Francesco’s street-crossing-safety-slider presented during the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

In traffic, humans communicate with all different kinds of signals, nods, winks and shouts what they are doing and what they want others to do. Annoying as that might sometimes be, it is also quite critical for other road users. How does one otherwise interpret if they have been seen by a driver or if an oncoming car will let them cross the road safely? Automated and self-driving vehicles, of course, miss the ability to communicate by default. Thus, new ways of creating clear and meaningful interactions between cars and humans need to be designed. At the forefront of these developments is our own Francesco Walker, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Twente’s BMS faculty. He worked with Debargha Dey, a Ph.D candidate at the Eindhoven University of Technology, on this project. Together with their colleagues, they developed the feeling-of-safety slider. This slider was presented during the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in early May.

Francesco Walker (UTwente), Debargha Dey (TU Eindhoven), and their colleagues studied how humans interact with oncoming traffic when a street needed to be crossed. In their paper, referenced below, they described the inadequacies of options like buttons or toggles. These options allowed little or no immediate input as to how safe the participants felt crossing the street. As a result, Francesco and colleagues designed and built a slider (see images above and below) together with the BMS lab that allowed participants to instinctively grasp and input how safe they felt crossing the street was. As they worked with the BMS lab on developing the slider, they found that a slider is instinctively understood and clear. After all, the limits are constant and clear to both touch and vision and degrees of confidence can easily be indicated on an intuitive scale. Since then, they have successfully deployed the slider in their studies. The slider was presented together with their methodology and some initial findings during the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in early May.

Their paper can be found using the following reference:

Walker, F., Dey, D., Martens, M., Pfleging, B., Eggen, B., & Terken, J. (2019, April). Feeling-of-Safety Slider: Measuring Pedestrian Willingness to Cross Roads in Field Interactions with Vehicles. In Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. LBW0242). ACM

Carolina Herrando’s work is part of the NeuroPsychoEconomics Conference in June

As the BMS lab, we often aid both students and researchers from around and even outside the University of Twente with their research. These research projects often result in interesting studies and surprising findings. Today we’re very happy to announce that one of the studies run by Ph.D.candidate Carolina Herrando of the University of Twente’s BMS faculty is included in the upcoming NeuroPsychoEconomics Conference in June.

Together with Julio Jiménez-Martínez, María José Martín De Hoyos, Efthymios Constantinides, Jan-Willem Van ‘t Klooster, and Peter Slijkhuis, she studied if and how the emotional valence or load carried by online consumer reviews affect the reader’s state of mind. How this might lead to states of mind like boredom, anxiety or apathy. To make this possible they designed and performed two experiments. In the first experiment, they used the BMS lab’s equipment to measure heart rate variability and the galvanic skin response. Both the heart rate variability and electrical skin resistance are linked to anxiety, excitement, and stress. The second experiment featured the addition of an Electroencephalography (EEG) recording that enabled them to measure brain activity in the selected areas. This ensured they had a good picture of the psychophysiological responses the participants underwent during the experiment.

At the moment they are in the process of analyzing their data. They aim to present their findings coming June during the NeuroPsychoEconomics Conference in Rome.

We are proud of their work and wish them the best of luck during the upcoming conference.

A Virtual Reality App to get rid of the fear of heights

Professor Jean-Louis van Gelder of the department of the Psychology of Conflict, Risk and Safety from the University of Twente was in the news recently. In a cooperation with the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam, he developed a Virtual Reality Application for smartphones that allow those that suffer from the fear of heights to be exposed to their fear in a controlled environment and without the risk of harm. It feels and plays like a game and in the process of using the app, the patient will reduce and lose their fear. Watch the video below to learn more. You can try the app yourself by installing it on your Android or IOS device.

BMS LAB Projects #1

Hereby we open our series in which we introduce projects featuring the BMSLAB!  We start with the Vigilant Brain. Denny Sasonko, a Master Student of Human Factors and Engineering Psychology at the UT, just finished his research project in which he focused on vigilant attention. While reacting to an emerging stimulus, the EEG recorded the brain activity of participants when they made mistakes. The BMS Lab provided facilities, assistance, and Electroencephalogram recording equipment.

More on the research in the video above.

BMS LAB Grand Opening

The BMS LAB had its official Grand Opening on April 19th, 2018. Ellen Giebels opened the event with a moving speech about the process behind the creation of the BMS LAB. Followed by Thomas van Rompaij and Annalisa Pelizza who talked about various projects supported by the BMS LAB. Afterwards, Luc Schoot Uiterkamp a Master Student at the UT shared his experiences. The Lab was then officially opened by Victor van der Chijs and Ellen when the drone cut the chord.

Check all the opening photos here:

Enschede - UT. Foto's van studenten opleiding EPA en CW. ism Merijn Keizer. Foto: Rikkert Harink  R20170302
Enschede - UT. Foto's van studenten opleiding EPA en CW. ism Merijn Keizer. Foto: Rikkert Harink R20170302

1st year students of Communication Science in the DesignLab.

On a Tuesday in February, about fifty first year students in the bachelor programme of Communication Science are working in the DesignLab.
At one of the tables, four students are observing their group member who is wearing a virtual reality headset and who is experiencing a bumpy ride in a roller coaster. Next to them, five other students are trying to find out how to make pictures using a 360 degrees camera.

Two others are leaving the DesignLab to walk around outside, to test a couple of GPS trackers. At the same time, their group members are interviewing a master student about his experiences with using the GPS Trackers for a study she just finished.
These students are participating in the module “User Experience”. The core of this module is a project in which students have to design and test user documentation for one of the products of the BMSLab. When students or staff would like to use these products in a study, they can find user documentation (information about the functionalities, instructions) on the internet or on the website of the BMSLab, but at this moment there is no concise quick start guide available for them. The students in this module are asked to design this information. After they have designed this information, they have to do a couple of user tests to see if the indented users are able to work with the product and the accompanying information.
In April, when the module ends, the students will have learned a lot about designing information for a specific user group and about the possibilities for doing research using the products of the BMSLab. And, hopefully, the BMSLab will have some usable quick start guides to give to the researchers who are going to use the devices.
As the module coordinator, I’m very happy with this fruitful collaboration between the BMSLab and the program of Communication Science.