SIGGRAPH Course: Design of Interactive Multimodal Media Systems
Design of Interactive Multimodal Media Systems
by Wendy Ju
How do you hide a six-foot gorilla in the center of a video frame?
Researchers from the University of British Columbia demonstrated
this and other curiosities of human perception in their course on
the Design of Interactive Multimodal Media Systems.
The course, geared for those involved in designing interactive
media and applications, presented breaking research in how people
attend to various aspects of visual and multi-modal information,
and provided techniques for harnessing these understandings to direct
how people interact with emerging technologies.
For instance, Ronald Rensink, an Assistant Professor in both the
Computer Science and Psychology departments at University of British
Columbia, illustrated the difference between attentional and non-attentional
vision processes by asking people to count the number of times a
team of players bounced a ball to one another in a short video.
Afterwards, a quarter of the audience admitted that they did not
see the man in the gorilla suit walk right through the center of
that video segment.
Michael Halle, from the Harvard Medical School, sees immediate
applicability of the ability to "design attention" in
his work on computer graphics for surgery. "It's interesting
to have a talk about things we see all the time, but we don't know
we see... If a doctor is looking at one piece of information on
the computer screen and something
else is important and relevant, then we want to lead the surgeon
to that new location but not necessarily distract them from something
more important so this is very central to that sort of interface
The presentations covered a broad array of topics in the field
of multimodal system design. The sessions before lunch focused on
understanding human perception. Brian Fischer presented findings
on how our senses interact, affecting our overall perceptions. Ronald
Rensink discussed studies of human vision to demonstrate that how
we see has a lot to do with what we're attending to. After lunch,
the sessions were geared on how to integrate the understandings
of how we sense the world in actual designs. Karon Maclean reviewed
methods for physical interaction design using haptics and multimodal
interfaces, and Sid Fels surveyed novel human interface technologies.
The course presenters fearlessly backed controversial positions
regarding multimodal system design. They proposed, for example,
that within seemingly single modes there were numerous "modules"--
such as attentional and non-attentional vision-- which could be
exploited to design the user's percept of
the world. They also countered the oft-held belief that such design
should always be user-centric. Sid Fels, from the UBC department
of Electrical and Computer Engineering, argued that since users
do not always know what's going on, it is sometimes necessary to
go to theories of human perception to determine how best to design
tools for human use.
Above all, the lecturers of the course felt that such technologies
will be a growing aspect of SIGGRAPH in the coming years. "SIGGRAPH,
remember, is graphics and interactive techniques-- it's often left
out. But graphics is evolving. It's about the human in the loop,"
affirmed Fels. "What we see is influenced by what we hear and
what we touch, so it's no longer just about graphics."
New this year:
Web Graphics, Fast Forward Papers, Papers on Tuesdays, Courses on Wednesdays, Courses at 8:30AM on SUNDAY!!!
The annual conference is a chance to see friends you might only see at SIGGRAPH.
is the name of the show. ACM SIGGRAPH is the name of the organization.
from SIGGRAPH 2002