Thursday, July 26, 2007

HCI Conference: My "Main" Presentation

My own session is the first one in the morning. I had been asked by the conference organizers to chair this session "Gesture Recognition" - not sure why me and not anybody else from that conference. Yesterday I had already checked where this session room is: 2-F, on the 1st floor (= ground floor, they use here the US system for naming floors). Since there are 24 parallel sessions, some of those larger exhibition halls in the convention centre have been subdivided into smaller rooms. I have a map from the conference booklet, but the way down seems weird: one staircase seems to lead to a dead end, so I go back and take the main stairs. From there, a sign points through a dark dungenous hall, with damaged floor and very little lighting, to that other subdivided exhibition hall.

The entrance to the room 2-F seems to be the furthest away from everything; I hope that not too many would be discouraged by the strange location of this room and the early time of the session.

But at 8 am about 15 people actually attend this session. Just to be on the safe side I try my laptop on the projector - and the image is shifted. What the hell? This never had happened. I try to get tech support, there is one of the conference assistants sitting around the corner. When she comes into the room, someone had already fixed this, and the first presenter could give his talk. So I assumed that the fault was with the projector - the laptops would have to be set to 800x600, I was told. When I as the 2nd presenter connected my laptop again, with the new resolutions settings, the same thing happened again: only the left half of my slides was visible. So I quickly changed the order of the session, accepted the offer of a memory stick from that friendly conference attendee, put my presentation there, and presented as the 3rd presenter on the laptop computer which had been provided by the conference. This worked ok. (Note to myself: next time prepare memory stick with presentation, just in case).

Interesting talks in my session, about gestures and multimodal interaction.
In the following break I visited the exhibition room. Tobii showed their eye tracking system, also another company (Seeing Machines) showed their individual setup of stereo eye tracking. One company from Austria, g-tec, showed a system for controlling a computer through the brain, by measuring voltages around the head.

I met a former colleague of mine: Prof. Axel Schulte, now a chair of the department at UniBw Munich where we both had worked for our PhD in the early 1990s. A nice opportunity to catch up after so many years.

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