Trip Report INTERACT 2015

INTERACT 2015Last week I attended the INTERACT 2015 conference in Bamberg, Germany. It has been a while since I have been at an HCI conference. It was interesting to listen to talks focussed on other technology than robots. I noticed that the HRI community could still profit from a lot of synergies with the HCI community, e.g. the Internet of Things does not really consider robots as “objects” in their world or the task modelling people only consider safety critical systems such as control rooms or air planes, but not robots.

My colleague Lara Lammer presented our research on educational robots (Lara Lammer, Astrid Weiss, Markus Vincze: The 5-Step Plan – Empowered Children’s Robotic Product Ideas. INTERACT (2) 2015: 557-564), which was interestingly scheduled in the HCI for education session and not in the HRI session. It extremely well, so at that point kudos to the PC for putting together the program.

It was a pleasure to meet so many colleagues, above all so many members and alumni from the University of Salzburg (chechk out the really cool new website of the Center of HCI). But also the TU Wien was well represented with Prof. Geraldine Fitzpatrick (organizing the Doctoral Consortium) and Prof. Hilda Tellioğlu presenting the presenting the Institute for Design and Assessment of Technology (the institute at TUW in which I would love to continue my research efforts in future!) in the Organizational Overview Session.

One sidemark, which has nothing to do with my academic life: The refugee crisis was a very prominent discussion topic during the breaks…the German border was closed the night before I took the train from Vienna to Bamberg. Our train was stopped in Passau, police went through the wagon a face check was done and depending on your looks the ID was checked and refugees had to leave the train. Everything ran smoothly, nobody complained, no stress, no nothing…however to be honest the situation left me with a very strange gut feeling. I am happy that my University organizes supporting measures during a very critical period of history in Europe: