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POSTPONED: From shape-changing tables to smartphones sensing each other – developing the future of collaborative computing

PhD defence, Monday 30 March 2020. Jens Emil Sloth Grønbæk.

2020.03.30 | Kathrine Nielsen

Jens Emil Sloth Grønbæk

Image of two new user interface paradigms for transitions in co-located collaborative work. To the left, Slam-to-Share enables sharing across mobile devices by slamming a meeting table. To the right, KirigamiTable transforms its surface shape in transitions between individual and collaborative work. In his PhD project, Jens Emil contributed to a deeper understanding of how technologies can support changing configurations of people and activities. The combination of empirical, conceptual and experimental work has both inspired future research and led to new insights on how these technologies may change current practices.

Three people meet to work on a slide deck together. They all place their mobile devices on a table, and one of them slams the table surface with the fist. The devices jointly sense the impact and connect to each other. Now, the three users are ready to collaborate on the slides across their devices. This is just one of several prototype concepts that Jens Emil developed during his PhD.

Engaging in co-located collaboration, people often transition between individual and shared work, organizing themselves flexibly around computing devices and furniture. However, current technologies lack support for such transitions. Addressing this issue, Jens Emil’s research shows how interactive technologies can be designed to support more flexibility – both in how we share digital content and how we transition between different ways of working together in physical spaces. The research contributions build on proxemics – the study of how humans interact with each other in shared physical space.

Jens Emil experimented with two new “paradigms”: (1) cross-device interaction, enabling flexible connectivity as well as spatial distribution of digital content and control; and (2) shape-changing tabletops, enabling transitions in users’ physical organization and collaboration around shared digital content. Jens Emil’s research contributes to the understanding of how novel interactive technologies can be designed to support more flexibility in co-located digital sharing and physical organization of collaborative activities.

 This PhD project was conducted in the Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction Group, Department of Computer Science, Science and Technology, Aarhus University, with support from Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK.

 This summary was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Monday 30 March 2020 at 12.00

Place: 5510-104 InCuba Lille Aud, Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University, Åbogade 34, 8200 Aarhus N.

Title of dissertation: Rethinking Proxemics: Designing Interactive Technologies for Co-located Collaboration

Contact information: Jens Emil Sloth Grønbæk, e-mail: jensemil@cs.au.dk, tel.: +45 30 25 43 91

Members of the assessment committee:
Professor, Jesper Kjeldskov, Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University

Professor, Doctor, Eva Hornecker, Department of Computer Science, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany

Professor, Anders Møller, Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University (chair)

Main supervisor: Associate Professor Marianne Graves Petersen, Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University

Professor Peter Gall Krogh, Department of Engineering, Aarhus University

Senior Researcher Kenton O’Hara, Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK

Language: The PhD defence will be in English

The defence is public.
The dissertation is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST, Ny Munkegade 120, building 1521, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
12183 / i43