Today I presented Arduino at HCI India 2011 as one of the keynote speakers. It is interesting to get a chance of introducing my research in the field of prototyping and the work I do for Arduino all at once to the HCI community in India, which is strongly focused in the creation of software solutions. I attended the track where the Full Papers were presented and got to see a whole lot of projects where Interaction Design and usability techniques are applied to study the use of mobile technologies to help illiterate people getting access to micropayments, learning about irrigation, or just learn how to read.
The other three keynotes went from the very theoretical to the extremely practical. PhD. Mark Billinghurst spoke about the future of Augmented Reality and made some nice demos of the software they are developing at HitLabNZ. PhD. Kari Rönkkö from the Technical University Blekinge (BTH) presented his thoughts around the concept of “Wicked Problems” after designing a whole educational computer system together with ABB. And Prof. M.P. Ranjan, now retired after over 40 years at the National Institute of Design, provoked the audience with his visions on how to approach design thinking and how the educational and value system should be improved in India.
My demo was a walkthrough to the use of ArduinoBT + Processing + Android to conceptualize about the Internet of Things. It worked just great and I had people to program graphical behavior patterns on an Android’s screen by drawing how an LED should fade or a motor should move. I am making a post about this technology that was developed by A. Goransson, D. Sjunnesson and myself during the last month.
Talking about the papers, there were two papers on security that I found interesting as a topic for HCI professionals. Can you imagine designing a password system based in icons for people that cannot read nor write? NAPTune: Fine Tuning Graphical Authentication Rohit Khot, Kannan Srinathan and Rutuja Khot got the conference award to the best research paper and I think it was well deserved.
It was really a pleasure to be among such a selection of speakers, panelists, companies, students and practitioners. Arduino was present and we had fun. IIITB -the International Institute on Information Technology Bangalore- was a great host and the Lord hotel served the best food I have had in India so far (I am living on campus for three weeks, that could be a good explanation for this last statement not that the food here is bad, but that my experience is limited to just two places).
I have to add that there was a lot of video tracking going on at HCI India 2011. Tommy from Tobii presented his slideshow by using only the movement of this eyes. Tobii is a Swedish company specialized in eye tracking that has released a prototype of a laptop with Lenovo including this feature. Also I liked very much the approach to social design by Microsoft Research team. I got someone (Ed Cutrell) to rebate my understanding of HCI vs. IxD and I think I got convinced, but I will figure out a way of turning it around.
BTW, it seems like India is in the need for interaction designers. If you guys are looking for a good job in the field, check out the companies that were present both as sponsors and at the company presentations, because they are hiring. Remember you have to be open minded, have good communication skills, like research, and have an entrepreneurial spirit.