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Articles

Impacting the social presence of virtual agents by scaling the fidelity of their speech and movement

2015-02-19, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Impacting the social presence of virtual agents by scaling the fidelity of their speech and movement

Abstract: Virtual agents are constructs that fulfill human or human-like roles in virtual environments, but are directly controlled by software instead of real humans. They have use cases such as presenting information, demonstrating actions or simulating a social environment. If a real person perceives them as sufficiently human-like, they may induce social phenomena like empathy, competition or conversational turn taking, even if the person is consciously aware that the agent is purely virtual. This thesis explores the influence of technical fidelity on perceived social presence in terms of the virtual agents’ speech and movement. Both of these two variables were assigned different implementations of varying technical sophistication, from text-to-speech output to fully recorded voices and from a completely rigid idle body to a high-quality relaxed idle animation based on motion capturing data. The various combinations were tested in an experiment using a head-mounted virtual reality display in order to measure their influence on perceived social presence. This thesis describes the experiment and its results.

This document marks the conclusion of my master's degree. The VR focus was a completely new perspective for me and I'm glad I got this opportunity before leaving Hamburg.

Rapid prototyping of interaction concepts in higher HCI education

2014-10-20, HDI 2014, Freiburg

Rapid prototyping of interaction concepts in higher HCI education

Abstract: In teaching HCI (Human-Computer Interaction), there is the persistent challenge of constructing practical exercises with interesting goals while staying focused on HCI and not getting lost in technical details. In the introductory course "Interaction Design" at the University of Hamburg, students have three weeks to conceptualize and implement prototypical interaction concepts for the game Neverball. In contrast to most other HCI introductory courses, they do not design mock-ups, but produce actual concrete software. To make this possible within the three-week timespan, Neverball has been extended with a TCP-based interface. This renders the costly familiarization with the game's source code unnecessary and the students are able to concentrate on their interaction prototypes. We recount our experiences from several iterations of the project and describe our methods during its execution. The results shall support other teachers and lecturers in the area of HCI in creating similar praxis-oriented exercises with results that "can be touched".

This article was presented at HDI 2014 (6th conference on university didactics of computer science). It is part of the conference proceedings.

Developing a software tool for interpreting Gymnasium students' grades

2014-01-13, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Developing a software tool for interpreting Gymnasium students' grades

Abstract: During the final years at the gymnasium – Germany’s highest tier of secondary education – many students become increasingly aware of the extent that their grades (particularly the final Abitur grade) influence their career opportunities. Unfortunately, the laws and regulations concerning the aggregation of all the different grades are complex, sometimes even prohibitively opaque. In particular, it is difficult to interpret the existing grades and detect potential problems while the Abitur is still in progress. In this bachelor’s thesis, an effort is made to support the student consultation at one German school by implementing a system that is capable of assisting students with this task. Relevant information is drawn from partially available grades, processed and presented to the students. To that end, a development process in accordance with User Centered Design takes place.

This thesis constitutes the official end of my studies and awards me the degree Bachelor of Science in Human Computer Interaction. Planning and implementing a practical software project contrasts nicely with my more theoretically focused previous thesis.

Aspects of Software Reuse

2012-03-16, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Aspects of Software Reuse

Abstract: Despite continuous improvements of the tool support, creating software from scratch remains a costly endeavour. From an economic or a pragmatic point of view, it appears beneficial to strive to reuse, adapt and transform existing software as much as possible. This article provides an overview over some strategies towards that goal on the basis of chapter 16 of Ian Sommerville's book Software Engineering, supplements the contents of the book with the topic Open Source and discusses the reuse of software components with the help of Steve Yegge's "Rant" about Google and software plattforms.

This paper has been written for the Softwarearchitektur course. The topic (summarizing the book chapter) was supplied by the organizers, but was expanded with my own ideas.

Report: Working with LaTeX

2012-03-14, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Report: Working with LaTeX

This is a short report about the Working with LaTeX video course, which I conducted in the winter of 2011/12. It summarizes the course content, evaluates the teaching methods (as best as it is possible given the circumstances) and answers the question whether the general method should be used again in the future. Notably, the flipped classroom concept is explained and its advantages are discussed briefly.

Interaction in the Blogosphere

2011-07-30, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Interaction in the Blogosphere

Abstract: Blogging is an interesting phenomenon not only from a socio-cultural and medial perspective. The "blogosphere", as the collective set of all blogs and their authors is sometimes called, has adapted and developed a whole range of interaction patterns. In this paper, I give an overview of the methods which bloggers use to communicate with their readers and with each other, and for what kind of communication they are typically used. Furthermore, blogging is explained in the context of the medial development of our culture.

This paper has been written for the Computergestützte Kooperation course. I chose to develop the topic of blogs mostly towards interaction patterns.

Concepts for reconciling complexity and usability in application software

2011-02-07, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Concepts for reconciling complexity and usability in application software

Abstract: Modern application software deals with rising expectations towards functionality as well as usability. In this paper, the relation between software functionality and complexity of graphical interfaces is examined and several ideas and methods for creating appropriate interfaces even for complex applications are illustrated.

This paper has been written for the accompanying seminar for the course Interactive Systems, though the idea for the topic was my own.

The Teachlet concept: possibilities and limits of a method for teaching software design

2010-12-06, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

The Teachlet concept: possibilities and limits of a method for teaching software design

Abstract: Teachlets as an innovative teaching method have been used since 2004, but literature on the topic is sparse and not up to date. In this paper I review the last six years of Teachlet usage, examine the established definition for deficiencies and correct them, describe current trends and developments, and discuss conceptual limits as well as further possibilities for Teachlets as a teaching method for software engineering and architecture.

This paper constitutes the official end of my studies and awards me the degree Bachelor of Science in Informatics. After getting to know and learning to love Teachlets, I made it my passion to further explore the concept in my bachelor thesis.

Modeling stateful systems in Java

2009-08-28, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Modeling stateful systems in Java

Abstract: This paper deals with implementing stateful systems in the Java programming language. The state pattern is explained and applied in several ways to a simple example. Other design ideas are then discussed, specifically the use of modern Java capabilites, deviating from the structural properties of the traditional pattern.

This paper was written for the "Concepts of object-oriented programming languages" that was conducted by Axel Schmolitzky and Christian Späh in the summer of 2009.

Teachlet zum Zustandsmuster: Sessel-o-matic 1.0.0 - Dokumentation

2009-08-19, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Hamburg

Teachlet zum Zustandsmuster: Sessel-o-matic 1.0.0 - Dokumentation

This is the full documentation for the teachlet that Janina Nemec and I held in the "Concepts of object-oriented programming languages" course.

It is probably only useful if you want to conduct this teachlet again and make yourself familiar with it. For that purpose, it should be quite helpful.

Official website: teachlets.org

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