03.11.13 - 08.11.13, Seminar 13452

Proxemics in Human-Computer Interaction

Diese Seminarbeschreibung wurde vor dem Seminar auf unseren Webseiten veröffentlicht und bei der Einladung zum Seminar verwendet.


Over time, people encounter different dimensions of proxemics in everyday life, e.g., in face-to-face communication while discussing ongoing work with colleagues, while in an elevator with strangers when private space is suspended, or while at home with their families. In disciplines like architecture and interior design, knowledge about proxemics has been used for decades to model use of space for face-to-face interactions, urban planning, and environmental design. In human-computer interaction (HCI) and human-robot interaction (HRI), however, the use of proxemics is fairly new, and both disciplines just started to employ proxemics and related theories and models (e.g., Hall’s theory of proxemics in his book “The Hidden Dimension”) to design new interaction concepts that act on proxemics features. Several recent designs explore the use of human body position, orientation, and movement for implicit interaction with large displays, for supporting collaboration, and to control and communicate with robots. This research is facilitated by the operationalization of proxemics for ubiquitous computing, toolkits for using tracking data, and new paradigms such as reality-based interaction (RBI) that take a fresh look at the role of the user’s body and the environment in HCI. However, work on understanding how proxemics can be used for HCI (and HRI) has only just begun (e.g., Proxemic Interactions).

In the seminar, we will use Greenberg et al.’s dimensions on Proxemic Interactions and Pedersen et al.’s Egocentric Interaction Paradigm as starting points. Although these theories are based on findings on how humans perceive proxemics, they might be incomplete, particularly since human perception is much more subtle, gradual, and less discrete than illustrated in Hall’s reaction bubbles (proxemic zones), for instance. In addition these discrete zones cope with only the physical features (perception of interpersonal distance); other features such as psychological and psychophysical features have not yet been considered in HCI. However, these features are perceptible by human sensors, e.g., olfaction, equilibrioception, thermoception. Current theories neither give guidelines nor provide sufficient methodologies for “good” or “bad” designs for systems employing proxemics.

We think the time is right for bringing researchers with different backgrounds and experiences together to map out the important questions that remain unanswered and to generate ideas for developing an agenda for future research on proxemics in HCI. The structure of the seminar is based on the three pillars technology, vision, and theory that will be equally exposed in seminar activities. We will create a diversified program that allows participants to introduce themselves and their work in brief Pecha Kucha presentations, offers one impulse talk for each of the three pillars, and guarantees sufficient time for discussions and breakout sessions for creative work, and of course informal discussions during spare-time activities. The following perspectives assigned to each pillar serve as basis for our discussions and breakout sessions.

Reflect on technology for interactive spaces and proxemic ecologies that:

  • takes place across device boundaries on multiple public, private, mobile, and tangible displays
  • involves collaboration of co-located users, e.g., around interactive tabletops or in front of large vertical screens
  • is based on non-traditional post-WIMP interaction styles, e.g., pen-based, multi-touch, and tangible user interfaces
  • seeks new forms for providing functionality beyond the traditional WIMP model of “applications,” e.g., tracking users’ spatial location and movements in physical space to navigation within large, digital information spaces.

Discuss future directions and create a coherent vision to:

  • critically reflect in light of cognitive theories of interaction
  • fuse the perspectives of user researchers, designers, and technologists, primarily to achieve a more realistic vision
  • transfer knowledge between the different communities
  • publish it to the HCI community in a shareable format (e.g., web page, YouTube video)

Exploit current theory on proxemics in general to achieve a productive and critical reflection and prospect to:

  • better understand HCI of proxemics
  • develop methodologies for designing systems that employ proxemics
  • understand how physical, psychological, and psychophysical features collate and can be transferred into a coherent theory of proxemics in HCI
  • discuss the open question regarding the extent to which proxemics can leverage or constrain human-computer interaction.

As an outcome of the seminar, we expect to identify, develop, and discuss central issues, challenges, and prospects regarding the directions for future research of proxemics in HCI, which can be published as a Special Issue for the Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing or a book in Human-Computer Interaction Series by Springer Publishers. Of course, an immediate outcome of the seminar is the development of a community of researchers interested in proxemics for human-computer interaction.