作者：微软亚洲研究院 副研究员 Koji Yatani
CHI全称 “ACM SIGCHI计算系统中的人因学会议（ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems）”，是人机交互（Human-Computer Interaction）领域内首屈一指的国际盛会。今年，大约有3500名科研人员齐聚美丽的城市巴黎，共同分享了人机交互领域最新的研究成果。参会期间，我见到了不少非常酷的研究项目演示和以及充满奇思妙想的研究人员，在接下来的文章中，我将分别从计算机（Computer）、人（Human）和交互（Interaction）三个角度，与大家分享我在CHI 2013会议上的见闻及感受。
显示有时候并不一定要在屏幕上才能进行。信息还可以通过更加可穿戴式、更令人身临其境的方式展示出来。日本庆应义塾（Keio）大学的研究人员演示了他们近期在“置换现实”方面的研究工作。置换现实是日本理化学研究所 Naotaka Fujii博士最近发现的一种混合型现实系统。假定用户将随时佩戴HMD（头戴式显示器），而系统则会记录下他所看到的一切。当场景与过去的录制信息大体上重合时，置换现实就能够在用户无法察觉的情况下在现实和过去之间切换。如果切换是如此流畅，用户将无法知道她看到的是现实还是录制影像。这样就能创建一个沉浸式的混合现实环境。Kevin Fan和他的合作者研究了听觉和触觉反馈会对置换现实的感知产生哪些影响。该项目的另一位合作者Kouta Minamizawa博士获得了微软亚洲研究院通过CORE项目计划为该项研究提供的资助。我很高兴他们已经取得了成功，并期待将来看到更令人兴奋的成果。
但他们当中，我最乐于见到的是我们往期的实习生们。来自美国印第安纳大学—普渡大学印第安纳波利斯分校的Joan Savage也出席了会议。我们共同发表了一篇长文HyperSlides的论文。来自早稻田大学的刘野枫也在会场。他曾是我和Darren Edge（微软亚洲研究院人机交互组的另一位研究员）的实习生，我们共同合作了SidePoint项目。来自布里斯托尔大学的Jessica Cauchard曾与我们人机交互研究组的曹翔合作过，他也出席了此次会议。
Taku Hachisu是日本电气通信大学的博士生，他在会议上演示了一种新颖的桌面系统，它能感觉到手或物体触摸显示屏时的接近速度。探测接近速度时的采样率比现有技术要快得多，因此他的系统可被用于提供无延迟触觉反馈。Taku Hachisu现正与微软亚洲研究院人机交互组的Kwangtak Kim合作。
担当学生志愿者是参加会议的另一种很好的方式。CHI是一次规模庞大的会议，没有学生志愿者的帮助是不可能举行的。学生志愿者有很好的机会与其他同学建立人脉联系。在2010年大会上，我也担当过学生志愿者，而且很享受这个过程。今年的会议上，我结识了两名学生志愿者：来自东京大学的Genki Furumi和来自庆应义塾大学的Kevin Fan。Genki Furumi目前正与Darren Edge和我一道，在微软亚洲研究院人机交互组共事。
CHI is the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, and it is the premier international conference on human-computer interaction (HCI). This year, approximately 3,500 attendees gathered at a beautiful city of Paris. I saw many cool research projects and people. I just wanted to share my experience at CHI with you.
Computer: Exciting New Interactive Systems and Technologies
This year, I saw a lot of very cool interactive systems and techniques, which are always intriguing to me. I cannot introduce all of them, but I would like to talk specifically about display technologies. Researchers at MIT and Microsoft presented a 3D interactive desktop environment called SpaceTop. SpaceTop uses a transparent display, and the user places a keyboard and her hands behind the display. The user can then manipulate digital objects on the display by performing hand gestures. Pretty futuristic work on desktop computing.
One of the most impressive work I saw was IllumiRoom, developed by researchers at MSR Redmond. By using a Kinect sensor and projector, the system extends your TV screen to the entire room. The projected images around the TV screen offers additional surrounding contexts, and creates an immersive environment. It sounds like a simple idea, but really impressive.
Another of my favorite displays I saw at CHI this year was flexible displays. MorePhone presented by researchers at Queen’s University, Canada, uses programmatically-controllable foldable displays to inform the user of the statue of the phone. For example, instead of showing an icon of incoming emails which the user cannot see without turning on the phone, MorePhone folds up part of a display. Foldable displays have been explored as an input modality (e.g., you can do zoom-in/out by bending the display), but the novelty of this work is to explore the capability of foldable as an output modality.
Displaying is not just about screens. Information can be displayed in a more wearable and immersive manner. Researchers from Keio University, Japan presented their recent work on Substitutional Reality. Substitutional Reality is a mixed reality system recently discovered by Dr. Naotaka Fujii at RIKEN. Under the assumption that the user is wearing an HMD (head-mounted display) all the time and the system records the vision of the user. When the scene is substantially overlapped with the recorded past, Substitutional Reality switches between the reality and past without letting the user know. If the switching is so smooth, the user would not be aware of whether she is seeing the reality or recorded image. This creates an immersive mixed reality environment. Kevin Fan and his collaborators examined how auditory and haptic feedback could affect the perception of Substitutional Reality. Dr. Kouta Minamizawa, who is one of the collaborators, was awarded funding for this research from MSRA through the CORE project program. I was very glad that they are already successful, and am looking forward to seeing even more exciting outcomes in the future.
Human: Old Faces, New Faces
As CHI is the largest international conference in the field of HCI, I can always see many of my friends; surely, my folks from other MSR labs, but also my old friends of University of Toronto alumni, my research collaborators in Japan and Korea.
But among them, it was the best to see our intern alumni. Joan Savage from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis was at the conference. We had a full-paper publication (HyperSlides) and she also enjoyed our presentation at CHI. Yefeng Liu from Waseda University was there too. He was an intern of Darren Edge and me, and I presented our collaborative project, SidePoint project. Jessica Cauchard from University of Bristol, who worked with Xiang Cao at our HCI group, also attended a conference.
It is always great to see these old faces, but meeting new faces another great fun. This year was very special in this sense because I met two students who will be our old faces. Let me introduce them.
Taku Hachisu is a Ph.D. student at Electro-Communication University, Japan, and presented his work on a novel tabletop system which enables to sense the approaching velocity of a hand or object that is touching the display. The sampling rate of sensing the approaching velocity is much faster than existing technologies, and his system can be used to provide no-delay haptic feedback. Taku is now working with Kwangtak Kim at MSRA HCI group.
Student volunteers is another great way to participate in the conference. CHI is a huge conference, and it would not be possible without their help. Student volunteers have a great opportunity to get connected with other fellow students. I also did a student volunteer in 2010, and greatly enjoyed. This year, there were two students volunteers I acquainted: Genki Furumi from University of Tokyo and Kevin Fan from Keio University. And Genki Furumi is currently working with Darren Edge and me at MSRA HCI group.
Interaction: Get Connected outside the Conference
CHI is not just about a conference. There are always interesting opportunities to get connected with people outside the conference. This year, there were many co-located events, and some of them were themed as Asia.
Chinese HCI researchers organized a conference called “Chinese CHI” in Paris just one day before CHI.
Around 100 Chinese researchers all over the world attended this event, including Shumin Zhai, Ed Chi, and Xiaojun Bi from Google, and Xiangshi Ren from Kochi Institute of Technology, Japan. Xiang Cao from MSRA, one of the organizers, described this event as follows:
“Not only did we see old friends that we meet at CHI every year, but this event also created opportunities for many other Chinese researchers to come and share their research, and also enjoy the CHI conference itself.”
If we say that Chinese go with formality by having a conference, Japanese would go with fun by having a party. Japanese HCI researchers, including me, had CHI Japan Night. My friends and I started to organize this event since last year. This event is intended to be social ice-breaking, particularly for students. Japanese students are often very shy to talk to professors and senior researchers although interacting with them is quite important. This CHI Japan Night maintains the atmosphere of a casual cocktail party, and people are encouraged to talk to those from different institutes. This year, we had approximately 60 people, and enjoyed sharing interests and thoughts with their new friends. I hope that young students had invaluable interaction with professors, senior researchers and fellow students.
So, what’s next?
CHI has been getting larger and larger. It is great to see that so many people are working in the field of HCI and we are still attracting more researchers and students. Particularly, we have seen strong presence from Asia at recent CHI. CHI will be held at Toronto, Canada, next year, and after this, it will be in Korea. I hope that we as researchers in Asia can keep this trend, and even make it larger.