Francisco Kiss

About me

I am an engineer, a scientist, and an artist. I am currently finishing my PhD in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and have a Bachelor's and a Master's degrees in Electronics and Communication Technologies. I worked as a researcher in Computer Science at the University of Stuttgart for the last four years and taught HCI to students from diverse Bachelor's and Master's programs. My current topic of research is the augmentation of the human senses through wearable technologies.

If you are curious about details of my academic and professional experiences, feel free to contact me. You can also check out my profiles in google scholar, linkedin, and instagram, the lists of books I have read, and of cities I have visited.


Audio VR - Did Video Kill the Radio Star?
Francisco Kiss, Sven Mayer, Valentin Schwind
ACM Journal - Interactions - Vol. 27, No. 3 (May/June 2020)
Stressed by Design?: The Problems of Transferring Interaction Design from Workstations to Mobile Interfaces
Francisco Kiss, Albrecht Schmidt
Proceedings of the 13th EAI International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare
Modern technology use has been linked to stress, with detrimental effects for users' health. Evidence indicates that stress is caused by the design of interaction between users and systems. Since the introduction of graphical user interfaces, designing the interaction between computing systems and the user has been largely incremental. Moving from the PC to mobile devices has added new interaction modalities and interaction metaphors, but the overall way we interact is still very similar. However, desktop computers were used in specific office situations, whereas mobile devices are in ubiquitous use. A lot of the experienced stress of users is linked to the interaction design that priorities computer initiated interactions over the real world and focuses on providing as much information as possible. Moving into the future and transferring the current interaction design to augmented reality systems is likely to worsen the problem by increasing causes of stress. In our research, we identified the problems for future interactions with augmented reality systems and propose principles that re-think interaction concepts to tackle the causes of stress. We propose a longer-term vision about how daily interactions might be designed to reduce the demand on the user. Based on this we suggest a research agenda to create the framework for stress-free interactions.
Honorable mention
Clairbuoyance: Improving Directional Perception for Swimmers
Francisco Kiss, Paweł W Woźniak, Felix Scheerer, Julia Dominiak, Andrzej Romanowski, Albrecht Schmidt
Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
While we usually have no trouble with orientation, our sense of direction frequently fails in the absence of a frame of reference. Open-water swimmers raise their heads to look for a reference point, since disorientation might result in exhaustion or even drowning. In this paper, we report on Clairbuoyance - a system that provides feedback about the swimmer's orientation through lights mounted on swimming goggles. We conducted an experiment with two versions of Clairbuoyance: Discrete signals relative to a chosen direction, and continuous signals providing a sense of absolute direction. Participants swam to a series of targets. Proficient swimmers preferred the discrete mode; novice users the continuous one. We determined that both versions of Clairbuoyance enabled reaching the target faster than without the help of the system, although the discrete mode increased error. Based on the results, we contribute insights for designing directional guidance feedback for swimmers.
Look Inside: Understanding Thermal Flux Through Augmented Reality
Pascal Knierim, Francisco Kiss, Albrecht Schmidt
2018 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality Adjunct (ISMAR-Adjunct)
The transition from high school to university is an exciting time for students including many new challenges. Particularly in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the university dropout rate may reach up to 40%. The studies of physics rely on many abstract concepts and quantities that are not directly visible like energy or heat. We developed a mixed reality application for education, which augments the thermal conduction of metal by overlaying a representation of temperature as false-color visualization directly onto the object. This real-time augmentation avoids attention split and overcomes the perception gap by amplifying the human eye. Augmented and Virtual Reality environments allow students to perform experiments that were impossible to conduct for security or financial reasons. With the application, we try to foster a deeper understanding of the learning material and higher engagement during the studies.
Shoe Integrated Displays: a Prototype Sports Shoe Display and Design Space
Ashley Colley, Paweł W Woźniak, Francisco Kiss, Jonna Häkkilä
Proceedings of the 10th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
In this paper, we address shoes as a platform for wearable displays. To open research on the area, we present a functional prototype of a display integrated to a sports shoe. The prototype utilizes three different areas of LEDs attached to the shoe as a display mechanism, and indicates the wearer's running pace relative to a preset target pace. To explore perceptions of the concept, and ideate further on the topic, we conducted semi-structured interviews with a group of regular runners. Initial findings suggest that the ambient, peripheral visibility of the sports shoe display is appreciated as fitting well to the running activity. To provide a structure for future work in the area we present a design space for shoe displays, identifying aspects such as scope of visibility, content, visualization target, and usage context.
Experiencing VOS: a Visual Orientation System
Francisco Kiss, Albrecht Schmidt, Paweł W Woźniak
Proceedings of the 10th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
This demo introduces VOS-a Visual Orientation System. Since orientation without visual cues is challenging for humans, situations in which visibility is limited pose hindrance and sometimes a threat to human activities. To explore the augmentation design space that enables focusing the sense of hearing, we chose a particular application scenario: swimming in open-water. We developed augmented swimming-goggles that provide visual feedback to complement the sense of orientation. Currently, we explore different information encoding methods. The presented prototype illustrates the differences between using a continuous signal to convey absolute directions and discrete signals to indicate a relative direction.
S5: Sselective Sensing of Single Sound Sources
Francisco Kiss, Romina Poguntke, Albrecht Schmidt, Paweł W Woźniak
Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services Adjunct
The sense of hearing provides humans with information about their surroundings and is the primary means of communication, yet it is limited in its ability to focus on particular stimuli. To provide this ability, we designed and built S5, a mobile proof-of-concept prototype that allows Selective Sensing of Single Sound Sources. Our design consists of a head-mounted directional microphone attached to a smart-phone, which acts as controller, filter and amplifier. Users hear the selective signal through headphones and activate the device by touching their ear. To evaluate this sensory augmentation, we conducted a study with 16 participants that showed the system was appealing and perceived as useful. Based on our findings, we conclude that the proposed augmentation is feasible and we provide insights for further development of the concept.
RainSense: Exploring the Concept of a Sense for Weather Awareness
Romina Poguntke, Francisco Kiss, Ayhan Kaplan, Albrecht Schmidt, Stefan Schneegass
Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services Adjunct
The amplification of human senses has been in the focus of contemporary research for the past decades. Apart from the replication of human organs, the functionality of the human body has been enhanced. While many approaches aim to augment existing sensory channels, our research purpose is to explore the creation of a new sense, namely a sense for weather awareness. For this, we present our concept which is based on the presentation of thermal stimuli. Hence, we initially explored the perception and suitability of thermal feedback stimuli to communicate weather information, and particularly precipitation in an experiment comprising 16 participants. From the qualitative and quantitative results we derive important findings helping us to advance the realization of our concept in future research involving a field study to further evaluate the creation of a sense for weather awareness.
Tactile Sheets: Using Engraved Paper Overlays to Facilitate Access to a Digital Document's Layout and Logical Structure
Mauro Avila, Francisco Kiss, Ismael Rodriguez, Albrecht Schmidt, Tonja Machulla
Proceedings of the 11th PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments Conference
Touchscreen devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets) are a major means of accessing digital resources. However, touchscreen accessibility remains a challenge for users with visual impairments. Mainstream solutions implicitly favor a sequential navigation of digital information. This precludes users from enjoying the advantages of well laid-out, visually-structured documents, especially for certain tasks (e.g., text navigation). In this paper, we introduce tactile sheets---engraved paper sheets that represent the layout of a specific page and that are used as an overlay on a capacitive touchscreen device. Via engraved tactile patterns and textures, users can locate and discriminate different content areas, navigate the spatially-distributed content non-sequentially and access speech feedback with gestures. We report a comparative study with nine visually-impaired users that investigates the technical feasibility and the usability of this approach. Specifically, we compared a mainstream screen reader and two different types of tactile sheets. A similar level of usability is achieved between conditions. Also, participants' qualitative feedback provides strong arguments for the use of tactile pattern overlays. Finally, we introduce a processing pipeline for automatically create tactile sheets based on an existing e-book.
Navigation Systems for Motorcyclists: Exploring Wearable Wactile Feedback for Route Guidance in the Real World
Francisco Kiss, Robin Boldt, Bastian Pfleging, Stefan Schneegass
Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Current navigation systems for motor cyclists use visual or auditory cues for guidance. However, this poses a challenge to the motorcyclists since their visual and auditory channels are already occupied with controlling the motorbike, paying attention to other road users, and planing the next turn. In this work, we explore how tactile feedback can be used to guide motorcyclists. We present MOVING (MOtorbike VIbrational Navigation Guidance), a smart kidney belt that presents navigation cues through 12 vibration motors. In addition, we report on the design process of this wearable and on an evaluation with 16 participants in a real world riding setting. We show that MOVING outperforms off-the-shelf navigation systems in terms of turn errors and distraction.
VOS - Designing a Visual Orientation System
Francisco Kiss, Albrecht Schmidt, Pawel W Woźniak
Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
While humans possess a well-developed sense of direction and can easily walk to a visible target, that ability is drastically reduced when lacking visual cues. In situations where people cannot depend on sight, orientation might become a critical issue, as when escaping a room filled with smoke, swimming in open waters, hiking in the fog or crossing the woods at night. In this paper, we present the design and implementation of VOS - a Visual Orientation System for providing an augmented sense of direction. Our system uses LEDs to offer cues on how to correct the current heading. Our findings consist of demonstrating the viability of such system, as well as its usability. We discuss the implications for designing technology that enables people to orient themselves and navigate places with little or no visual cues.
Design and Evaluation of a Computer-Actuated Mouse
Francisco Kiss, Valentin Schwind, Stefan Schneegass, Niels Henze
Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia
Although interaction with computing systems has become remarkably diverse in recent years, the computer mouse remained the primary pointing device for daily computer use. Being solely an input device, the classical mouse decouples input from output. In this paper, we propose to extend the mouse to a device that can be actuated by the user and the computer. We developed a mouse that allows its position and button state to be actuated. In a technical evaluation, we test the spatial resolution of our system and how effectively feedback is communicated to the user. In a subjective assessment, we explore users' reactions to four use cases including games and office applications, highlighting the potential of the device. Through a quantitative assessment, we investigate whether perceiving the movement of the mouse helps to learn gestures. Finally, we discuss how a mouse providing feedback can be used to build novel interaction techniques.
RunMerge: Towards Enhanced Proprioception for Advanced Amateur Runners
Francisco Kiss, Konrad Kucharski, Sven Mayer, Lars Lischke, Pascal Knierim, Andrzej Romanowski, Paweł W Woźniak
Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference Companion Publication on Designing Interactive Systems
While amateur running is one of the most popular recreational sport activities, it also produces many injuries, which are often caused by improper technique or shoe choice. In this paper, we present the design and initial evaluation of RunMerge-a mobile application that integrates data from location and motion sensors to give runners a better understanding of their running. With RunMerge, we investigate how technologically enhanced bodily awareness can help amateur runners achieve a better running experience. We present the design RunMerge, and the insights of its user study. Our work indicates that enhanced proprioception (ie the awareness of one's body parts and movement) can be beneficial for everyday running training. Finally, we reflect on future work on increased bodily awareness for endurance sports.
Tactile Drones - Providing Immersive Tactile Feedback in Virtual Reality Through Quadcopters
P Knierim, T Kosch, V Schwind, M Funk, F Kiss, S Schneegass, N Henze
Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Head-mounted displays for virtual reality (VR) provide high-fidelity visual and auditory experiences. Other modalities are currently less supported. Current commercial devices typically deliver tactile feedback through controllers the user holds in the hands. Since both hands get occupied and tactile feedback can only be provided at a single position, research and industry proposed a range of approaches to provide richer tactile feedback. Approaches, such as tactile vests or electrical muscle stimulation, were proposed, but require additional body-worn devices. This limits comfort and restricts provided feedback to specific body parts. With this Interactivity installation, we propose quadcopters to provide tactile stimulation in VR. While the user is visually and acoustically immersed in VR, small quadcopters simulate bumblebees, arrows, and other objects hitting the user. The user wears a VR headset, mini-quadcopters, controlled by an optical marker tracking system, are used to provide tactile feedback.


Please write an e-mail, or send me a letter to:
Francisco Kiss
Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems
University of Stuttgart
Pfaffenwaldring 5a
70569 Stuttgart