Roundtable Hosts and Co-Chairs:
MEHUL BHATT \ Elisabeth André
University of Bremen \ Augsburg University (Germany)
June 7-8 2017 \ Starting: 09:00 (7th)
Venue: "The Rotunde"


Australia (University of Newcastle)   \    Germany (University of Bremen. Technische Universität Berlin. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. University of Bamberg. Technische Universität Dresden. University of Münster)    \    Italy (Politecnico di Bari. University of Turin + ICAR-CNR)    \    Japan (Kobe University)    \    Sweden (Umeå University)    \    United States (University of Colorado. Cornell University. Vanderbilt University)

Focus Areas

< spatial cognition and computation + artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, knowledge representation and reasoning + cognitive science + psychology + environmental psychology + visual perception + design computing + design creativity + engineering and product design + architecture design + civil and systems engineering + communications and media + aesthetics + art and history >


  • Prof. Elisabeth André (Augsburg University, Germany)
  • Dr. Ilhan Aslan (Augsburg University, Germany)
  • Prof. Mehul Bhatt (University of Bremen, Germany)
  • Prof. Domenico Camarda (Politecnico di Bari, Italy)
  • Prof. Claus-Christian Carbon (University of Bamberg, Germany)
  • Prof. James Cutting (Cornell University, United States)
  • Dr. Chi Tai Dang (University of Augsburg, Germany)
  • Prof. Timo Hartmann (Technische Universität Berlin, Germany)
  • Prof. Inge Hinterwaldner (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)
  • Vasiliki Kondyli (University of Bremen, Germany)
  • Dr. Juhyun Lee (The University of Newcastle, Australia)
  • Prof. Daniel Levin (Vanderbilt University, United States)
  • Prof. Clayton Lewis (University of Colorado, United States)
  • Dr. Antonio Lieto (University of Turin, and ICAR-CNR, Italy)
  • Thamar Luup (Technische Universität Berlin, Germany)
  • Prof. Gesine Marquardt (Technische Universität Dresden, Germany)
  • Prof. Kai-Florian Richter (Umeå University, Sweden)
  • Dr. Carl Schultz (University of Münster, and the DesignSpace Group, Germany)
  • Jakob Suchan (University of Bremen, Germany)
  • Dr. Rosella Stufano (Politecnico di Bari, Italy)
  • Prof. Toshiharu Taura (Kobe University, Japan)
  • Dr. Lucian Ungureanu (Technische Universität Berlin, Germany)


DAY 1 - Wed June 7

OPENING | 9:00

MEHUL BHATT \ Elisabeth André
University of Bremen \ Augsburg University GERMANY

KEYNOTE 1 | 9:15

Prof. Toshiharu Taura \ Kobe University, Japan

TALKS: SESSION 1 | 10:15

Prof. Clayton Lewis \ University of Colorado, United States

Prof. Inge Hinterwaldner \ Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Prof. Mehul Bhatt \ University of Bremen, Germany
| Spatial Cognition in the Wild: Methods of Large-Scale Behavioural Research in Visuo-Locomotive Perception|

COFFEE | 11:00

TALKS: SESSION 2 | 11:30

Prof. James Cutting \ Cornell University, United States

Dr. Antonio Lieto \ University of Turin, and ICAR-CNR, Italy

Prof. Elisabeth André \ Augsburg University, Germany
| Designing for Empathic Environments |

Prof. Daniel Levin \ Vanderbilt University, United States

Dr. Chi Tai Dang \ Augsburg University, Germany

LUNCH |13:00

KEYNOTE 2 | 14:00

Prof. Juhyun Lee \ The University of Newcastle, Australia

TALKS: SESSION 3 | 15:00

Prof. Timo Hartmann \ Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
| Non-Invasive Computer Supported Collaborative Engineering |

Vasiliki Kondyli \ HCC Lab., and the DesignSpace Group, University of Bremen, Germany
| To be announced |

Dr. Carl Schultz \ University of Münster, and The DesignSpace Group, Germany
| To be announced |

Dr. Rosella Stufano \ Politecnico di Bari, Italy
| Designing architecture: how many rules and how many constraints to manage memories? |

COFFEE | 16:00

TALKS: SESSION 4 | 16:00

Prof. Kai-Florian Richter \ Umeå University, Sweden

Dr. Ilhan Aslan \ Augsburg University, Germany

Jakob Suchan \ HCC Lab., and the DesignSpace Group, University of Bremen, Germany
| To be announced |



DAY 2 - Thu June 8

REPORT | 9:00


COFFEE | 11:30


CLOSING | 13:00


Designing for Empathic Environments
Prof. Elisabeth André \ Augsburg University GERMANY

Societal challenges, such as assisted living for elderly people, create a high demand for intelligent environments that dynamically adapt to the users' needs and preferences. Traditionally, the users' situative context and activities have been analyzed to create appropriate system responses. In my talk, I will outline the vision of empathic environments that adapt to sensor data related to the users' physical and psychological state including their activity level, vitality, and emotional state, as well as information on their environment, such as ease and comfort. I will report on the challenges that arise when designing for empathic environments that show highly adaptive reactions, but still need to convey transparent and plausible behaviors.

Designing for Mindfulness and Mindlessness as new Challenges for Experience Design in HCI
Dr. Ilhan Aslan \ Human Centered Multimedia (HCM) Lab, Augsburg University GERMANY

Today, everything seems an opportunity for designing technology augmented interactions and experiences. We are living in environments with increasing demands of interactivity. Even with good interaction design, the sheer amount of designs poses a challenge for human wellbeing, including mental and physical health. Automation and artificial intelligence are promising solutions to support (future) users by reducing demands of interactivity without reducing the benefits of digitalization. We, as researchers and designers, take part in crafting human-computer interactions for a foreseeable future of self-driving cars, self-watering plants, etc. I argue that mindfulness and mindlessness, such as a user’s awareness of their own vulnerability in the present moment, or their carelessness in the present place are key factors in future “human-computer” interactions.

Spatial Cognition in the Wild: Methods of Large-Scale Behavioural Research in Visuo-Locomotive Perception
Prof. Mehul Bhatt \ University of Bremen GERMANY

We pursue an interdisciplinary perspective on conducting evidence-based human behaviour research from the viewpoints of spatial cognition and computation, environmental psychology, and visual perception. In this talk, I will present a brief summary of our most recent impulses aimed at the semantic interpretation of multimodal behavioural data, and the (empirically-driven) synthesis of embodied interactive experiences in real world settings. Of special focus are: visual, visuo-locomotive, and visuo-auditory cognitive experiences in the context of areas such as architecture & built environment design, narrative media design, product design, cognitive media studies (e.g., film, animation, immersive reality).
The technical focus of our research is on developing general computational methods, tools, and cognitive assistive technologies that can be used for multi-modal human behaviour studies in visual, visuo-locomotive, and visuo-auditory perception. Presented methods are rooted in foundational research in artificial intelligence, spatial informatics, and human-computer interaction. The talk will utilise case-studies from large-scale experiments in domains such as evidence-based architecture design, communication and media studies, and cognitive film studies to demonstrate the application of the foundational practical methods and tools.

Design with humans to design for humans
Prof. Claus-Christian Carbon \ University of Bamberg GERMANY

Usually, design research and design practice, especially in the case of technological products, is signed by technological, engineering and economic concerns. Humans, as users and consumers as well as purchasers and recommenders, so a design strategy ignoring psychological factors seems to be rather naïve and ineffective. Here I will present a framework of methods and techniques that include the user’s perspective consequently from the beginning on. This framework aims at addressing the following essential questions of any design process (Carbon, 2016): 1) What does the user want? 2) Does the user understand the product? 3) Can the user handle the product?, 4) Does the user accept the product?, 5) Is the user interested in the product? and, last but not least, 6) Has the product the potential to extend the user’s perspective? To capture the users’ interests, motifs and requirements, but also their experiences while using a product, we need a multidisciplinary approach. Designing products which considered these users’ dimensions will help to create sustainable, enjoyable and usable products.

“Designing” how stories are told
Prof. James Cutting \ Susan Linn Sage Professor, Department of Psychology, Cornell University UNITED STATES

Stories from Aesop to the present tend to have particular structures, and these are nearly universal. Capitalizing on the long history of fictional storytelling the first feature length movies of 1913 and beyond adopted these structures and settled on a general formula by the end of the silent era. The telling of those stories, however, changed with the advent of sound and developed slowly over the next 80 years. This slow process was “designed” by no one and seems due to technological advances and cultural exchange within generations of filmmakers.

Considering Cognition of Inhabitants in the Design of Smart Homes
Dr. Chi Tai Dang \ Human Centered Multimedia, Augsburg University GERMANY

The design of Smart Home technologies and larger Smart Home appliances are primarily led by technological possibilities, such as available actuation and sensor technologies (ignoring color, shape, form, placement, or any design and cognition related properties), and often utilize methods and approaches known from automation for office buildings or public buildings. While this design approach is appropriate to incrementally extend and experience such technologies on demand, domestic spaces such as homes are different. Such spaces are private spaces and occupied by inhabitants with daily routines that are much different from those of work places or public places. I argue that considering cognition of inhabitants in the design of Smart Homes and larger applicances may positively affect home technology experience as a whole.

Non-Invasive Computer Supported Collaborative Engineering
Prof. Timo Hartmann \ Technische Universität Berlin GERMANY

The increasing complexity of engineering products and promises of agile product development efforts requires engineers to collaborate more and more with each other. Additional specialists need to be involved much earlier in the process to, for example, integrate product design with manufacturing. The traditional engineering process during which different engineers with different backgrounds and specializations each provided their design sequentially is dissolving towards a practice of intense collaboration. During such collaboration face-to-face interaction is a must and needs to be supported by advanced parametric product models and multi-physics engineering simulations during integrated collaborative engineering (ICE) meetings. At the moment these ICE meetings are significantly hindered by the existing user interfaces the parametric product modelers and simulation softwares offer. To be used, users need to be experts in the software in terms of understanding the ontological data models of the software, as well as, the graphical or non-graphical user interfaces. Real-time software support of ICE meetings remains clumsy, does not supports the ongoing engineering discussions, and draws attention from the to be engineering product towards the process of steering the software. In our talk at the Co-design Roundtable we will introduce this problematic and provide our first ideas of how to overcome it through non-intrusive design of engineering software. In particular, we will provide first thoughts and results of our research into semantic and ontological modeling, as well as, natural language steered parametric model control.

Why is psychology the physics of virtual reality?
Prof. Inge Hinterwaldner \ Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin GERMANY

In 1990, William Bricken authored the remarkable statement "Psychology is the Physics of VR." Later, further scholars joined the pioneer in VR-research in pointing to the idea that VR-applications, which are seemingly depicting an outer world, might be directed towards the inner life of the audience to a higher degree than expected. According to Kimberley Osberg, VR is "an alternate reality based on perception". And Rita Lauria states that virtual environments "are manufactured towards creating a cognitive state". This contribution explores digitally rendered applications in the context of phobia therapy. Where shall we to look for such cues and how are their design human-centered in order to meet two major aims: first to create presence and second to learn a new behavior in this computer-generated situation. Key words: image/visual studies, medical imagery, psychological therapy, art history

To be announced
Vasiliki Kondyli \ University of Bremen GERMANY

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Dr. Juhyun Lee \ The University of Newcastle AUSTRALIA

This talk firstly demonstrates three indicators of a connection between cognitive activities and creativity in parametric design. The three indicators are geometry versus algorithm use, problem-driven versus solution-driven processes, and expert versus novice activities. The pioneering investigation is further explored by qualitative and quantitative approaches to measuring cognitive complexity. Levels of design cognition and sequential entropies over time will be presented in terms of cognitive complexity, which is also connected to syntactic and descriptive complexities. Our knowledge about design cognition and complexity is discussed. Lastly, I will introduce my recent research projects on multi-cultural design communication. A common assumption in many international creative partnerships is that design is a universal language through which different cultures can readily communicate and solve problems. However, design wouldn’t be a universal language and that the process of designing is actually shaped by cultural and linguistic practices. This will capture the embedded relationship between spatial language characteristics and design cognition in these different cultural settings.

Failures of attention and meta-attention: Insconsequential errors or disasters?
Prof. Daniel Levin \ Vanderbilt University UNITED STATES

A long tradition of research has emphasized the potential for visual attention not only to facilitate processing and awareness, but also to inhibit it. More recently, phenomena such as change blindness and inattention blindness have made clear just how counterintuitive these attention-imposed limits can be, and many authors have argued that that these limits can induce real-world disasters such as car, plane, and train accidents. However, two important objections may limit the utility of linking attention with disaster. First, visual attention is a filtering process that is driven both by structured perceptual information and by knowledge, and it is not clear why research on attention necessarily provides more useful means of preventing disaster than research detailing the perceptual and cognitive constraints that shape attention. Second, the visual-cognitive system reflects an intelligent adaptation to objects, scenes, and events that surround us, and emphasizing failures of attention may falsely adapt expectations about performance to the unrepresentative experimental tasks that scientists use to study these processes, limiting the effectiveness of cognitive interventions. Neither of these objections are universally valid, but they can serve both as a guide to theoretically interesting basic research and improved cognitive intervetion.

Toward A modal Representations for Interactive Simulations
Prof. CLAYTON LEWIS \ Fellow, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg \ University of Colorado, Boulder UNITED STATES

Today pedagogical simulations are developed as presentations of things and their interactions in visual form: learners carry out visually guided actions, and observe their effects visually. For learners who cannot see, designers are exploring auditory representations, using speech and/or nonlinguistic sounds. Would it be possible instead to create amodal representations of content, using neither visual nor auditory presentations, and create visual, auditory, and other presentations as needed from a more abstract form? This talk will propose that the mechanism idea, developed by Darden and colleagues [Philosophy of science, 67(1), 1-25] to describe the development of scientific knowledge, provides an approach to this goal. Simulations from the PhET project will be used as examples to explore the approach. Keywords: knowledge representation and reasoning, communications and media

Cognitive Design: some Perspectives in Artificial Intelligence
Dr. Antonio Lieto \ University of Turin, and ICAR-CNR ITALY

In this talk I will present some of the design perspectives that are usually considered to build “cognitive” artificial intelligence (AI) systems. I will show that some of these perspectives allow to create artifacts belonging to the class of “functionalist models” of cognition while others allow to create “structural” models of cognition (Cordeschi 2002, Lieto and Radicioni 2016). In doing so I will argue that human (or super human) level intelligence in narrow tasks is, in principle, achievable with “functional models”. On the other hand, the “structuralist” design approaches become relevant for the realization of AI systems aiming at developing plausible forms of human-level intelligence in unrestricted and general scenarios.

Quantifying Space, Understanding Minds
Prof. Kai-Florian Richter \ Department of Computing Science, Umeå University SWEDEN

This work explores how (well) quantifiable measures of space, such as centrality or visibility, explain differences in human behavior in these spaces. Our approach is twofold: in a first step we developed a classification scheme for creating visual summaries of existing research in this area. These summaries allow for an easy overview and comparison of research, and also to identify potential research gaps. My presentation will focus on this part. In a second step, in VR studies we will systematically explore how manipulating a quantitative variable (say, centrality) influences human behavior (e.g., wayfinding performance or spatial learning). Keywords: spatial measures, individual differences, space syntax. (joint work with the group of Prof. Alexander Klippel, PennState).

To be announced
Dr. Carl Schultz \ University of Münster, and the DesignSpace Group, GERMANY

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Designing architecture: how many rules and how many constraints to manage memories?
Dr. Rosella Stufano \ Politecnico di Bari Italy

We deal with design in architecture. Design eludes reductions and remains a surprisingly flexible activity, design continues to expand in its meanings and connections, revealing unexpected dimensions in practice as well as understanding (Buchanan, 1992). This is increasingly true. We wonder how innovation comes in the design of architecture, we try to answer it by analysing the design process in its materials and in its actions. We deal with the construction of an ontology about the memories/references of the architect to create a tool that can improve and support the designing phase. As a first point it is useful to analyse and distinguish what kind of memories the architects use, a first distinction is among memories as objects (images, forms…) and rules (normative, functional, relational..) It is necessary to explore and characterize each of this kinds. How many rules has to respect architecture to be considered architecture? And are there some intrinsic properties it has to express? Analogously, it is important to explore the role of rules in their very different declinations. We can imagine a constantly renewed design position – a sort of multiple taxonomy in an ontology, made of analogies and transfers of meanings and results

To be announced
Jakob Suchan \ University of Bremen GERMANY

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Prof. Toshiharu Taura \ Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kobe University JAPAN

In this talk, I am going to discuss the essence of creative thinking in Innovation Design. First, I begin by saying that creativity in Innovation Design can be classified into two types: defixation type and synthetic type. I will be focusing on the latter. Second, I provide a general outline of synthetic creativity by referring to the process of combining two concepts. Third, I will argue that intuition or gut feeling is integral to the process of synthesis. Fourth, we will explain intuition or gut feeling may be originated from inner feeling or sense. Finally, I will present an outline of the design school (workshop) conducted based on these thoughts. As a whole, in this talk, I will show how creative thinking in Innovation Design is closely related to the notions of synthesis, intuition or gut feeling, and inner feeling or sense.