Research on Data Physicalization

What if data moved off the screen, with 3D physical shape and materiality? Ongoing research investigates Data Physicalization - physical artefacts whose geometry or material properties encode data. Building on past experience from Trevor Hogan's 'Tactile Data' PhD we have pursued this further, so far in 2 student projects, as Hannes Waldschütz' research focus.  

- WS 2017/19 Data Driven Objects: Trommelwirbel + Bellum Omni contra omnes (war of all against all) 

- WS 2018/19 Data Matters: The Sixth Wave

DFG Project FluidData - The User Experience of Novel Pneumatic Shape-Changing Interfaces for Dynamic Data Physicalization

March 2020 our new DFG Project FluidData started. This investigates the potential of dynamic shape-changing interfaces for data representation. The project has a constructive-technical and an empirical strand. Project staff: Hannes Waldschütz and Rosa van Koningsbruggen.

On a constructive-engineering level, we will realize controlled shape change via pneumatically actuated (fluidic) membrane structures from  textile/elastomeric material (inflatables) and explore the novel options this offers for shape-change and interaction. For this, we build on and collaborate with Kristian Gohlke's ongoing PhD work. The empirical focus of this project is on the user experience of data physicalization (especially with shape-change). While other research teams have begun investigating performance and accuracy in Data Physicalization, we believe that beyond  pragmatic and utilitarian factors (i.e. usability), there are qualities and benefits related to user affect, sensation and meaning, i.e. UX. For some usage situations, this might be more important for increasing engagement and empathy with data. We will thus investigate terms of qualities and interpretations ascribed to a representation, as well as sense-making processes evoked, including the potential to raise empathy.


Hannes Waldschütz, Eva Hornecker. The Importance of Data Curation for Data Physicalization. accepted for ACM DIS 2020 Provocations track

Hannes Waldschütz, Eva Hornecker, Leoni Fischer, Pauline Temme, Anas Alnayef, Sujay Shalawadi, He Ren. Drum Roll: A Data Physicalization of Real-Time Radiation Sensor Readings. accepted for ACM DIS 2020 Performance and Design track. 

Yun Wang, Adrien Segal, Roberta Klatsky, Daniel F. Keefe, Petra Isenberg, Jörn Hurtienne, Eva Hornecker, Tim Dwyer and Stephen Barrass. An Emotional Response to the Value of Visualization.  IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications Magazine, Visualization Viewpoints, Volume: 39, Issue:5,  Sept/Oct. 2019. pp. 8-17.  DOI: 10.1109/MCG.2019.2923483

RethiCare (funded by VolkswagenStiftung), starting April 2019 (3 year project)

RethiCare (Rethinking Care Robotics) will be led by the HCI group and is a joint interdisciplinary project with BUW's Product Design area (Prof. Wolfgang Sattler), the University of Southern Denmarks Robotics group at The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute (Prof. Norbert Krüger) and sociologist Dr. Andreas Bischof at TU Chemnitz. RethiCare will explore the design space of non-anthropormorphic, robotic helper machines and devices (which, for instance, integrate with everyday objects and furniture) for the context of care homes. 

To re-shape research and design practices and to develop alternative visions for robots in care, new interdisciplinary collaborations and new methods of design and evaluation are needed. The project's interdisciplinary constellation will enable us to re-think from the ground up what care-robotics should look like and ‘do’, using contemporary design methods in a rapid prototyping, design-driven approach. It will apply a user-centered, creative design and development approach in close collaboration with users (2 care institutions as associated partners), guided by principles of universal design, flanked with an integrated science-technology-studies perspective.  (University Press-Statement)
-> Project Website

Schulte, Graf, Franzkowiak, Hornecker. Hospital beds, robot priests and huggables:  a (fictional) review of commercially available care robots. Proc. of ACM NordiCHI 2020 conference. Article No.: 43  ACM DL. 

Hornecker, Bischof, Graf, Franzkowiak, Krüger. The Interactive Enactment of Care Technologies and its Implications for Human-Robot-Interaction in Care. Proc. of ACM NordiCHI 2020 conference. Article No.: 78  ACM DL.  

Re-thinking CareRobots (Planning Grant), VolkswagenStiftung

In January 2018 we received a small grant from VolkswagenStiftung aimed to support preparation for a full funding proposal on 'rethinking care robotics' (which was successful). As part of the preparations, we (Prof. Sattler, Product Design program and us) co-taught a student project on technology in care. Our future project partners traveled to Weimar for proposal discussions, and were also invited into the student project and for the Bauhaus.Interaction Colloqium, all helping us to immerse deeper into the topic. We also attended a conference on care technology ('Zukunft der Pflege') in Oldenburg with the entire project group, which was a great experience for all.  

ELIXIER - BMBF Project 'Erfahrungsbasiertes Lernen durch interaktives Experimentieren in erweiterten Realumgebungen'

The BMBF Project ELIXIER has recently started (May 2016). ELiXIER will develop an augmented experimental lab workbench that provides context-oriented tutorial assistance (via embedded projections, sound output, etc.) and supports teachers in setting up experiments for class. The system will enable intelligent connection of digital learning portfolios and practical lab experiments via a web-based infrastructure (seamless smart lab) so that learners can review their practical work anytime, anywhere in an interactive way.

The project collaborates with industry partners and research institutions, and has several strands, from the technical infrastructure development, sensor tracking of experiment data, to didactical assistance, learning effectiveness and usability of augmented learning environments. The role of BUW in this project focuses on usability-oriented design and evaluation of augmented environments. 

Project partners: Archimedes Exhibitions, Berlin (coordinator); FU Berlin; LD Didactic GmbH; Fraunhofer IDMT Ilmenau/Oldenburg

more information: BMBF announcement, project website

Susanne Karsten, Daniel Jörg, Eva Hornecker. Learner versus System Control in Augmented Lab Experiments. Proc. of ISS 2017 Interactive Surfaces and Spaces. 354-359. ACM. ACM DL

Susanne Karsten, Daniel Jörg, Eva Hornecker. Mixed Reality Demonstratoren für den Experimentalunterricht. Workshop Be-greifbare Interaktion at Conference Mensch&Computer 2017

Elektro-Mobility Demonstrator Mockup
Elektro-Mobility demonstrator mockup (image: archimedes exhibitions)
chemical experiment mockup with projected augmentation
Chemical experiment mockup with instructions

Exploring Bio-Inspired Soft Fluidic Actuators and Sensors for the Design of Shape Changing Tangible User Interfaces.

Kristian Gohlke's PhD investigates fluid actuators (also known as soft robotics), mainly in form of pneumatically actuated soft or malleable material mechanisms as well as the use, application potentials and the limitations of such systems for interaction design. By contributing to a novel category of interfaces that are malleable, inherently capable of isotropic shape change and mechanically compliant, the research further intends to question the fundamental design paradigm of current technological artifacts that are commonly characterized by fixed form factors, rigid mechanisms and static enclosures. 

key publications: 

Kristian Gohlke, Eva Hornecker. A Stretch-Flexible Textile Multitouch Sensor for User Input on Inflatable Membrane Structures & Non-Planar Surfaces. Accepted demo for ACM UIST 2018, Berlin

Kristian Gohlke. Exploring Bio-Inspired Soft Fluidic Actuators and Sensors for the Design of Shape Changing Tangible User Interfaces. ACM TEI 2017 Graduate Student Consortium, ACM DL

Kristian Gohlke, Eva Hornecker, Wolfgang Sattler. Pneumatibles – Exploring Soft Robotic Actuators for the Design of User Interfaces with Pneumotactile Feedback. Proc. of TEI 2016, ACM NY,  Pages 308-315. author pdf and ACM DL

Tangible Data: The Role of Embodiment in Physical Data Artefacts

Trevor Hogan's PhD project investigated tangible and multi-sensory data representation and the role of embodiment in the user experience of physical data artefacts, taking a phenomenological perspective. >

We are continuing this collaboration together with Uta Hinrichs following Trevor's PhD graduation and are now investigation physicalization, that is physical data representations. 

key publications: 

Trevor Hogan, Uta Hinrichs, Eva Hornecker. The Visual and Beyond: Characterizing Experiences with Auditory, Haptic and Visual Data Representations. Proceedings of ACM DIS 2017, 797-809. author pdf and ACM DL

Trevor Hogan, Uta Hinrichs, Yvonne Jansen, Samuel Huron, Pauline Gourlet, Eva Hornecker, Bettina Nissen. Pedagogy & Physicalization: Designing Learning Activities around Physical Data Representations. Workshop at ACM DIS 2017. Companion Proc. of ACM DIS'17 (Designing Interactive Systems).345-347. ACM DL. Workshop website

Trevor Hogan; Eva Hornecker. Towards a Design Space for Multisensory Data Representation. Interacting with Computers Volume 29, Issue 2, 8 March 2017, Pages 147–167, First published online: May 20, 2016;  pdf-version, doi:10.1093/iwc/iww015 

T. Hogan, E. Hornecker. Feel it! See it! Hear it! Probing Tangible Interaction and Data Representational Modality. accepted for DRS2016, Design Research Society Conference in Brighton, UK. 

T. Hogan, U. Hinrichs, E. Hornecker. The Elicitation Interview Technique: Capturing People’s Experiences of Data Representations. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (online first 2015, print in 2016)

T. Hogan, E. Hornecker. Blending the repertory grid technique with focus groups to reveal rich design relevant insight. Proc. of DPPI'13, Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces, ACM 2013, 116-125. Author version.

T. Hogan, E. Hornecker. In Touch with Space: Embodying Live Data For Tangible Interaction. Proc. of TEI'13, ACM, 275-278. Author version.

Interactive Costumes - How Wearables and E-Textiles can enter Performance Stages (working title)

Michaela Honauer's PhD project investigates wearables and e-textiles in the specific domain of professional stages that have predefined infrastructures and expertise-based hierarchies (e.g. theatre, ballet, opera). Next to the technical challenges for particular use cases, Michaela searches for solutions that help to integrate the production and staging processes of interactive costumes into traditionally grown structures. Her practice-based research is ethnographically motivated and tries to establish working routines and connections to practitioners as well as theatre, opera and ballet houses.

key publications 

M. Honauer, D. Wilde, E. Hornecker. Overcoming Reserve – Supporting Professional Appropriation of Interactive Costumes. Proc. of ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’20), 2189–2200. DOI: ACM DLpdf.    (BEST PAPER AWARD)

M. Honauer, E. Hornecker. Challenges for Creating and Staging Interactive Costumes for the Theatre Stage. Proc. of Creativity & Cognition 2015 (C&C'15). ACM, pp. 13-22. doi>10.1145/2757226.2757242

Michaela Honauer. Designing (Inter)Active Costumes for Professional Stages. In. Stefan Schneegass, Oliver Amft (eds.) Smart Textiles. Springer International Publishing 2017, 10.1007/978-3-319-50124-6 chapter 13, p. 279-302

Michaela Honauer. Designing Interactive Costumes: Challenges and Prospects to Integrate Computational Clothing in the Performing Arts. ACM DIS 2017 Doctoral Consortium, ACM DL.

Michaela Honauer, Christian Wiegert, Tahira Sohaib, Fernando Cárdenas Monsalve, Jing Zhao, Maike Alisha Effenberg, Milad Alshomary, Eva Hornecker. Mermaids do not exist? Interactive Costumes do! Proc. of ACM MUM 2017, 535-540. Arts Track, 

Aline Martinez, Michaela Honauer, Hauke Sandhaus & Eva Hornecker. Smart Textiles in the Performing Arts. In: Textiles, Identity and Innovation. Proceedings of the 1st International Textile Design Conference (D-­TEX 2017), Lisbon, Portugal, 2‐4 November, 2017, 

Michaela Honauer. 2018. Designing a Remote-Controlled Interactive Dance Costume. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Movement Computing (MOCO’18), 6 pages. ACM  DOI: 10.1145/3212721.3212879

Urban HCI - Understanding Architectural Influences

Patrick Tobias Fischer's PhD work investigated how spatial configurations and architectural elements influence the use of public interfaces. Tobias submitted and defended his PhD at the University of Strathclyde

He continued this work at BUW, and for several years we explored how public interfaces can foster shared encounters, how to evaluate such interfaces, and engaged in a series of design-evaluation experiments. 

> Plazapuck preview

key publications: 

P. T. Fischer and E. Hornecker. Urban HCI: Spatial Aspects in the Design of Shared Encounters for Media Faccades. Proc. of CHI 2012. ACM. 2012. pp. 307-316. pdf

P.T. Fischer, C. Zöllner, T. Hoffmann, S. Piatza, E. Hornecker. 2013.  Beyond Information and Utility – Transforming Public Spaces with Media Facades. Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE, 33, 38-46.  IEEE Explore DLauthor version.

Patrick Tobias Fischer , Eva Hornecker. 2017.  Creating Shared Encounters Through Fixed and Movable Interfaces. In: Anton Nijholt (ed).  Playable Cities. The City as a Digital Playground. Springer Singapore, pp 163-185

P.T. Fischer, A. von der Heide, E. Hornecker, S. Zierold, A. Kästner, F. Dondera, M. Wiegmann, F. Millan, J. Lideikis, A. Cergelis, R. Verde, C. Drews, T. Fastnacht, K.G. Lünsdorf, D. Merat, A. Khosravani, H. Jannesar. Castle-Sized Interfaces: An Interactive Façade Mapping. Full paper (6+ pages). Proc. of Pervasive Displays 2015 (PerDis'15), ACM 2015, pp. 91-97. doi>10.1145/2757710.2757715

N. Memarovic, S. Gehring, P.T. Fischer. 2015.  ELSI Model: Bridging User Engagement around Interactive Public Displays and Media Facades in Urban Spaces. Journal of Urban Technology Volume 22, Issue 1, 2015, pages 113-131. DOI:10.1080/10630732.2014.942169 journal site

Patrick Tobias Fischer, Eva Hornecker. Creating Shared Encounters Through Fixed and Movable Interfaces. In: Anton Nijholt (ed). Playable Cities. The City as a Digital Playground. Springer Singapore, pp 163-185

Hasibullah Sahibzada, Eva Hornecker, Florian Echtler, Patrick Tobias Fischer. Designing Interactive Advertisements for Public Displays. Proceedings of ACM CHI 2017. 1518-1529

Patrick Tobias Fischer and Eva Hornecker. Media Architecture for Shared Encounters. In: Alexander Wiethoff, Heinrich Hußmann (Eds.) Media Architecture. Using Information and Media as Construction Material. de Gruyter, Berlin/Boston, Age of Acess Series Vol. 8. 2017. p. 5-23

Till Fastnacht, Patrick Tobias Fischer, Eva Hornecker, Sabine Zierold, Abraham Ornelas Aispuro, Johannes Marschall. The Hedonic Value of Sonnengarten –Touching Plants to Trigger Light. Proc. of ACM MUM 2017, 507-514. Video Track, 

Interactive Museum Installation – Touchless Interaction via Motion Tracking and Pointing Gestures

The Haßleben grave showcase
General principle and setup
Preview map of the 'active' objects in the grave

3D graphics are common in modern media, while two dimensional input techniques are used for interaction. A variety of devices are used in these contexts to manipulate contents which often are complicated or error prone. But meanwhile, home entertainment-systems can be operated just with hand gestures.

Master student Michael Pannier developed a novel interaction prototype where museum visitors are tracked with a motion sensor (ASUS XtionPRO) and analyzed via the OpenNI framework. A visitor can simply point at the artefacts within a showcase and the software will provide corresponding information on a screen. This provides a low cost and low-maintenance system. Our system also allows the museum staff to set up a new installation, to define and edit the objects of interest within it as well as attach corresponding information, i.e. text and images to be shown on a screen whenever a user points at the artefacts. A particular challenge in this project has been to adapt Kinect-like motion sensing technology to determine pointing targets on a horizontal plane (instead of a vertical screen), to account for angular error, eye-hand visibility mismatch, and pointing inaccuracy. 

We collaborated with the local museum of pre- and early history Thuringia (Museum für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Thüringens) to build a system for a showcase, containing the grave of a germanic princess, the 'Prinzessin von Haßleben'. This was installed in July 2014. Michael Pannier furthermore interviewed visitors before installation of the system and after to investigate whether it contributes to making the grave more memorable and increasing people's knowledge about it. 

Michael Pannier, Eva Hornecker, Sven Bertel. Can’t Touch This – The Design Case Study of a Museum Installation. In: Proc. of Mensch und Computer 2016: Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. GI Digital Library Link. author pdf. HONOURABLE MENTION in category of full papers.