Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry

Section: Research Program

Objective 2: Creating interactive systems

Our objective here is to create interactive systems and design interaction techniques dedicated to the completion of interaction tasks. We divide our work into three main categories:

  • Interaction techniques based on existing Input/Output (IO) devices.

  • New IO and related techniques.

  • BCI and physiological computing.

Interaction techniques based on existing Input/Output (IO) devices

When using desktop IOs (i.e., based on mice/keyboards/monitors), a big challenge is to design interaction techniques that allow users to complete 3D interaction tasks. Indeed, the desktop IO space that is mainly dedicated to the completion of 2D interaction task is not well suited to 3D content and, consequently, 3D user interfaces need to be designed with a great care. In the past few years, we have been particularly interested in the problem of interaction when the 3D content is displayed on a touchscreen. Indeed, standard (2D) HCI has evolved from mouse to touch input, and numerous research projects have been conducted. On the contrary, in 3D, very little work has been proposed. We are contributing to moving desktop 3D UIs from the mouse to the touch paradigm; what we used to do with mice in front of a screen does not work well on touch devices anymore. In the future, we will continue designing new interaction techniques that are based on standard IOs (eg. pointing devices and webcams) and that target the main objectives of Potioc which are to enhance the interaction bandwidth for non expert users.

New IO and related techniques

Beyond standard IOs, we are interested in exploring new IO modalities that may make interaction easier, more engaging and motivating. In Potioc, we design new interactive systems that exploit unconventional IO modalities such as stereoscopy, 3D spatial input, augmented reality and so on. In particular, tangible interaction and spatial augmented reality are major subjects of interest for us. Indeed, we believe that manipulating directly physical objects for interacting with the digital world has a great potential, in particular when the general public is targeted. With such approaches, the computer disappears, and the user interacts with the digital content as he or she would do with physical content, which reduces the distance to the manipulated content. As an example, we recently designed Teegi, a new system based on a unique combination of spatial augmented reality, tangible interaction and real-time neurotechnologies. With Teegi, a user can visualize and analyze his or her own brain activity in real-time, on a tangible character that can be easily manipulated, and with which it is possible to interact. Such unconventionnal user interfaces that are based on rich sensing modalities hold great promises in the field of popular interaction.

We are also interested in designing systems that combine different sensory modalities, such as vision, touch and audition. Concrete examples include the design of tangible user interfaces or interfaces for visually impaired people. It has been shown that multimodality can provide rich interaction that can efficiently support learning, and it is also important in the context of accessibility.

BCI and physiological computing

Although Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) have demonstrated their tremendous potential in numerous applications, they are still mostly prototypes, not used outside laboratories. This is mainly due to the following limitations:

  • Performances: the poor classification accuracies of BCIs make them inconvenient to use or simply useless compared to available alternatives

  • Stability and robustness: the sensibility of ElectroEncephaloGraphic (EEG) signals to noise and their inherent non-stationarity make the already poor initial performances difficult to maintain over time

  • Calibration time: the need to tune current BCIs to each user’s EEG signals makes their calibration times too long.

As part of our research on EEG-based BCIs, we notably aim at addressing these limitations by designing robust EEG signal processing tools with minimal calibration times, in order to design practical BCI systems, usable and useful outside laboratories. To do so we explore the design of alternative features and robust spatial filtering algorithms to make BCIs more robust to noise and non-stationarities, as well as more accurate. We also explore artificial EEG data generation and user-to-user data transfer to reduce calibration times.