Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Electronic ‘butlers’ to smooth your social interactions

24.10.2006
Communication tools often force the user to adapt human communication methods to the needs of the technology. The partners in the CHIL project are attempting to turn the tables, and to put human needs first in the development of new communication technologies.

“One of the reasons why we hate computers today is because they are essentially a black box on the desk, and we have to engage with them in a rigid way,” says Alexander Waibel of the University of Karlsruhe, project manager for the IST project CHIL.

“Human beings interact differently," he explains. "A good butler for example lives in the background and moves in to help when asked, or even anticipates your needs. That’s what we’re doing with CHIL – developing the services and technologies that serve human interaction – rather than vice versa.”

Although CHIL will not be completed until August 2007, the project partners have already developed some fascinating communication tools to assist human beings in their day-to-day interactions with others. The context for these interactions is the meeting room, lecture or classroom.

'Connector', for example, is a communication-control environment that is context-aware.

The environment makes use of microphones and cameras in a specially equipped room to determine whether participants wish to receive calls on their mobile phone or not.

Connector is more than a passive room monitor however; it understands social context and learns the preferences of individual users, adapting its decisions accordingly (a video of the tool in action can be viewed at the project website).

The second tool is 'Memory Jog', which is designed to 'jog the memory' of individual participants in meetings and makes use of a novel technology called 'targeted audio'. It is a narrow-band audio beam developed by project partner Daimler Chrysler, which is projected using a specially developed speaker. "Say you forget the name of the person across the table – Memory Jog will act as an effective personal assistant, whispering the name in your ear," says Waibel.

A further application, 'Attention Cockpit' (also called the 'Socially-Supportive Workspace'), provides a multimodal interface for entering and manipulating contributions from different meeting participants, e.g. for discussing the minutes. This tabletop device presents the shared workspace as a kind of virtual table, on which the documents under discussion can be pushed to and fro.

The tool acts as a kind of meeting coach by monitoring the behaviour and involvement of participants. The idea is to build better group decision-making by ensuring that everyone who wishes to be involved in a discussion is heard.

The team have developed two human interfaces for the aforementioned technologies; the first being a visual one. The CHIL 'Translation Goggles' are spectacles equipped with a tiny heads-up display that carries a translation of the speech taking place. The translation method is based on the technology developed within the IST project TC-STAR, however at present it functions in two languages only, English to German and English to Spanish.

The CHIL system has been tested on campus at the University of Karlsruhe and at Carnegie Mellon University in the US, as well as being demonstrated at numerous conferences and exhibitions. The narrow-band audio technology is also going to be on display at the IST 2006 event in Helsinki, November 2006.

However, the technology still needs to be improved. “We need to make these tools more social. At present they are simply switched on and off. We would like them to be able to appear and disappear as needed, much as a good butler would do", explains Weibel.

The partners are already investigating how to turn the project results into marketable technologies. This has already led to cooperation contracts with three companies in industry – one with a major German multinational. Moreover, a catalogue of the technology components that can be licensed and used separately from the whole system has been published and can be browsed online via the project web site.

Source: Based on information from CHIL

Jernett Karensen | alfa
Further information:
http://chil.server.de
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Defining the backbone of future mobile internet access
21.07.2017 | IHP - Leibniz-Institut für innovative Mikroelektronik

nachricht Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation
20.07.2017 | Brown University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>