Lars Erik Holmquist
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Lars Erik Holmquist is Professor in Media Technology at Sodertorn University, manager of the Interaction Design and Innovation lab at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science, and a Research Leader at the Mobile Life VINN Excellence Centre in Kista, Sweden. He previously led research groups at the Viktoria Institute and the Interactive Institute. He received his M.Sc. in Computer Science in 1996, his Ph.D. in Informatics in 2000, and became an associate professor in Applied IT in 2004, all at Goteborg University. Since 1997, he has been responsible for securing funding for and leading research projects with budgets totalling over 60 MSEK, including several major European projects. In 2004, he was one of 18 researchers (selected from over 400 applicants) who were awarded a 9 MSEK Individual Grant for the Advancement of Young Research Leaders (INGVAR) from the Foundation for Strategic Research.
In his work he has developed many pioneering interfaces and applications in the areas of ubiquitous computing and mobile services, including personal awareness devices, mobile games, visualization techniques for small screens, tangible interfaces and ambient displays. He has published extensively in the fields of ubiquitous computing, human-computer interaction, information visualization and mobile applications, and his work has been presented at many major conferences in these fields including CHI, SIGGRAPH, UIST, UbiComp, Mobile HCI, InfoViz, and DIS.
He has been active in the international ubiquitous computing community since the first academic conference in 1999. He was general chair of UbiComp 2002, the premier international conference on ubiquitous computing, and is an associate editor of the Springer journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing. He has been a member of many technical program conference committees in the field, including UbiComp, Pervasive and PerCom. He has also been active in the human-computer interaction research community and has been a technical program committee member at CHI, UIST, NordiCHI, Graphics Interface, and many other major conferences.
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Kosara, Robert, Drury, Fritz, Holmquist, Lars Erik, Laidlaw, David H. (2008): Visualization Criticism. In IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 28 (3) pp. 13-15. http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MCG.2008.63
Ljungblad, Sara, Håkansson, Maria, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2007): Ubicomp challenges in collaborative scheduling: Pin&Play at the Göteborg film festival. In Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 11 (7) pp. 563-575. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00779-006-0115-2
Holmquist, Lars Erik (2006): Ubiquitous Japan. In Interactions, 13 (6) pp. 54-55.
Holmquist, Lars Erik (2006): Sketching in hardware. In Interactions, 13 (1) pp. 47-60.
Holmquist, Lars Erik (2006): Inventing the future. In Interactions, 13 (2) pp. 44-ff.
Holmquist, Lars Erik (2006): Welcome to the mobile life!. In Interactions, 13 (3) pp. 57-ff.
Holmquist, Lars Erik (2006): Tagging the world. In Interactions, 13 (4) pp. 51-ff.
Holmquist, Lars Erik (2005): Prototyping: generating ideas or cargo cult designs?. In Interactions, 12 (2) pp. 48-54.
Holmquist, Lars Erik (2005): The robots are coming. In Interactions, 12 (3) pp. 58-59.
Holmquist, Lars Erik (2005): Mixed-up realities. In Interactions, 12 (5) pp. 53-ff.
Holmquist, Lars Erik (2005): Computers?: that\'s so 20th century!. In Interactions, 12 (6) pp. 47-ff.
Holmquist, Lars Erik, Gellersen, Hans-Werner, Kortuem, Gerd, Schmidt, Albrecht, Strohbach, Martin, Antifakos, Stavros, Michahelles, Florian, Schiele, Bernt, Beigl, Michael, Maze, Ramia (2004): Building Intelligent Environments with Smart-Its. In IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 24 (1) pp. 56-64. http://csdl.computer.org/comp/mags/cg/2004/01/g1056abs.htm
Bruno, Per, Ehrenberg, Viktor, Holmquist, Lars Erik (1999): STARzoom -- An Interactive Visual Database Interface. In: Maybury, Mark T. (eds.) International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces 1999 January 5-8, 1999, Redondo Beach, California, USA. pp. 188. http://www.acm.org/pubs/articles/proceedings/uist/291080/p188-bruno/p188-bruno.pdf
Bjork, Staffan, Holmquist, Lars Erik, Redstrom, Johan, Bretan, Ivan, Danielsson, Rolf, Karlgren, Jussi, Franzen, Kristofer (1999): WEST: A Web Browser for Small Terminals. In: Zanden, Brad Vander, Marks, Joe (eds.) Proceedings of the 12th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology November 07 - 10, 1999, Asheville, North Carolina, United States. pp. 187-196. http://www.acm.org/pubs/articles/proceedings/uist/320719/p187-bjork/p187-bjork.pdf
Jacobsson, Mattias, Rost, Mattias, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2006): When Media Gets Wise: collaborative filtering with mobile media agents. In: Proceedings of the 2006 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces , 2006, . pp. 291-293. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1111449.1111514
Håkansson, Maria, Rost, Mattias, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2007): Gifts from friends and strangers: A study of mobile music sharing. In: Proceedings of the Tenth European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work , 2007, . pp. 311-330. http://www.ecscw.org/2007/17%20paper%2084%20Hakansson.pdf
Borriello, Gaetano, Holmquist, Lars Erik (eds.) Proceedings of UbiComp 2002 - Fourth International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing September 29 - October 1, 2002, Göteborg, Sweden.
Cramer, Henriette, Rost, Mattias, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2011): Performing a check-in: emerging practices, norms and 'conflicts' in location-sharing using. In: Proceedings of 13th Conference on Human-computer interaction with mobile devices and services , 2011, . pp. 57-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2037373.2037384
Westerlund, Markus, Normark, Maria, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2011): Express location: supporting coordination of mobile delivery work. In: Proceedings of ACM CSCW11 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work , 2011, . pp. 729-732. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1958824.1958956
7.6 Commentary by Lars Erik Holmquist
When revisiting the original videos by Spence and Apperley, it is remarkable how fresh and practical their ideas still are - and this goes for not just the principles of the Bifocal display itself, but also the human-computer interaction environment that they envisioned. A few years ago I organized a conference screening of classic research videos, including Spence and Apperley's envisionment of a future Office of the Professional. For entertainment purposes, the screening was followed by Steven Spielberg's science fiction movie MINORITY REPORT. In the fictional film, we could see how the hero (played by Tom Cruise) interacted with information in a way that seemed far beyond the desktop computers we have today - but in many ways very similar to Spence and Apperley's vision of the future office. So ahead of their time were these researchers that when these works were shown in tandem, it became immediately obvious how many of the ideas in the 1981 film were directly reflected in a flashy Hollywood vision of the future - created over 20 years later!
It is hard for us to imagine now, but there was a time when the desktop computing paradigm, also called Windows-Icons-Mouse-Pointers or WIMP, was just one of many competing ideas for how we would best interact with digital data in the future. Rather than pointing and clicking with a disjointed, once-removed device like the mouse, Spence and Apperley imagined interactions that are more in line with how we interact with real-world objects - pointing directly at them, touching them on the screen, issuing natural verbal commands. Of the many ideas they explored, the general theme was interaction with large amounts information in ways that are more natural than viewing it on a regular computer screen - something they likened to peeking through a small window, revealing only a tiny part of a vast amount of underlying data.
The Bifocal display is based on some very simple but powerful principles. By observing how people handle large amounts of data in the real, physical world, the inventors came up with a solution for mitigating the same problem in the virtual domain. In this particular case, they drew upon an observation of human vision system - how we can keep many things in the periphery of our attention, while having a few in the focus - and implemented this electronically. They also used a simple optical phenomenon, that of perspective; things in the distance are smaller than those that are near. Later, other physical properties have also been applied to achieve a similar effect, for instance the idea of a "rubber sheet" that stretches and adapts to an outside force, or that of a camera lens that creates a "fisheye" view of a scene (e.g. Sarkar and Brown 1994).
All of these techniques can be grouped under the general term of focus+context visualizations. These visualizations have the potential to make large amounts of data comprehensible on computers screens, which are by their nature limited in how much data they can present, due to factors of both size and resolution. However, powerful as they may be, there are also some inherent problems in many of these techniques. The original Bifocal display assumes that the material under view is arranged in a 1-dimensional layout, which can be unsuitable for many important data sets, such as maps and images. Other fisheye and rubber sheet techniques extended the principles to 2-dimensional data, but still require an arrangement based on fixed spatial relationships rather than more logically based ones, such as graphs. This has been addressed in later visualization techniques, which allow the individual elements of a data set (e.g. nodes in a graph) to move more freely in 2-dimensional space while keeping their logical arrangement (e.g. Lamping et al 1995).
Furthermore, for these techniques to work, it is necessary to assume that the material outside the focus is not overly sensitive to distortion shrinking, or that it at least can be legible even when some distortion is applied. This is not always true; for instance, text can become unreadable if subjected to too much distortion and/or shrinking. In these cases, it may be necessary to apply some other method than the purely visual to reduce the size of the material outside the focus. One example of how this can be done is semantic zooming, which can be derived from the Degree of Interest function in Furnas' generalized fisheye views (Frunas 1986). With semantic zooming, rather than graphically shrinking or distorting the material outside the focus, important semantic features are extracted and displayed. A typical application would be to display the headline of a newspaper article rather than a thumbnail view of the whole text. Semantic zooming is now common in maps, where more detail - such as place names and small roads - gradually gets revealed as the user zooms in.
There have been many approaches that try to mitigate these problems. In my own work, using a similar starting point to Spence and Apperley and also inspired by work by Furnas, Card and many others, I imagined a desk covered with important papers. One or two would be in the center of attention as they were being worked on; the rest would be spread around. However, unlike other bifocal displays they would not form a continuous display, but be made up of discrete objects. On a computer screen, the analog would be to have one object in the middle in readable size, and the others shrunk to smaller size arranged on the surrounding area. By arranging the individual pages in a left-to-right, top-to-bottom fashion it became possible to present a longer text, such as a newspaper article or a book (see figure 1). The user could then click on a relevant page to bring it into focus, or use the keyboard to flip through the pages (Figure 2). This technique was called Flip Zooming, as it mimicked flipping the pages in a book. The initial application was a Java application for web browsing, called the Zoom Browser (Holmquist 1997). Later we worked to adapt the same principle to smaller displays, such as handheld computers. Because the screen real-estate on these devices was even smaller, just shrinking the pages outside the focus was not feasible - they would become too small to read. Instead, we applied computational linguistics principles to extract only the most important important keywords of each section, and present these to give the viewer an overview of the material. This was implemented as a web browser for small terminals, and was one of the first examples of how to handle large amounts of data on such devices (Björk et al. 1999).
Another problem with visualizing large amounts of data, is that of size versus resolution. Even a very large display, such as a projector or big-screen plasma screen, will have roughly the same number of pixels as a regular computer terminal. This means that although we can blow up a focus+context display to wall size, the display might not have enough detail to properly show the important information in the focus, such as text. Several projects have attempted to combine displays of different sizes resolutions in order to show both detail and context at the same time. For instance, the Focus Plus Context Screen positioned a high-resolution screen in the centre of a large, projected display (Baudisch et al 2005). This system made it possible to provide low-resolution overview of a large image, e.g. a map, with a region of higher resolution in the middle; the user could then scroll the image to find the area of interest. A similar approach was found in the Ubiquitous Graphics project,where we combined position-aware handheld displays with a large projected display. Rather than scrolling an image around a statically positioned display, users could move the high-resolution display as a window or "magic lens" to show detail on an arbitrary part of the large screen (see Figure 3). These and several other projects point to a device ecology where multiple screens act in tandem as input/output devices. This would allow for collaborative work in a much more natural style than allowed for by the single-user desktop workstations, in a way that reminds us of the original Spence and Apperley vision.
After over 20 years of WIMP desktop computing, the Bifocal display and the ideas derived from it are therefore in many ways more relevant than ever. We live in a world where multiple displays of different resolutions and sizes live side by side, much like in Spence and Apperley's vision of the future office. New interaction models have opened up new possibilities for zooming and focus+context based displays. For instance, multitouch devices such as smartphones and tablets make it completely intuitive to drag and stretch a virtual "rubber sheet" directly on the screen, instead of the single-point, once-removed interaction style of a mouse. I believe that this new crop of devices presents remarkable opportunities to revisit and build upon the original visualization ideas presented in Spence's text, and that we may have only seen the very start of their use in real-world applications.
Ljungblad, Sara, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2007): Transfer scenarios: grounding innovation with marginal practices. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2007 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2007, . pp. 737-746. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1240624.1240738
Rost, Mattias, Cramer, Henriette, Belloni, Nicolas, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2010): Geolocation in the mobile web browser. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Conference on Uniquitous Computing , 2010, . pp. 423-424. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1864431.1864468
Ljungstrand, Peter, Redstrom, Johan, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2000): WebStickers: using physical tokens to access, manage and share bookmarks to the Web. In: Designing Augmented Reality Environments 2000 , 2000, . pp. 23-31. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/354666.354669
Fernaeus, Ylva, Jacobsson, Mattias, Ljungblad, Sara, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2009): Are we living in a robot cargo cult?. In: Proceedings of the 4th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction , 2009, . pp. 279-280. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1514095.1514175
Skog, Tobias, Ljungblad, Sara, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2003): Between Aesthetics and Utility: Designing Ambient Information Visualizations. In: InfoVis 2003 - 9th IEEE Symposium on Information Visualization 20-21 October, 2003, Seattle, WA, USA. http://csdl.computer.org/comp/proceedings/infovis/2003/2055/00/20550030abs.htm
Bjork, Staffan, Holmquist, Lars Erik, Redstrom, Johan (1999): A Framework for Focus+Context Visualization. In: InfoVis 1999 , 1999, . pp. 53-. http://csdl.computer.org/comp/proceedings/infovis/1999/0431/00/04310053abs.htm
Sanneblad, Johan, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2006): Ubiquitous graphics: combining hand-held and wall-size displays to interact with large ima. In: Celentano, Augusto (eds.) AVI 2006 - Proceedings of the working conference on Advanced visual interfaces May 23-26, 2006, Venezia, Italy. pp. 373-377. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1133265.1133343
Håkansson, Maria, Rost, Mattias, Jacobsson, Mattias, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2007): Facilitating Mobile Music Sharing and Social Interaction with Push!Music. In: HICSS 2007 - 40th Hawaii International International Conference on Systems Science 3-6 January, 2007, Waikoloa, Big Island, HI, USA. pp. 87. http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/HICSS.2007.225
Brown, Barry, Lundin, Johan, Rost, Mattias, Lymer, Gustav, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2007): Seeing Ethnographically: Teaching ethnography as part of CSCW. In: Proceedings of the Tenth European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work , 2007, . pp. 411-430. http://www.ecscw.org/2007/22%20paper%2070%20Brown.pdf
Holmquist, Lars Erik, Ahlberg, Christopher (1997): Flip Zooming: A Practical Focus+Context Approach to Visualizing Large Data Sets. In: Smith, Michael J., Salvendy, Gavriel, Koubek, Richard J. (eds.) HCI International 1997 - Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction - Volume 2 August 24-29, 1997, San Francisco, California, USA. pp. 763-766.
Hakansson, Maria, Ljungblad, Sara, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2003): Like Solving a Giant Puzzle: Supporting Collaborative Scheduling at a Film Festival. In: Proceedings of IFIP INTERACT03: Human-Computer Interaction , 2003, Zurich, Switzerland. pp. 773.
Holmquist, Lars Erik (1999): Will Baby Faces Ever Grow up?. In: Bullinger, Hans-Jorg (eds.) HCI International 1999 - Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction August 22-26, 1999, Munich, Germany. pp. 706-709.
Sanneblad, Johan, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2004): The GapiDraw platform: high-performance cross-platform graphics on mobile devices. In: Doermann, David S., Duraiswami, Ramani (eds.) MUM 2004 - Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia October 27-29, 2004, College Park, Maryland, USA. pp. 47-53. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1052380.1052388
Holmquist, Lars Erik, Helander, Magnus, Dixon, Steve (2000): Every Object Tells a Story: Physical Interfaces for Digital Storytelling. In: Proceedings of the First Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2000, .
Hakansson, Maria, Gaye, Lalya, Ljungblad, Sara, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2006): More than meets the eye: an exploratory study of context photography. In: Proceedings of the Fourth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2006, . pp. 262-271. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1182475.1182503
Gaye, Layla, Holmquist, Lars Erik, Hakansson, Maria, Ljungblad, Sara, Mihalatos, Panajotis (2004): Context photography. In: Proceedings of DIS04: Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, & Techniques , 2004, . pp. 310. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1013115.1013160
Holmquist, Lars Erik, Mattern, Friedemann, Schiele, Bernt, Alahuhta, Petteri, Beigl, Michael, Gellersen, Hans-Werner (2001): Smart-Its Friends: A Technique for Users to Easily Establish Connections between Smart Art. In: Abowd, Gregory D., Brumitt, Barry, Shafer, Steven A. (eds.) Ubicomp 2001 Ubiquitous Computing - Third International Conference September 30 - October 2, 2001, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. pp. 116-122. http://link.springer.de/link/service/series/0558/bibs/2201/22010116.htm
Borriello, Gaetano, Holmquist, Lars Erik (eds.) UbiComp 2002 Ubiquitous Computing - 4th International Conference September 29 - October 1, 2002, Göteborg, Sweden.
Bjork, Staffan, Redstrom, Johan, Ljungstrand, Peter, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2000): POWERVIEW: Using Information Links and Information Views to Navigate and Visualize Informa. In: Thomas, Peter J., Gellersen, Hans-Werner (eds.) Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing - Second International Symposium - HUC 2000 September 25-27, 2000, Bristol, UK. pp. 46-62. http://link.springer.de/link/service/series/0558/bibs/1927/19270046.htm
Hakansson, Maria, Ljungblad, Sara, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2003): Capturing the invisible: designing context-aware photography. In: Proceedings of DUX03: Designing for User Experiences , 2003, . pp. 1-4. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/997078.997101
Sanneblad, Johan, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2003): OpenTrek: A Platform for Developing Interactive Networked Games on Mobile Devices. In: Chittaro, Luca (eds.) Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services - 5th International Symposium - Mobile HCI 2003 September 8-11, 2003, Udine, Italy. pp. 224-240. http://link.springer.de/link/service/series/0558/bibs/2795/27950224.htm
Belloni, Nicolas, Holmquist, Lars Erik, Tholander, Jakob (2009): See you on the subway: exploring mobile social software. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2009 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2009, . pp. 4543-4548. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1520340.1520697
Holmquist, Lars Erik, Maze, Ramia, Ljungblad, Sara (2003): Designing tomorrow\'s smart products\' experience with the Smart-Itsxs platform. In: Proceedings of DUX03: Designing for User Experiences , 2003, . pp. 1-4. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/997078.997105
Jacobsson, Mattias, Bodin, Johan, Holmquist, Lars Erik (2008): The see-Puck: a platform for exploring human-robot relationships. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 5-10, 2008, . pp. 141-144. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1357054.1357078
Holmquist, Lars Erik, Redstrom, Johan, Ljungstrand, Peter (1999): Token-Based Acces to Digital Information. In: Gellersen, Hans-Werner (eds.) Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing - First International Symposium - HUC99 September 27-29, 1999, Karlsruhe, Germany. pp. 234-245. http://link.springer.de/link/service/series/0558/bibs/1707/17070234.htm