selected with a pointer (much like a standard computer mouse) operated by the Remote Touch controller.  The pointer 'snaps' between the icons with a definitive haptic 'click' from the controller which is very effective.  However, the pointer is not constrained from moving vertically, which means it can stray into the 'free' space above and below the icons where its motion is unconstrained.  This then requires visual attention to get the pointer back on track. 

A brief test of the navigation system highlighted a surprising number of button presses and menu levels required to successfully input a UK postcode.  The postcode option appears on the second page of the navigation menu, requiring users to move the pointer to a 'next' button, then select this option.  Input is via soft QWERTY keyboard, albeit one with no numeric characters - to input numbers a button is clicked which brings up a dialogue offering the option of either numeric or symbol characters.  This process has to be repeated to revert to alphabetic characters.  Given that postcode entry is, in my personal experience, the default means of destination entry, the process seemed unnecessarily long-winded and complex. 

One of the benefits of a touchscreen interface is that the user can directly access a specific function on the screen regardess of where it lies - the 'finding' is done visually.  It would seem that Lexus have retained this philosophy for their interface software, while replacing the hardware with a system that requires the 'finding' to be done both visually and manually. 

In short then:  An interesting development in interface hardware, hampered by frustrating software.  Perhaps we will see this system mature over future model iterations.  

May 19, 2009

Lexus Remote Touch

Lexus Remote Touch

Lexus have announced that a new interface technology, Lexus Remote Touch, will be rolled-out on high-end models for the 2010 model year.  The interface uses a multi-directional controller which can be described as somewhere between BMW's iDrive and a standard computer mouse, to move a pointer on a central LCD display.  The system features haptic feedback courtesy of Immersion Corporation, which Lexus claims reduces driver distraction.  See it in action in this video courtesy of US tech review site CNET.

What is interesting about the technology is that it marks a definite departure away from the use of touchscreen interfaces for the Lexus brand at a time when touchscreens are becoming more common and while doubts remain over the usability benefits of multi-function central controllers as used by BMW, Audi and Mercedes. 

First post!

Hi, welcome to my blog following research into the Human-Machine Interface for future intelligent vehicles.  Over the coming weeks and months I'll be posting links to interesting articles and publications related to the research we are conducting as part of the WIMRC.  You can find out about our project and my background via the links on my 'about me' page. 

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