In News

Two of our papers have been accepted at the Ubicomp Conference in Heidelberg Germany in September 2016. Congratulations to Bharath and to Linney!

  • L. Cibrian Franceli, N. Weibel, and M. Tentori, “Collective Use of a Fabric-based Musical Surface to Support Early Development in Toddler Classrooms,” in Proceedings of Ubicomp 2016, ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing, Heidelberg, Germany, 2016.

Music plays a crucial role in supporting the early development of toddlers. However, the interaction with live music inside toddler classrooms is rare and limited, as both toddlers and teachers lack of musical training and rapidly disengage when using musical instruments. In this paper, we hypothesize that interactive surfaces could facilitate the use of live music inside toddler classrooms. We evaluated the impact of BendableSound, a fabric-based musical surface that enables young children to play piano sounds. We conducted a 9-weeks deployment study where twenty-two toddlers and five teachers used BendableSound during free-play activities inside their classroom. Our results show BendableSound was successfully adopted and integrated into toddler classrooms, and could positively impact cognitive, social and physical development. These results offer implications for the design of deformable surfaces and for their integration into the activities to support the early development of toddlers.


  • B. Balaji, J. Koh, N. Weibel, and Y. Agarwal, “Genie: A Longitudinal Study Comparing Physical and Software Thermostats in Office Buildings,” in Proceedings of Ubicomp 2016, ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing, Heidelberg, Germany, 2016.

Thermostats are the primary interface for occupants of office buildings to express their thermal comfort preferences. However, traditional thermostats are often ineffective due to physical inaccessibility, lack of information or limited responsiveness, which lead to occupant discomfort. Modern thermostat designs do overcome some of these limitations, but retrofitting them to existing buildings is prohibitively expensive. Software thermostats based on web or smartphone apps provide an alternate interaction mechanism with minimal deployment cost. However, their usage and effectiveness have not been studied extensively in real settings. We present Genie, a novel software thermostat that we designed and deployed in our university for over 21 months. We compare the use of Genie to traditional thermostats. Our data and user study show that due to the clarity of information and wider thermal control provided by Genie, users feel more comfortable in their offices. Furthermore, the improved comfort did not affect the overall energy consumption or lead to misuse of HVAC controls.


The 2016 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2016) will be held in Heidelberg, Germany from Sep. 12-16, colocated with ISWC 2016.


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