SqueezeBands: Hugging Through the Screen

By on

A woman raises her hand towards a webcam during a videochat with a friend. Her hand is encased in a cloth device with shape memory alloy springs.
Lucy and Jackie demonstrate using SqueezeBands to send a high five! The camera detects mutual gestures like this one and creates a sensation of touch by squeezing and heating each person’s hand band.

 

When I Skype with my family, I really wish that I could reach through the screen to give them a hug! Instead, we sometimes have to pretend—we lean forward “hugging” the monitor or bring our hands towards the camera to do a virtual “high five.” What if you could actually feel some of that touch instead of just having to imagine it?

(more…)

Your feelings of connecting to a group can predict your future behavior

By on

Maybe you’ve joined a group recently could be a Taekwondo group, a wine tasting club, a fantasy football league, or whatever. Do you know that how people felt “connected” to a group before they joined can predict their future behavior in the group? Social psychologists have identified two conceptually distinct ways a member can connect with a group — identity-based attachment (e.g., “I feel connected to the Taekwondo group because I started to learn Taekwondo when I was a kid!”) and bonds-based attachment (e.g., “I feel connected to the wine tasting club because my best friend Daniel is a club member!”) — and worked to understand their causes and consequences. What we have done is study how connections between a person and an online group can predict that person’s future behavior.

(more…)

The more they try, the more they are likely to come back!!

By on

Are you trying to launch an online site for customers? Do you know that on an average, 60% of users do not return after using the site once?

In this research, we discover factors that predict whether first-time users return to MovieLens, our movie recommendation site.  A model based on these factors successfully predicts 70% of returning users (and non-returning ones).  Notably, the best single predictor of user return is the diversity of features explored in the user’s first session!  Along the way, we develop a process and a metric for activity diversity — one that can be applied to any site or context. Interested in further details?

(more…)

How do People Ask for Recommendations?

By on

While your TV’s remote might already have a microphone in it for voice commands, it is no replacement for a video store clerk. The current generation of devices respond to a limited set of commands, offer mostly shallow integration with deeper personalization, and may not understand complicated recommendation-seeking questions. Our research aims to develop techniques that can bring together voice recognition technologies, personalization, and advanced search features to provide more natural ways for people to discover new digital content. (more…)

87% of People Got This Question about Their Door Lock Wrong!

By on

You drive home and park. Your car is full of groceries and other shopping, which take many trips to bring into the house. Five minutes after you drove in, you are still making trips to the car. Is the door locked or unlocked?” What if I told you that 87% of people got this question wrong? Sensors and “smart” devices for your home may hold the promise of making life more convenient, but they may also make it harder to understand and predict things like the state of you “smart” door lock in common situations like the one above. Want to give it a try?

(more…)