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CM30076 / CM30082
Individual Project

Project Ideas

Dr Eamonn O'Neill

eamonn@cs.bath.ac.uk

The following are some example project ideas. These are merely examples and any project in the area of mobile and pervasive ICT systems will be considered favourably.

Augmenting GPS with phonecam images for urban navigation
A commonly suggested application for GPS is navigation around a strange city using a mobile phone or PDA. However, it is in precisely this urban environment that GPS has serious limitations. Indoors, or even in streets with high buildings, a GPS receiver typically cannot get a reliable satellite fix. This project looks at augmenting the GPS data with images of the user’s environment taken with a phonecam. The phonecam image of a building or landmark will be transmitted, along with any GPS data available to the phone at that time, to a server. Here, the image will be matched against a database of images to get a fix on both location and orientation. This data will be compared with any available GPS data and the results will be fed back to the phone. An interactive application on the phone will assist the user with navigation to his/her destination. The project student will work with the Client-Server Technologies Team at Vodafone Group R&D and be co-supervised by Eamonn O’Neill and John Collomosse.
Pre-requisite knowledge: Knowledge of J2SE, J2ME and JSP essential. Knowledge of C might be useful. Knowledge of transmitting data using SMS, MMS and TCP/IP over GPRS and 3G phone connections preferred but could be picked up during the project if you have the right aptitudes and interests. Don't even think about this project unless you are a good programmer and are interested in HCI with mobile and pervasive systems.
Background Reading:
  • D. Chalmers, N. Dulay, M. Sloman: Towards Reasoning About Context in the Presence of Uncertainty. In proceedings of Workshop on Advanced Context Modelling, Reasoning And Management at UbiComp 2004 Nottingham, UK.
  • D. Chalmers, N. Dulay, M. Sloman: A Framework for Contextual Mediation in Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing. In Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, vol.8 no.1 pp1-18, Springer/ACM (2004).
  • D. Reilly: Marked-up Maps: exploring mixed media for group navigation and information gathering. In Proceedings of Mobile HCI 2004, IEEE Pervasive Computing.
The Effect of Representations on Group Creativity
Since a study in 1958 by Taylor et al, over 50 empirical studies have shown nominal groups (individuals working on their own, and then collating their output at the end) to be more creatively productive compared to real groups (face-to-face interaction). However, in recent work by Warr and O’Neill, they have shown the theoretical potential for real group creativity over nominal groups. However, the failure of this realisation is due to 3 social influences upon creativity – production blocking, evaluation apprehension and free riding. Warr and O’Neill have empirically tested the effect of group composition while controlling social influences showing there to be no difference between nominal and real groups, although real groups significantly replicate less ideas than that of nominal groups. Although, Warr and O’Neill have significantly increased the productivity of real groups, their full theoretical potential has not been reached. One possible explanation of this could be the representation of ideas – textual, visual, etc…. The aim of this project is to compare the effect of different representations on creativity.
Pre-requisite knowledge: Knowledge of quantitative or qualitative research methods would be an advantage. Programming will be necessary in this project – developing prototypes to support various representations. Don't even think about this project unless you are a decent programmer.
Background Reading:
  • Taylor, D.W., Berry, P. C., Block C. H. Does Group Participation When Using Brainstorming Facilitate or Inhibit Creative Thinking? Administrative Science Quarterly, 3 (1). 23-56.
  • Warr, A., O'Neill, E., Getting Creative with Participatory Design. in Participatory Design Conference, (Toronto, Canada, 2004).
  • Warr, A., O'Neill, E., Understanding Design as a Social Creative Process. in Creativity and Cognition, (London, UK, 2005), ACM Press.
  • Warr, A., O'Neill, E., The Effect of Operational Mechanisms on Creativity. in Interact 2005, (Rome, Italy, 2005).
The Effect of Homogenous and Heterogenous Groups on creativity in Nominal and Real Group Compositions
Studies in small group research have shown heterogenous groups (group members from different backgrounds – Communities of Interest) to be more creative than homogenous groups (group members from the same background – Communities of Practice), due to their diversity of domains of knowledge. Warr and O’Neill have shown in their research of creativity that real group compositions (face-to-face interaction between participants) have the potential for being more creative than nominal groups (collections of individuals independently generating ideas and then collating their output at the end). The aim of this study is to see the effect on creativity when heterogenous or homogenous groups are subjected to either nominal or real group compositions. The objective of this research is to lead to design requirements for creativity support tools, allowing for the greater support of group creativity.
Pre-requisite knowledge: Knowledge of quantitative or qualitative research methods would be an advantage. Programming may be necessary in this project – developing prototypes to support idea generation in the different group compositions.
Background Reading:
  • Anything on Small Group Research – See library
  • Fischer, G., Symmetry of Ignorance, Social Creativity, and Meta-Design. in Creativity and Cogntion, (Loughborough, UK, 1999), 116-123.
  • Warr, A., O'Neill, E., Getting Creative with Participatory Design. in Participatory Design Conference, (Toronto, Canada, 2004).
  • Warr, A., O'Neill, E., Understanding Design as a Social Creative Process. in Creativity and Cognition, (London, UK, 2005), ACM Press.
  • Warr, A., O'Neill, E., The Effect of Operational Mechanisms on Creativity. in Interact 2005, (Rome, Italy, 2005).
A Creativity Support Tool for Design - Private, Social, Public Design - PSPD
The Human-Computer Interaction community has long been concerned with the design of usable and useful software applications and computer systems. Terms such as 'creativity' and 'innovation' are frequently used when referring to the design process. Warr and O’Neill have examined what creativity is with respect to design, reviewing the evolution of definitions of creativity, leading to our proposal of a unified definition. With an understanding of creativity in design we have proposed a theoretical account of why collaborative creativity should in principle be more productive than individual creativity contradicting over 50 years of empirical research. We explain the findings of previous research in terms of three social influences: production blocking, evaluation and free-riding. From this theoretical foundation we have conducted a number of studies looking at individual and collaborative creativity: an empirical experiment - the effects of operational mechanisms on creativity, diary studies and videoed design meetings. From the findings of our research we have identified the need to support group dynamics during creative activities – working as a group (public), sub-group (social), and individual (private). Our current research is looking at existing creativity support tools which have mostly been developed based upon practical experience and evaluating there support of creativity from a theoretical stand point. This project aims to build upon our current theoretical work in creativity and our evaluation of existing support tools to develop an environment (PSPD) for supporting group dynamics in creative activities based upon a framework developed by Kostakos and O’Neill looking at Private, Social, and Public interaction spaces.
Pre-requisite knowledge: Programming will be necessary in this project – developing prototypes to support creativity using a range of devices which have private, social and public interaction spaces. Don't even think about this project unless you are a decent programmer.
Background Reading:
  • O'Neill, E., Woodgate, D., and Kostakos, V. (2004) Easing the wait in the Emergency Room: building a theory of public information systems. in Desiging Interactive Systems, (Boston, MA., 2004) pp.17-25.
  • Warr, A., O'Neill, E., Getting Creative with Participatory Design. in Participatory Design Conference, (Toronto, Canada, 2004).
  • Warr, A., O'Neill, E., Understanding Design as a Social Creative Process. in Creativity and Cognition, (London, UK, 2005), ACM Press.
  • Warr, A., O'Neill, E., The Effect of Operational Mechanisms on Creativity. in Interact 2005, (Rome, Italy, 2005).