Computer Laboratory

Old ACS project suggestions

Project suggestions from the Graphics & Interaction Group

Detecting and correcting home energy use patterns

Originator: Alan Blackwell

This project provides an opportunity to work with an architectural energy researcher, a major building contractor, a building control systems supplier and a behavioural scientist to create interactive prototypes for a new generation of embedded home controls and wall- mounted displays. Two houses in a social-housing development near Cambridge are being retro-fitted with embedded Java-based controllers that can be used to detect energy usage patterns in the home and to help house occupants project and plan opportunities to modify those patterns. Technical aspects of the project are already being addressed by those specialists - the research opportunity is to apply signal detection techniques and advanced user interface design layered on the hardware that they provide.

Variants on Doo-Sabin subdivision

Originator: Neil Dodgson

Our recent paper, Deriving box-spline subdivision surfaces, describes five dual quadrilateral binary box-spline schemes (Fig. 8) that can all be considered variations of Doo-Sabin subdivision. Two of those five have never been extended to the extraordinary cases (the C2 six-arrow scheme and the C3 eight-arrow scheme). The project is to extend both of these schemes to handle extraordinary cases, then to implement all five schemes and compare them against one another.

Investigation of other subdivision schemes

Originator: Neil Dodgson

Our recent paper, Deriving box-spline subdivision surfaces, also suggests a couple of other new subdivision schemes, that may be worth investigating. These are described in Sect. 7, bullet points 2 and 3.

On-mobile programming

Originator: Andrew Rice, Alan Blackwell, Luke Church

We think that programming using a mobile device is an important issue. On-mobile programming is important both in allowing users to match the huge range of functionality in these devices to their own needs and also for accommodating the huge numbers of people using mobile phones around the world without access to any conventional computing platform. This project will draw on existing HCI research into the design of more usable programming environments, in order to build a programming interface for Google Android handsets.

Simulated air traffic control

Originators: Peter Robinson & Ian Davies

The Computer Laboratory has a Kinetic Avionics SBS-1 receiver which picks up beacon signals from most commercial aircraft flying above 1000m within about 150km of Cambridge. This could be used to collect logs from which typical patterns of air traffic into the main London airports could be inferred. These could then be used to drive a simulator and present them on the tabletop display. The operator could then plan routes for the aircraft so that they reach their intended destinations suitably spaced out in time without conflicts. The simulator could also increase the volume of traffic by introducing additional flights to measure what load the operator could manage accurately.

Distracted driving

Originators: Peter Robinson & Ian Davies

The Graphics & Interaction Research Group has a car simulator for experiments on distracted driving. This uses the commercial CarSim simulator, but can also be used with Grand Theft Auto which actually gives better animation. GTA has APIs that allow details of the available routes and the car's exact path to be extracted. These could be used to make a navigation system and then check how accurately the driver follows the roads while interacting with the system's display. Further information could also be obtained by monitoring the driver's eye gaze direction.

Eye gaze and emotions

Originators: Peter Robinson & Laurel Riek

A recent paper [Thomas et al 2007] shows that the ability to recognise emotions in photographs of faces develops during adolescence. Repeat this using video clips of naturally evoked emotions.

Tangible tabletop

Originators: Peter Robinson & Ian Davies

Use a camera with the tabletop display to allow tangible interaction with programs through everyday objects, perhaps using 2D barcodes for recognition and location.

Animated puppets

Originators: Peter Robinson & Neil Dodgson

Track a person's hands and animate an avatar as if it were a marionette in response.

Visual services

Originator: Peter Robinson

Tangible user interfaces could be built using a standard mobile phone and 2D bar-codes [Controlled availability of pervasive Web services, IEEE ICDCS 2003]. Design, build and evaluate such a system.

Propose your own project

The Graphics & Interaction Group has a range of interesting hardware. Consider the useful research that could be done if you had access to this and propose something novel and interesting. The equipment currently includes: