Work practise (TET) on Pervasive Computing Lab

I have been in work practice program at Tampere University of Technology. It was very good place. I have had a lot of good time in there. I have edited videos and programmed robots.

There a met this awesome man, Aleksi, who teached me how to program these robots. I spend a lot of time programing robots. It was very fun. I have made my own behavior script for NAO robot. It has camera- and rating system and it can be moved with speak commands. I think that it is good script for four days of programing.

I also edited few videos for Aino. They were videos of a NAO robot. I now have many good memories about this place. I wish that I could stay here longer than a week.

Onni Kolkka.

Posted in RoboUX, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brainwolking on Psychology of Pervasive Computing course

Written by Aparajita Chowdhury, the course assistant

Let’s take our brains out for a walk!

We have (again) been conducting an interesting activity on the course called Psychology of Pervasive Computing. The course is itself very interesting as it connects different aspects of psychology with interactive technology design. However, as during the previous years, we took an attempt to try out something which is not seen very often in teaching. We made the students leave the classroom and discuss amidst nature. The teacher of the course, Aino Ahtinen, came up with a concept of walking meeting named “Brainwolk” around 2015 and since that we have taken the opportunity to utilize this method in our regular classrooms.

Disciplined students walking and talking in a line on Brainwolk!

On the first weekly exercise of the course, we formed groups among students based on their group assignment topic. In the following activity, we introduced the concept of Brainwolk to the students and took them out for an introductory walking meeting. The idea of Brainwolk is that the participants would walk up to each checkpoint discussing about one particular topic – topics are given in advance. When they reach the checkpoint, the discussion is shortly wrapped up and they need to change the topic. One facilitator walks with the participants to the checkpoint, facilitates the wrap-ups and asks the participants to carry on the walk with another topic. Aino and I facilitated the Brainwolk. We first asked the participants to meet at Tietotalo’s lobby where we gave them their first topic. Then we took a walk around the university campus where we set three checkpoints. The discussion topics concerned, e.g. the students’ expectations and motivations for the group assignment. So, the first Brainwolk acted as a team spirit building activity as well as getting to know each other’s targets.

Let the hair fly!

The whole experience was very refreshing and enthusiastic for the students. There were comments from the students like “I never left a classroom before during teaching” and “This was refreshing and different”. Some groups were also discussing about keeping this as one of their “play rules” of their team. So, we got positive feedback from the students. In fact, they seemed to be energized after the walk and actively participated in discussion sessions afterwards in class. Since Brainwolk was such a hit on the first trial, we opted to execute it once more in a brainstorming session later on. Students were excited to do it again, even on a windy day! Although few groups mentioned that it was difficult to discuss in such a weather, they seemed to enjoy the walk overall.

So far, Brainwolk was successful for exercise sessions and this was the third year when we tried it on the psychology course. Since the students seem to appreciate outdoor activities during regular classroom sessions, there might be a surprise waiting for the next batch (who knows, there might be a walking lecture coming!). We hope students (and teachers!) will continue this trend of Brainwolk for boosting their creativity and energy level!

Have a graceful and energetic autumn everybody!

Cheers, Aparajita

“Can we continue for a little longer?”

Posted in teaching, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Greetings from the robotic English class!

I call this research case as “a study of good mood and spirit”. Let me tell you why..

Kids love to dance and sing with Elias. Teacher Nina Pirttinokka like to teach with Elias and has integrated it very successfully to her teaching tasks.

The long-term field study (3 months) of the language learning and teaching experiences with the social robot Elias (developed by Utelias Technologies) is already on the halfway. The study started in August 2018 and it includes user experience data gathering with several methods: classroom observations of English classes,  interviews with the teachers, online questionnaires to be filled by parents based on the discussion with their kids. The study takes place in Tammela primary school, Tampere.

Today, it was the third observational session in class (out of four). Elias is used in this specific English class at least one a week. He teaches vocabulary by making kids to repeat, remember and discuss. Elias succesfully utilizes rewarding aspects in teaching. For example, “the candy eyes” (eyes suddenly changing to multicolored) is very much looked forward rewards by the kids. Activational tasks related to language learning are also very popular among the kids. For example, kids can play “Simon says” and ask Elias to act certain behaviors, and they can sing English songs with Elias.

Kids usually learn in small groups with Elias.

Based on the observations in class, the language teacher Nina Pirttinokka has very successfully managed to integrate Elias to her teaching – Elias seems to be actually part of almost everything that she does with the kids in class. Sometimes Elias seems to live his own life, according to Nina. For example, Elias can suddenly start stretching or tell a joke. This kind of surprising behavior raises a lot of curiosity and interest among the kids. And the kids love to dance with Elias! Actually, when the class started to learn verbs today, the first example of verb came directly from the kids: “dancing”.

So, Elias is clearly part of the class, friend of everybody and a mascot of the school. It brings many surprises and a lot of joy for the school days in Tammela school. Also, every time when I come from the class observation, I feel very happy because of the positive atmosphere in class. That’s why I call this study as “a study of good mood and spirit” 🙂

Cheers, Aino

Ps. Together with Utelias Technologies, we are now also conducting cross-cultural field studies in China and Arabic Emirates. But that is another story then…

Posted in RoboUX | Leave a comment

Plussa 2018 – making learning better

Plussa is working on the development of modern online tools for learning support. The main goal of the work is to develop new functionality to the Plussa learning environment both to the benefit of the students and the teaching staff.

Front-page of Plussa

The new tools contain a modern continuous development pipeline specifically targeted at learning, better support for giving feedback to students during the course, a peer-review tool and an entire online course on the use of version control.

As one part of the work a collaboration with Tampere High School of Technology will start in November. During the winter months, high school students take our Programming I course and get the possibility to take the exam and gain TUT credits as part of their high school studies.

The team was lead by Essi Isohanni until August 2018. Currently the team consists of Pietari Heino, Jukka-Pekka Venttola, Aku Niskanen, Eliisa Väkevä, Samuli Kohomäki, Jyke Savia and Terhi Kilamo. In addition to Plussa, the team has implemented services that plug into Plussa and help with course work.

One major achievement from the group has been the full implementation of a modern software development stack that integrates fully into the programming courses and gives the students the opportunity to learn software development with real tools in a realistic setting.

 

The Plussa project has been working hard for the entire year and the work will be continued in the Ministry of Education funded Smart Learning environments project coordinated by Aalto University from autumn 2018 onwards.

  • Terhi Kilamo
Posted in Project of the Day, Projects, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Andrea Janes Colloquium on “Non-distracting, Continuous Collection of Software Development Process Data.”

Assistant Professor Andrea Janes, Free University of Bolzano-Bolzen

At the Laboratory of Pervasive Computing, we were honored to receive another international speaker in our colloquium series this year. Andrea Janes assistant professor presented his ongoing research at the Free university of Bolzano-Bozen (Italy).  Specifically, his research interests include continuous monitoring of software usage.

Andrea is not new for our lab, he was our visiting researcher three years ago and he previously worked with Valentina Lenarduzzi and Davide Taibi in Italy.

On September 18th, Andrea Janes presented his last research activities focusing on “Non-distracting, Continuous Collection of Software Development Process Data”. This talk presented various approaches to extract data from software processes, analyze it, and use it to use it. These approaches included:

  • using automatic, non-distracting measurement to understand how software is created and how it is used;
  • analyze it using process mining;
  • visualize the obtained data using dashboards and integrating it within the IDE;


The outlook included possibilities to use the collected data not only to inform developers about the way how software was created or how users used the software but to identify:

  • unused software components
  • overused software components
  • generate test cases
  • prioritize test cases

During these days, we worked together with him to identify future collaborations where each of the software engineering members were involved in sharing project idea and possible research goals.

Text by Valentina Lenarduzzi

Posted in people, research visit | Leave a comment

Project of the Day: Human-Centered Robotics (year 2018)

Human-Centered Robotics is a one-year project aiming to develop competences of TUT and Pervasive Computing Lab in human-robot interaction, from the perspective of the human. We are building new courses such as “User Experience in Robotics”, collaborating with various TUT labs and other organizations, carrying out field studies with social robots, and generating new scientific insights.

Project team: Aino Ahtinen (project lead), Aleksi Hiltunen, Aparajita Chowdhury, Chathura Yapa, Kirsikka Kaipainen, Nasim Beheshtian, Pepper, Nao siblings.

Teaching

Robots often participate the lectures and exercises of UX in Robotics course.

We are currently teaching one specific course about human-centered robotics. The course is called UX in Robotics (TIE-41506) and it is taught in TUT campus on the fourth period. It is a multidisciplinary course, which means that students both from technical area (e.g. robotics, automation) as well as from humanistic areas (e.g. human-technology interaction, psychology, sociology) benefit from taking the course. In the course we learn robotics design from the human-centered and psychological perspective. We do hands-on assignments and exercises, experience real robots and visit different sites related to robotics. In addition, we have interesting participatory lectures. The robots have been integrated to other courses as well, such as Psychology of Pervasive Computing and User Experience Design & Evaluation. Robotic related assignments will be also integrated to some programming courses already during this autumn.

Research cases and concepts

Frenckell customer service point. Frenckell, the city of Tampere service point, provides services related to public transport, housing, permits etc. Pepper robot works as a “trainee” during a few days in 2018 at Frenckell, helping out and entertaining customers. Experiential and contextual factors in human-robot interaction in a public, official setting are the focus in this case. Our initial findings suggest that Pepper can evoke stimulation and relatedness experiences among customers. Read more at the Smart Tampere website and check a video. This research case is led by Kirsikka.

How can I help you?

Tammela school robot Elias. We are running a long-term user trial with Elias (Nao) robot in Tammela preliminary school. Elias teaches English and German for the schoolkids. We use multi-method approach on our user study: classroom observations, interviews, diary and questionnaires. So far, the findings are promising. Elias robot has has been warmly welcomed to the school and it has great potentials to motivate kids to learn languages. The study will last until December 2018 and it is led by Aino. Check the video about Elias.

Kids interact very naturally with Elias robot in the classroom.

Robot assisted break exercise. We should all have regular breaks from sitting and standing to maintain our physical well-being and energy. Nao robot has an ability to raise people’s curiosity and persuade them for making some simple movements in between  events and lectures. The concept will be developed further by Aino & Chathura based on the findings from the user studies on field settings, and it is continuation work for the former project around physically active ways of work.

Robot-assisted break exercise concept: Aino & Nao

Mentor robot. This case relates to Aparajita’s masters thesis. We have designed functionalities for Pepper in order to assist the new students with their first day. We have implemented functionalities, e.g. to show direction around the university, find a friend, and advertise activities and events. Furthermore, Pepper can entertain new students by singing and dancing and playing language quiz. We have conducted user interviews to find out the needs and expectations for Pepper. Then, Pepper interacted with the new students in the orientation week. We got valuable feedback of the target audience from interviews, observation and questionnaires. It was very interesting to observe the different reaction from the students.  Most of the people were excited and happy before and after interacting with Pepper. Furthermore, they perceived Pepper as a friend and a guide.

Pepper warmly welcomes new students to Tampere University of Technology in Aparajita’s trial!

Event robot. This Nasim’s thesis research case is mainly about social robots as facilitators of social connections for event participants. The aim of this case is to enhance the social and physical wellbeing of seminar attendees by the use of the social robot Pepper. We attend some events with Pepper and conduct some user studies and contextual inquiries, and finally create a concept based on the result of the study done earlier. Based on the results, we want to design a concept which can help seminar attendees to be able to have a better experience at events and be able to network with other people easier.

Nasim conducting her user research with Pepper in the Conference on work environment research, TUT, September 2018.

Chili – middleware to ease the programming of social robots. Aleksi’s Master’s thesis focuses on making it easier also for non-programmers to instruct Pepper and Nao to do various things. The aim of Chili is to provide a complementary tool for quickly running, testing and modifying different scenarios with a robot.

Posted in Project of the Day, Projects, RoboUX | Leave a comment

TIE Nature Workshop around Robotics

“Aino, can we do this in weekly basis?” “Aino, can we do some more activities?” were the most commonly heard comments after the TIE Nature Workshop around Robotics, which was held in Kirskaanniemi trekking area (Lempäälä) on 11st of October, 2018. People from Pervasive Computing as well as Cognitive Robotics were invited to join a relaxational workshop in the forest and invent new ideas for robot related collaboration in the university.

The workshop included a  1 km Brainwolk walking meeting to the actual fire place. During the Brainwolk, the participants discussed in pairs about what kinds of robots they had met and what would be the robot of their dreams (and how is it related to AI). We also had a couple of nature-based activites along the way. The nature showed us it’s most wonderful colors while we were walking, as the forest was full of yellow leaves. Everything was so peaceful and everybody seemed to get relaxed.

On the fire place location (Kirskaanniemi) we had a learning cafe type of discussion around the following topics: how could robots be utilized in programming course as motivational characters, what kinds of models of agile collaboration we could have for programming the robots, and how could the robots support our wellbeing at work. Plenty of excellent ideas came up – we will be working with them soon. After that it was time to “burn” some sausages and marshmallows, and raise a toast to the anonymous person who just got older but decided never start behaving as a grown-up.

Thanks once more for everybody who joined, I hope you got good memories out of this lovely time that we spent together in the middle of nowhere and without any robots 🙂

CU and Cheers, Aino A.

Posted in RoboUX | Leave a comment

CityIoT – vendor-independent IoT applications for Smart Cities and beyond [2017-2020]

The problem

IoT systems offered by different vendors are often “silos”, where each vendor creates and controls their own separate system. These systems include physical components, such as sensors, as well as the data models and data analysis. Although this end-to-end control simplifies things, there are also serious drawbacks. Vendor lock-in means that new application innovations are hindered, and new data sources are difficult to add, when data models used by different vendors are not compatible.

CityIoT project

In CityIoT project our focus is in Smart Cities, cities where data is used to enhance the quality of life. In the IoT space cities face challenges that include:

  • how to develop applications that utilize data from several systems  operated by different organizations within cities
  • how to share the developed applications between cities
  • and especially, how to enable sustainable business ecosystem for companies that innovate in the area IoT

Our project strives to create a platform which helps communities in creating better services for people living in cities, all the while saving tax-payer money, and creating new business opportunities.

CityIoT project logo

CityIoT project logo

In practice, we in TUT work on open application interfaces, unified data models and reference implementations. The first candidate approach we are currently evaluating is the FIWARE-technology (see www.fiware.org)

Who we are – the consortium and the people

The project is executed in a consortium that includes, in addition to Pervasive Computing of TUT:

  • City of Tampere
  • City of Oulu
  • University of Oulu (coordinator)
  • University of Applied Sciences of Oulu.

In TUT the following people are working in this project:

Contact information

For more information, contact kari.systa@tut.fi or mikko.nurminen@tut.fi. We are happy to provide additional information!

Funding

The project is funded by:

 

Posted in Projects, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

COMPACT 2017-2020

COMPACT (Cost-Efficient Smart System Software Synthesis) is an ITEA3 project with 15 partners from Finland, Germany and Austria. The project aims at automated SW stack generation for embedded and IoT devices, especially firmware including operating system, protocol stacks, device drivers and as a whole everything between the applications and bare metal. The project creates a tool flow that starts from high-level platform and SW modeling, goes through optimizations at source code and compilation level and ends up with an image to be flashed.

Picture: Esko Pekkarinen from our lab and the consortium leader Wolfgand Ecker from Infineon introducing the project at EUREKA Innovation Days 2018 in Helsinki.

Our focus is on creating IP-XACT models on RISC-V for platform generation, and optimization of deep learning algorithms and image processing algorithms for resource constrained platforms. We also develop Kactus2 tool and use Halide to model the algorithms. Our test platforms include embedded GPU and SoC-FPGA devices.

The core team members of the project are Timo D. Hämäläinen, Jani Boutellier and Esko Pekkarinen.

Posted in Project of the Day, Projects | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Attending NordiCHI workshop for Designing for Experiences with Socially Interactive Robots

Written by Aparajita Chowhury

Hello everyone,

Recently I have attended a workshop at Nordichi conference, which was organized by two researchers of TUT (Aino Ahtinen and Kirsikka Kaipainen) along with two other researchers in the field of social robotics. Since my position paper was accepted in the workshop, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Norway and attend this renowned conference. The conference was held in the University of Oslo and Kirsikka Kaipainen accompanied me.

How beautiful is University of Oslo in autumn

The workshop kicked off by Dr. Mohammad Obaid (University of New South Wales, Australia) with the most debatable question “What is a robot?” and “When should we design a robot?” We should also consider the purpose for building a robot and if the users actually needs a robot in certain case. Furthermore, we discussed about the value of having a robot so that it is just not a tablet with a face! Moving on, Dr. Ioana Ocnarescu (Strate School of Design, France) discussed about rituals and how designers utilize that in their designs to evoke an emotional experience. She gave an example of how making tea is a ritual in Japanese culture and how they enjoy the process.

Some organizers attended the workshop remotely

The participants also presented their position paper, and very interesting concepts we unfold. One participant discussed about how movement in robots influence user experience. Another participant proposed an augmented reality based car robot that projects children’s preferred image.

Later on, we moved on to the experience design phase, which was led by Kirsikka Kaipainen. We were divided into two teams and we were given PLEX cards to influence our design ideas. Our team chose to enhance user experience of industrial robots. From the PLEX cards, we finalized three experiences to work with; Relaxation, Submission and Captivation. Thus we came up with a concept of bunny industrial robot.

Overall it was a nice experience for me, since I have attended such workshops for the first time. I hope, in future, I get the opportunity to represent Tampere University of Technology in more conferences and workshops.

A glimpse of our industrial bunny robot

Cheers,
Aparajita Chowdhury

Posted in RoboUX, Uncategorized | Leave a comment