New publication: URQUELL: Using wrist-based gestural interaction to discover POIs in urban environments

In this paper, we discuss the implementation of a prototype application (URQUELL) for the opportunistic discovery of POIs in a urban environment, and the multimodal, non-visual interaction with the system to retrieve details about these. The application works by pointing a smartphone or a wrist- worn sensor kit towards a physical venue location of interest. By retrieving information about the venue pointed at over various APIs, the application presents these to the users via high quality text-to-speech synthesis, negating the need to interact with the smartphone, which can be kept in a user’s pocket at all times. Here, we discuss the implementation details of our prototype and outline future research directions.

Komninos, A., Sarakinos S., Marini L., & Garofalakis J. (2018).  URQUELL: Using wrist-based gestural interaction to discover POIs in urban environments. WristSense 2018: Workshop on Sensing Systems and Applications Using Wrist Worn Smart Devices, Co-located with IEEE PerCom'18. Athens, Greece, IEEE.
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Nominated "Achaea Person of the Year" (Science & Education)

The biggest newspaper in Western Greece covering national news and news from the prefecture of Achaea, organises yearly its "Persons of the Year" awards. I had the honour of being nominated for this award, under the "Science & Education" category, for the work I did on Swymm (a crowdsourcing app for the condition of swimming beaches in the region).

New publication: Where's everybody? Comparing the use of heatmaps to uncover cities' tacit social context in smartphones and pervasive displays.

We introduce HotCity, a city-wide social context crowdsourcing platform that utilises user's current location and geo-tagged social data (e.g., check-ins, "likes" and ratings) to autonomously obtain insight on a city's tacit social awareness (e.g., "when is best time and where to go out on a Saturday night?"). HotCity is available as a mobile application for Android and as an interactive application on pervasive large displays, showcasing a heatmap of social buzz. We present the results of an in-the-field evaluation with 30 volunteers, of which 27 are tourists of the mobile app, compare it to a previous evaluation of the pervasive display app and also present usage data of free use of the pervasive display app over 3 years in the city of Oulu, Finland. Our data demonstrate that HotCity can communicate effectively the city's current social buzz, without affecting digital maps' cartography information. Our empirical analysis highlights a change in tourists' foci when exploring the city using HotCity. We identify a transition from "individual [places]" to "good [areas]" and "people [choices]." Our contributions are threefold: a long-term deployment of a city-wide social context crowdsourcing platform; an in-the-field evaluation of HotCity on mobile devices and pervasive displays; and an evaluation of cities' tacit knowledge as social context as a denominator in city planning and for the development of future mobile social-aware applications.

Komninos, A., Besharat J., Ferreira D., Kostakos V., & Garofalakis J. (2017).  Where's everybody? Comparing the use of heatmaps to uncover cities' tacit social context in smartphones and pervasive displays.. Information Technology & Tourism, Springer. 17(4), 399-427.. DOI:10.1007/s40558-017-0092-5
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