TOCHI Article Alert: Fall Prevention for Older Adults: Qualitative Results from a Long-Term Field Study

Falls are one of the chief causes of serious injury among older adults, often ultimately resulting in reduced quality of life and a transition away from independent living.

This work deploys a sensing system with an interesting set of exergames aimed at early intervention through improved physical fitness and regular assessment of the risk of falls. While many challenges were encountered in deploying the system, and the user population was necessarily limited to relatively able-bodied individuals due to ethical and safety concerns, a six-month deployment with older adults in their homes as well as in community-dwelling situations showed great promise in empowering individuals to monitor and control their own fitness, health, and fall risk. Making this an enjoyable and entertaining activity that older adults can weave into their daily routines could be instrumental in effecting long-term use with sustainable health benefits.

(http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2967102).

TOCHI Article Alert: Applying the Norman 1986 User-Centered Model to Post-WIMP UIs

This work takes Norman’s classic notion of ‘cognitive engineering’ and updates it to the modern context of touch-based and tangible interfaces.

As the authors demonstrate for the particular case of a 3D object rotation task, Norman’s model still has a great deal of explanatory power for such a task and may continue to give insights into interaction methods and techniques that barely existed as research prototypes when his work was first conceived.

If indeed human beings think with their hands every bit as much (and perhaps even more so) than they do abstractly with reason, then perhaps in this era of the post-WIMP (Windows-Icons-Menus-Pointers) interface our tools for thought have come very far indeed.

(http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2983531).

TOCHI Article Alert: Investigating Expressive Tactile Interaction Design in Artistic Graphical Representations

This article is a wonderful example of something that unfortunately we don’t see come through our submissions queue as often as I would like: namely, a design-research-centric TOCHI contribution.

In particular, this article explores how tactile feedback can be employed in a multisensory context to augment works of visual art. Here, the focus is not on metrics such as bandwidth and speed-accuracy tradeoffs—as are traditional concerns in the use of tactile feedback to augment pointing devices (for example)—but rather largely unexplored questions of expressiveness and new interaction potentials rise to the fore. The result, in addition to a richly illustrated contribution, is a set of affordances for expressive visuotactile interactions, as well as an intriguing design space for tactile augmentation that points the way to new user experiences.

(http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2957756).

TOCHI Article Alert: HCI for Reconciling Everyday Food and Sustainability

This article is a moving example of how HCI has the potential to tackle some of the biggest problems facing the globe by framing these challenges as socio-technical design problems that must be met at the social, cultural, individual, and yes, technological levels.

At present most people’s food practices are mundane and often routine, but as particularly the ‘food pioneers’ probed by this study demonstrate, there are ample insights to be gained from existing practices that could inform the ‘user experience’ of obtaining and preparing sustainable food. And indeed, what ‘sustainable food’ itself entails is a complex interplay of ideas and concerns about what we eat and where it comes from. This is a complex design problem that encompasses everything from the in-store experience, packaging design, on-line shopping, social and family pressures, and awareness of the provenance of food, to name just a few issues unpacked by this far-ranging investigation.

(http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2970817).

TOCHI Article Alert: Design of a GPS Monitoring System for Dementia Care and its Challenges in an Academia-Industry Project

In a research field that—despite our desire to focus on the humans involved—revolves around ‘computers’ and ‘technology’ as much as anything, technologically-minded researchers often take things like location-sensing via GPS tracking for granted.

Yet, as this article so poignantly illustrates, when one delves into what is actually needed to make that technology serve the needs of stake-holders ranging from nurses and caretakers, to the over-arching family-units and organizational structures—and (most critically) the patients themselves, where dementia often manifests in neuro-degenerative disorders that pose ever-shifting challenges for everyone involved—what seemingly should be a ‘simple’ step of location-tracking in the ‘turn to practice’ is fraught with technological, social, and ethical challenges.

Add to that the challenges of academia-industry collaboration mandated by funding structures, and the project-management issues become very complex indeed.

(http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2963095).