DBM170 Designing User Interfaces with Emerging Technologies

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DBM170 / 2020 Semester A Quartile 2 / TU Eindhoven

This course introduces emerging user interface technologies that might impact the future generations of human-computer interaction (HCI) design.

Responsible Lecturer: Dr. Rong-Hao Liang (Since 2020)

Assistant Professor, Future Everyday Group, Industrial Design, TU Eindhoven;

Assistant Professor, Signal Processing Systems Group, Electrical Engineering, TU Eindhoven

Homepage: http://ronghaoliang.page/


To address ID design research challenges where the main objective is to create value and opportunities in systems with “emerging technologies” and materials, This course introduces emerging user interface technologies that might impact the future generations of human-computer interaction (HCI) design. This master elective belongs to both the ID competency area “Technology and Realization” and “User and Society” and offers a skillset of technical HCI research through design. Through a series of lectures and workshops, you will get an overview of the emerging paradigms of natural user interface technologies in the ubiquitous computing era.

The course will cover but not limit to the following topics:

  • Ubiquitous computing and natural user interfaces.
  • Tangible and shape-changing user interfaces.
  • Wearable user interfaces and human augmentation.
  • Rapid circuit prototyping and soft electronics.
  • Mixed-reality (AR/VR) interaction techniques.

Students will be challenged to:

  • Read and review HCI papers, summarize the principles and reflect on their design implications in weekly assignments.
  • Develop innovative concepts of futuristic user interfaces with these emerging technologies and justify the novelty of concepts with literature.
  • Implement proof-of-concept prototypes to demonstrate the viability of the idea.
  • Validate the prototype through well-designed technical and user evaluations.
  • Present and discuss the findings at an academic level. Basic knowledge and skills of programming, physical modeling, and electronic prototyping are required for implementing your design concepts.

The students will team up and develop several feasible product and service design concepts based on the results presented in the emerging technology papers in the midterm and pick one to develop in-depth at the end of the term. The students will deliver final deliverables, including is a work-in-progress paper with a sufficient literature review that shows the societal relevance, an implementation plan that shows an awareness of the technological capabilities and limitations, and a form of evaluation to prove the feasibility of the concepts (e.g., proof-of-concept implementation, preliminary study with an experiential prototype).

Learning Objects

The students will develop realization skills with the introduced emerging technologies (T&R), research skills to keep themselves up-to-date on the emerging technologies (DRP), and made product and service designs that are relevant to users and society (U&S). The main learning points are:

  1. Understanding the visions and theories of natural user interface (NUI) technologies in the context of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).
  2. Developing the abilities to stay up-to-date on the emerging UI technologies and use them to justify their futuristic product and service design concepts.
  3. Learning the fundamental theory and emerging practices of the technology and realization that support the proof-of-concept implementation.
  4. Validating the product and service design concepts in the context of user and society.
  5. Presenting and reflecting on the results at an academic level.


Week 1

Lecture 1a: Visions and Evolutions in UI Technologies

  • Course Overview
  • Visions and Evolutions in UI Technologies
    • Traditional UI Technologies
    • Evolutions of natural user interfaces
    • Visions of ubiquitous computing

Lab 1: Making Soft Touch Sensor Pads

Capacitive Sensing, Vinyl Cutting Circuits, Serial Communication

  • Basic Capacitive Touch Sensing
  • Making Soft Touch Sensor Pads

Week 2

Lecture 2: Activating Your E-Tech Radar

  • How to follow “emerging” technologies
  • How to present research contributions

Lab 2: Making Soft Multi-touch Sensor Pad

  • Making Soft Multi-Touch Sensor Pads
  • Projected Capacitive Touch Sensing

Week 3

Lecture 3: Reality-Based Interaction & Tangible UIs

  • What is natural in natural user interfaces
  • Tangible user interfaces

Paper Presentation

Week 4

Lecture 4a: Shape-Changing UIs

  • Shape-Changing Interfaces
  • Radical Atoms

Lecture 4b: Building Your Knowledge Base

  • Build up your knowledge base with DUIET Citation Trees
  • Use Overleaf to manage your references

Lab 3: Customizing Soft NFC Antenna

  • Use an NFC Reader
  • Modify the NFC Reader
  • Customizing the NFC Reader Antenna

Week 5

Lecture 5: Wearable, On-Body UIs, and Human-Computer Integration

  • Wearables for Easing Mobile Interactions
  • Wearables for Sensing Human Activity and Physiology
  • Human Augmentation and Human-Computer Integration

Idea Pitching + Help Session

Week 6

Lecture 6: Mixed Reality

  • HCI in Virtual Reality
  • HCI in Augmented Reality

Lab 4: Making Soft Actuators

  • Customizing Heat-driven Silent Actuators

Week 7

Help Sessions

Week 8

Help Sessions

Week 9

Final Presentation