Auto Smiley, writes smiley when you really smile

Auto Smiley – Computer vision smiley generator from Theo Watson on Vimeo.

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“Auto Smiley is a computer vision application that runs in the background while you work. The software analyzes your face while you are working and if it detects a smile it sends the the ascii smiley face letters “: )” as keyboard presses to the front most application. Auto Smiley has many uses from just straight up convenience to enforcing honesty in your online communication :)”

It has been a while (years) that I want to re-use this brilliant idea from Theo Watson in an experiment—that I could finally do, now that I started my PhD. More soon (hopefully)!

To be find on Theo Watson’s website F.A.T:
• Windows PC Version!! Courtesy of Joey!
• Non US/UK users version – should work on all keyboards!
• The mac app here ( for US / UK / NL keyboards )
• Mac app for QWERTZ keyboards
• The project uses openFrameworks and MPT for the smile detection – you can grab the source code

Skype eye contact finally made possible

Skype eye contact made possible thanks to 3D face rotation by C. Kuster, T. Popa, J.C. Bazin, C. Gotsman & M. Gross from ETH Zurich.
Innovative software rotates the face of the person on screen during video conferences in order to make eye contact. (Photo: Computer Graphics Laboratory / ETH Zurich)

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“Those separated from family and friends by long distances often use video conferencing services such as Skype in order to see each other when talking. But who hasn’t experienced the frustration of your counterpart not making direct eye contact during the conversation? A software prototype from the Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich may be able to help.”

Text by Angelika Jacobs from ETH Life Blog

I don’t know why but this “computer vision” software makes me think of the AutoSmile project by Theo Watson from F.A.T.

More on the project (+source code):
• Skype eye contact finally possible
• Paper: Kuster C, Popa T, Bazin JC, Gotsman C, Gross M: Gaze Correction for Home Video Conferencing. Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH Asia (Singapore, November 28 – December 1, 2012), ACM Transactions on Graphics, 31 (6), 174:1-174:6

2013.08.21 Bibliography, Catching-up with the history of my topics

As a starting point with my research, before to start a sharp focus review of literature, I began by catching-up with some key readings and the History of :
• Interpersonal Communication Studies & Telepresence
• Speculation, Fiction & Critical Design
• Design Research
• Miscellaneous (HCI, Research Methods, Design Theory…)

Before diving into these lists, I started with Wikipedia to a have a general overview. Being aware of this overall structure helps me choosing what to “not read” in the following lists.
For instance, for the history of Interpersonal communication studies I began with:
History of Communication Studies
Communication Studies
Communication Theory and Communication
Interpersonal Communication
Computer-mediated communication
• Further readings on telepresence to be determined

Here a first preview of my reference lists (in my reference manager they are ordered by importance):
01-Catch-up history – Communication studies
02-Catch-up history – Speculation, critique, fiction & design
03-Catch-up history – Design Research
04-Catch-up history – Miscellaneous, HCI, research methods, design theory

2013.08.15 Bibliography, first step

First step—collecting and sorting-out PDFs and bibliographic references—done.
Here are my reference lists (do not mind metadata and export mistakes):

• Biblio_01-Communication studies & telepresence
• Biblio_02-Speculation, critique & prospective (critical design & speculative design)
• Biblio_03-Design research
• Biblio_04-Miscellaneous (HCI, ErgoPsycho, Humanities, Socio, Design, Research Methodologies, …)

2013.08.14 Bibliographic management software

Outcome of this second phase:
• I chose Papers2 as Reference manager
• I uploaded, completed metadata, sorted out in categories and set priorities for all the PDFs I collected until now
• I have 380 items (it’s only a first step)
• I registered for Dropbox Premium 100Gb (10$/Month) and ulpoaded my whole PHD folder + Papers2 bibliography


Bibliographic management software
A bibliographic tools (also called reference manager, or citation management tool) can be used for any discipline (sciences, social sciences, humanities) to save citations and PDFs, as well as incorporate citations into a Word document.

Choosing a reference manager is hard because there is too much choice. Here are four criteria of choice: Efficiency/Features, Aesthetic/ergonomics, Interoperability (citation styles, export format), OpenSource. The two last criteria can be evaluated on this page:
That article is also helpful–Introduction-to-Zotero?mid=821&type=UploaderResource&uid=1241.
For the two first ones, it has to be tested. The leader softwares are EndNote (Thomson Reuters), Mendeley (Elsevier), Papers (Springer), Zotero (Center for History and New Media at GMU) – Two other notable open source softwares: the—quite dry—BibDesk (BibDesk developer) which is the closer client for BibTex tools, and Docear (Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg and University of California, Berkeley), a suite of tools for academic writing.

My choice before testing: Docear for its mind mapping tool & Mendeley for its interoperability with Docear, its free iPad app, its capacity to recognize and rename PDF metadata, its online community, its legal and free offer.

My final choice: Papers, as it has the friendlier interface. It is therefore very efficient to do tasks, and speeds up my work. Paticulary for the uploading of new PDFs, completing their metadata, sorting them out in categories and adding notes – which is the first step I took.

Here are some of the GUI (graphical user interface):

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And Papers2:
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2013. 08.06 Retro-planning software

Outcomes of this first phase:
• I chose Action Method as Time management tool
• I set a list of major tasks over 5 months minimum in order to achieve my literature review

Retro-planning software
One of the hardest task of the PhD studies is to learn to work by oneself. Therefore, managing one’s time demands discipline, wise advices but most of all: tools.
More here

Because when you are ready for self control and fully loaded of “golden rules” to work fine, two problems remains: Knowing what to do and when to do it. And over a 3years period of time, retro-planning tasks on a piece of paper on in .txt documents can become a mess.

I began by searching more about retro-planning, I tried to remember my Pert and Gant diagrams courses – big mistake :P – Then I tested these online tools over the criteria of “easy to use, modern and efficient interface, free (low cost), interoperability, phone/tablet App, simplicity”.
The one which is scalable, appropriated to my (working alone) needs and which is above the others concerning the previous criteria is: Action Method (By Behance Network).
After having planned a general TDL (To Do List) + Milestones over a year, I find efficient to have my due (and overdue) tasks right next to me on my tablet at anytime. I cut these major steps in sub-TDL on post-its (or notebooks, or .Txt files).

The list of the Retro-Planning Softwares I tested: (Yes I tested wedding planning tools)

1. on iPad, 2. on iMac



User story: filling the absence, feeling the presence

Testimony of Julie B., used to have several close friends in different cities or countries. The rituals when starting or finishing conversations participate to celebrate the relationship or to feel being part of a (micro)community. Redoing the usual face to face rituals despite the distance, together, helps here to fill the other absence, or even to feel his presence.

Photo 1:
• “We used to walk round the table when talking to each other, we also do it over the phone, together, like the other was still here.”
• “With another friend we used to simply come to the other’s place to have a chat, drink wine and smoke cigarettes. It happens that we do it despite the distance (…) and like an old ritual we always begin the call with this quote from that movie, ‘le père Noel est une ordure': ‘SOS amitié bonjour ?’”

Photo 2:
• Asking over the phone “where are you in your home” and imagining the other in his context.
• Photos help to fill up the absence, of the one who are far, and the ones who are not here anymore—like in Asian traditions with “hotels for ancestors”.