Interactive Technologies for Children

We are interested in leveraging technology to help children participate in nurturing and empowering experiences. To that end, we focus on practical, innovative interactive systems that fits into children’s culture. We develop these systems and evaluate them with children through empirical lab-studies as well as field trials in after-school workshops.

Main Research Topics

Contact: Swamy Ananthanarayan

Ambient Displays

We use ambient displays, also referred to as “peripheral displays”, to display information with varying levels of needed user attention, ranging from change-blind to interrupting.

Main research topics:

  • Unobtrusive Reminders / Non-Interrupting Alerts
  • Attention Guidance
  • Ambient Light Displays

Contact: Andrii Matviienko

Automotive User Interfaces

With the change from manual driving to automated driving come new challenges for the automotive domain. Our research looks into novel interfaces to not only support drivers in manual driving but also drivers/passengers of automated vehicles.
We evaluate novel interfaces, like a vibro-tactile belt, a shape-changing steering wheel or ambient light patterns inside the vehicle. Scenarios include navigation, highway overtaking, safe distance keeping, taking over the control of an automated vehicle, or intuitively understand an automated vehicle’s intention.
For most of our experiments, we use a 150° fixed-base driving simulator and, depending on the research question, measure driving performance, gaze behavior, and/or driving experience.
This research is supported by the projects COMPANION and CSE.
Contact: Wilko Heuten

Augmented and Virtual Reality

We are investigating novel interaction methods and visualization techniques for Augmented and Virtual Reality. In that regard, we also fabricate new devices in our own Fablab. We evaluate our results in empirical lab studies.

Main Research Topics

  • Visualization of out-of-view objects in Mixed Reality
  • Attention Guidance in Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Reducing alarms on Intensive Care Units
  • Novel techniques for medical care
  • Industry 4.0

Contact: Sebastian Weiß

Health Informatics

An important key to aging healthily is physical activity. The aim of the project AEQUIPA is the development of interventions which promote physical activity in old age. Therefore, factors within a community which influence the mobility are being investigated and interventions developed. A particular focus lies on measures which are applicable to all socio- economic groups of people within the community.
Within the scope of AEQUIPA, OFFIS examines the application of technology-based interventions on the basis of sensor-detected vital parameters for the preservation of mobility of older people. Furthermore, OFFIS is working on detecting preventive measures for functional decline of muscle groups and is creating a system for monitoring and displaying physical activity.
Project websites: OFFIS AEQUIPA project page and
Contact: Elke Beck

Designing for Social Acceptability

Emerging technologies solve challenging problems, but might also create new threats, raise new concerns, and increase social tension between users and non-users. In consequence, these technologies need to be designed in a socially acceptable way. Research challenges include:

  • Assistive devices need to balance the trade-off between being recognized as such to increase social acceptability and being unobtrusive to reduce stigmata.
  • Visual tracking technologies, such as used for Augmented Reality applications, have to rely on an environment-facing camera to be functional. However, the use of ubiquitous smart cameras (SmartCams) in public spaces is problematic, and requires adequate legal, technical, and social framing. We researched these as part of BMBF project ChaRiSma.

We are also co-organizing a workshop on the social acceptability of emerging technologies at this year’s ACM CHI — Visit the workshop website at
Contact: Marion Koelle