HCI seminar topics (spring semester 2021)

See-through smart glasses for visually impaired individuals

With the latest technological advancement, see-through smartglasses devices have the potential to improve the daily life of millions of visually impaired individuals. Smartglasses devices can notably support visually impaired individuals for mobility, social interactions and reading. As a new domain of research, many questions remain open in terms of optimal functionalities, human-computer interaction design and potential of feedback modalities. We want to investigate the different types of feedbacks that have been used in literature.


M. Hu, Y. Chen, G. Zhai, Z. Gao, and L. Fan, “AN OVERVIEW OF ASSISTIVE DEVICES FOR BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE,” Int. J. Robot. Autom., vol. 34, no. 5, 2019.

S. Azenkot and Y. Zhao, “DESIGNING SMARTGLASSES APPLICATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH LOW VISION,”, ACM SIGACCESS Accessibility and Computing. Issue 119, Nov. 2017.

Reference persons :

  • Dr. Simon Ruffieux

Visual fatigue management during teleconferencing

The coronavirus pandemic led an unprecedented number of people to work from home which also caused to an increasing number of online meetings. Several surveys in Switzerland and around globe has shown that the home-office option will persist after the pandemic. In an ongoing survey we conducted with 40 participants (so far), 92.5% of the participants reflected that teleconferencing can make their eyes  slightly to extremely tired. Among which, 27.5% of the participants reflected the condition is worse than when they do individual work on screen. While it has been advised to follow the 20-20-20 rule to limit eye constrain from computer use, in reality this is hardly achived (our survey indicated that 65.85% of the participants only take a break after more than 60 minutes computer usage). Sensing technologies which could capture human visual fatigue could assist user to manage their visual comfort. The motivation of this review is to understand the acceptabable and effective ways to notify users during (long/consecutive) teleconference and discover measures to predict eye fatigue condition.



Pfleging, Bastian, et al. "A model relating pupil diameter to mental workload and lighting conditions." Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems. 2016.

Hirzle, Teresa, et al. "A Survey of Digital Eye Strainin Gaze-Based Interactive Systems." ACM Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications. 2020.

Reference persons :

  • Dr. Hamed S. Alavi
  • Sailin Zhong

Automatic handling of office lighting

The biggest source of energy consumption in modern office environments is lighting. Lighting automation in office spaces has been proven over the years to be an effective way of reducing energy consumption considerably. However, most existing lighting automation techniques do not allow for personalisation and are cumbersome for office workers. The important advantages in terms of energy consumption reduction are thus often counterbalanced by user discomfort, leading to consequent development of techniques to bypass lighting automation. Viable, customisable and human-centred lighting automation strategies are thus researched in order to provide at the same time energy efficient and productive office environment.


Christel de Bakker, Myriam Aries, Helianthe Kort, Alexander Rosemann. Occupancy-based lighting control in open-plan office spaces: A state-of-the-art review, Building and Environment, Volume 112, 2017, Pages 308-321, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2016.11.042.

H. Burak Gunay, William O'Brien, Ian Beausoleil-Morrison & Brent Huchuk (2014) On adaptive occupant-learning window blind and lighting controls, Building Research & Information, 42:6, 739-756, DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2014.895248

Reference person :

  • Moreno Colombo
  • Dr Julien Nembrini

Dark-mode or night-mode in real settings

It is known that screen luminance settings affect health and productivity. However, screens are being used in specific environments that can consist in differing lighting conditions, such as daylight or artificial light, or have changing illuminance levels. The topic will focus on how screen interface settings come in interplay with environmental lighting conditions to affect comfort, productivity and health.


Benedetto et al (2014). Effects of luminance and illuminance on visual fatigue and arousal during digital reading. Computers in Human Behavior, 41, 112–119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.09.023

Cajochen et al (2011). Evening exposure to a light-emitting diodes (LED)-backlit computer screen affects circadian physiology and cognitive performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 110(5), 1432–1438. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00165.2011

Pedersen et al (2020). User Interfaces in Dark Mode During Daytime – Improved Productivity or Just Cool-Looking? In Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (Vol. 12188, pp. 178–187). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-49282-3_13

Reference person :

  • Dr Julien Nembrini
  • Michael Papinutto

Space usage tracking methods for Human-Building interaction

The analysis of space usage is of particular interest for new office typologies such as co-working or hot-desking offices. In these contexts, workplace is dynamically chosen or assigned, displaying differing patterns of space usage depending on qualities such as access to daylight, noise, wifi or electricity plugs availability, etc. The topic focuses on mapping the different methods applied in research to acquire space occupancy and their respective advantages and drawbacks.


Alavi, H. S., Verma, H., Mlynar, J., & Lalanne, D. (2018). The Hide and Seek of Workspace: Towards Human-Centric Sustainable Architecture. Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3173649

Chen, Z., Jiang, C., & Xie, L. (2018). Building occupancy estimation and detection: A review. Energy and Buildings, 169, 260–270. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.03.084

Oppermann, M., & Munzner, T. (2020). Ocupado: Visualizing Location‐Based Counts Over Time Across Buildings. Computer Graphics Forum, 39(3), 127–138. https://doi.org/10.1111/cgf.13968

Reference person:

  • Julien Nembrini