Milestones in HCI - CS Multimedia Lab

Milestones in HCI
CSE/ISE 323 Spring 2011
Tony Scarlatos
Human Factors before World War II
• Prior to WWII managers in industry sought to train or fit the
worker to the technology, not the other way around.
• Some studies were done to see if worker productivity could
be increased due to environmental factors (such as the level
of illumination in the factory). One set of studies in the 1920’s
at the Hawthorne Works of Western Electric led to the
identification of the Hawthorne Effect. The Hawthorne Effect
indicated that increases in worker productivity were actually
caused by increased motivation, due to the interest being
shown in the workers, rather than changes in environmental
WWII and Aviation Safety
• Col. John C. Flanagan develops the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) - a set
of procedures used for collecting direct observations of human behavior
that have critical significance and meet methodically defined criteria. His
research work was done for the Aviation Psychology Program of the US
Army Air Force. He published his findings in 1954.
• Alphonse Chapanis is considered one of the founders of the field of
ergonomics. One of his contributions was the shape-coding of cockpit
controls so that they could be differentiated by touch alone. After a series
of B-17 crashes, he determined that pilots were confused by the similarity
and proximity of the flap and landing gear switches, so he proposed that a
wheel be attached to the landing gear control and a triangle be attached
to the flap switch.
Cockpit Control Comparison
The P51 was the most successful fighter aircraft of the war, in part due to its pilot-friendly ease of use.
Paul M. Fitts
Paul M. Fitts was a psychologist at Ohio State
University. He developed a model of human
movement, Fitts's law, based on rapid, aimed
movement, which is one of the most well
studied models of human motion. As a
researcher of human factors during his time as
Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Air Force,
Fitts became known as one of the pioneers in
improving aviation safety.
Vannevar Bush
Vannevar Bush was F.D.R.’s
science advisor during WWII.
In 1945 he published his
thoughts about the
emerging information age in
an influential article
published in The Atlantic
magazine entitled, “As We
May Think”. His design for
the Memex (Memory
Extender) was a vision of the
personal computer of today.
The Memex
Whirlwind was developed at
MIT for the US Navy as a flight
simulator system to train
bomber crews. It was the first
computer to operate in real
time (using Direct Memory
Access – DMA) and to use
video displays (CRT’s) for
It’s development led directly to
the US Air Force’s SAGE system,
and indirectly to
minicomputers of the 1960’s.
Chief engineer Ken Olsen went
on to become the founder of
Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC).
Semi-Automatic Ground Environment
SAGE was an automated
control system for
tracking and intercepting
enemy jet bomber
aircraft from the 1950’s
into the 80’s. It
introduced real time
computing and data
communication using
modems. Note the light
pens used to interact
with the system.
J.C.R. Licklider
Licklider was an MIT professor
who became head of the
Information Processing
Techniques Office (IPTO) of the
Advanced Research Projects
Agency (ARPA), where his vision
led to the development of
ARPANET, forerunner of the
Internet. In 1960 he published an
influential paper entitled “ManComputer Symbiosis” which
introduced the ideas of human
factors for the first time to
Douglas Engelbart
Engelbart was greatly influenced by
reading “As We May Think”. At the
Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in
the Augmentation Research Center
(ARC) he developed the computer
mouse and received a patent for it
in 1970. Englebart’s lab at SRI and
UCLA were the first 2 nodes of
ARPANET. Engelbart was an
evangelist for networked computer
systems to increase collective
human intelligence to solve world
problems. He pioneered an early
version of hypertext at the “Mother
of All Demos” in 1968 that inspired
a generation of technologists.
Morton Heilig was a
cinematographer who
patented a multisensory
entertainment device called
the Sensorama in 1962. Users
were presented with a 3D
movie, sounds, vibrations, and
even smells from the short
subjects stored on the device.
It was a commercial flop, but
many consider Heilig to be “the
father of VR”.
Ivan Sutherland & Sketchpad
Sketchpad was a computer
program, written in 1963 in
the course of Sutherland’s
Ph.D. thesis at MIT, for
which he received the
Turing Award in 1988.
Sketchpad was the first
program to ever utilize a
complete Graphical User
Interface (GUI).
Sutherland also developed
the first Virtual Reality (VR)
headset in 1968.
Alan Kay & the Dynabook
Kay proposed the first
laptop/tablet computer,
called the Dynabook, in
1968. His vision was for an
educational computer for
children running the Logo
programming language
developed by Seymour
Papert at MIT. Kay later
joined the researchers at
Xerox PARC.
Bob Taylor & Xerox PARC
Taylor was a protégé of
Licklider and became head
of ARPA’s IPTO after Licklider.
He then became director of
the Xerox Palo Alto Research
Center (PARC) where most of
the foundational
technologies of personal
computing were developed,
such as the GUI and
WYSIWYG word processing.
Xerox PARC
In addition to the GUI, researchers at
PARC developed Ethernet networking
(Bob Metcalfe, founder of 3Comm);
the precursor to the Postscript page
description language (John Warnok,
founder of Adobe Systems); the
Smalltalk object-oriented
programming language (Alan Kay); the
WYSIWYG text editor (Charles
Simonyi, and Larry Tessler, later chief
scientist at Apple); and the laser
printer (Gary Starkweather). Although
the Xerox Alto and Xerox Star
computers were not commercial
successes, their technology was the
basis for the Apple Macintosh.
The Apple Macintosh
Introduced in 1984, the
Macintosh introduced the
GUI and the mouse input
device to personal
computing. A visionary
device, it even had speech
synthesis. The primary
developers at Apple were
Bill Atkinson and Andy
Hertzfeld. The product
shipped with 2 applications
– MacWrite and MacDraw.
The Sayre Data Glove
Developed by in 1977 by Daniel
J. Sandin, with Thomas DeFanti
and Richard Sayre, at the
Electronic Visualization
Laboratory at the University of
Illinois, the Sayre Data Glove
was the first of its kind of input
device. In 1991, Sandin
developed the CAVE system
that is a standard for Virtual
Reality (VR) environments to
this day.
A later model data glove (by Thomas Zimmerman)
on the cover of Scientific American in 1987
Developed by Myron
Krueger in 1975,
Videoplace was an
performance art
piece that allowed
the user to interact
with the display
through gestures.
The Kurzweil Reading Machine
In 1976 Ray Kurzweil
demonstrated the Kurzweil
Reading Machine, which relied on
optical character recognition (a
technology he invented), and 2
technologies he refined, the CCD
flatbed scanner and Text To
Speech (TTS) synthesis. This
technology was developed to read
books aloud to the blind. His
company, Kurzweil Applied
Intelligence, also developed the
first commercial speech
recognition system.
Very Nervous System
In 1991, David Rockeby introduced his “Very
Nervous System”, in which a computer observes
the gestures of a dancer through a video camera.
The computer then translates those movements
into improvised synthetic music in real time.
The Apple Newton
Apple introduced the
Newton in 1992. It was a
portable computing device
called a Personal Digital
Assistant (PDA) that used a
stylus for input, and
incorporated hand-writing
recognition. It was
unsuccessful commercially
but paved the way for many
PDA’s to come, such as the
Palm Pilot.
The iPod, the iPhone & the iPad
The iPod digital music player was
released in 2001. The “click wheel”
interface and compact size of the
device made the product an icon. The
iPhone, released in 2007, also
established a new paradigm in
portable computing. The multi-touch
screen interface, wireless and cellular
networking, GPS, accelerometer,
microphone and camera, provided
developers with many new tools to
craft a user experience. The iPad,
released in 2010, established a
paradigm for a new type of mobile
device, the touch tablet.
Microsoft Surface
MS Surface,
commercially available
since 2005, is an
interactive coffee-table
sized device that
supports multi-touch
input and multiple
users. It can also read
the bar codes and
magnetic stripes of
objects placed on it.
Nintendo Wii
Released in 2006, the Wii
features a wireless
controller that is tracked
by the video game
system in 3 dimensions
through Infrared (IR). An
peripheral to the system,
the Wii Fit Balance Board,
communicates pressure
sensor data to the system
and can be used in
Microsoft Kinect
The Kinect is a game
controller that uses a
computer vision
interface, so the user’s
motion, pose, and
gesture are the input.
The system can track
the movements of 2
players. It also uses
speech input.
The Future: Holographic Displays
The ICT Graphics Lab
at USC has prototyped
a low-cost volumetric
3D display, which
presents the
appropriate view of
the object to all
observers in the room
without the need for
polarized glasses.

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