Publications

Publications

TUI as Social Entity: a Study of Joint-actuation and Turn-taking-actuation in Actuated-interfaces (2021)
Conference

We present an actuated-interface that is not only a tangible interface but also an autonomous object, designed as an independent entity that takes a similar role to the user’s role in an anagram word game. We highlight two leading interaction paradigms: Turntaking-actuation and Joint-actuation, and evaluate both in a qualitative interaction study with the autonomous actuated-interface.

Conference: Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Authors: Ofir Sadka, Ron Gissin, Oren Zuckerman, Hadas Erel
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Excluded by Robots: Can Robot-Robot-Human Interaction Lead to Ostracism? (2021)
Conference

Robot-Robot-Human Interaction is an emerging field, holding the potential to reveal social effects involved in human interaction with more than one robot. We tested if an interaction between one participant and two non-humanoid robots can lead to negative feelings related to ostracism, and if it can impact fundamental
psychological needs including control, belonging, meaningful existence, and self-esteem.

Conference: Proceedings of the 2021 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI ’21)
Authors: Hadas Erel, Yoav Cohen, Klil Shafrir, Sara Daniela Levy, Idan Dov Vidra, Tzachi Shem Tov, Oren Zuckerman
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Magnetform: a Shape-change Display Toolkit for Material-oriented Designers (2021)
Conference

This work presents Magnetform, a shape-change display toolkit designed to enable exploration of movement
in soft materials. The toolkit allows designers with no technical knowledge to leverage their material expertise
to experiment with shape-change. We present the toolkit design, and case studies with two design studios who used the toolkit for 15-days each. Through the presentation of their process, we reflect on two main themes: empowering designers to participate in shape-change exploration; and the developing practice of designing objects which integrate motion. We situate this work as part of the growing efforts in the TEI community to involve designers in the evolution of shape-changing interfaces, and demonstrate how material-oriented designers could contribute to this field in which materiality plays a major role in.

Conference: TEI2021, February 14–17, 2021, Salzburg, Austria
Authors: Iddo Yehoshua Wald, Oren Zuckerman
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Companionship Is Not a Function: The Effect of a Novel Robotic Object on Healthy Older Adults’ Feelings of “Being-Seen” (2020)
Conference

One of the challenges faced by healthy older adults is experiencing feelings of not “being-seen”: set aside and unacknowledged. Companion robots, commonly designed with zoomorphic or humanoid appearance show success among clinical older adults, but healthy older adults find them degrading and don’t accept companionship as a valid function. We present a novel non-humanoid robot, designed to overcome the low acceptance of companion robots. The robot’s design represents its primary function, a cognitive word game. Social interaction is conveyed as a secondary function, using non-verbal gestures, inspired by dancers’ movement. 39 healthy older adults interacted with the prototype in 3 conditions: Companion-Function; Game-Function; or No-Function. Results show the non-verbal gestures successfully evoked feelings of “being-seen”, and acceptance levels were influenced by the function, with game significantly higher than companion. We conclude that the high acceptance and rich social interaction of non-humanoid robots are a promising direction for this unique population.

Conference: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Dina Walker, Andrey Grishko, Tal Moran, Chen Levy, Barak Lisak, Iddo Yehoshua Wald, Hadas Erel
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Towards Smart Rooms for Children: Mapping Children’s Needs in the Context of Their Bedrooms in the IoT Era (2020)
Conference

Children’s bedrooms are private spaces for identity exploration and self-expression, defined in literature as “bedroom culture”. With the rise of smart-home and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, comes a great opportunity to create a “digital bedroom culture” that captures the rich meaning that bedrooms can have in children’s lives. To properly understand how children perceive their bedrooms, and how they think smart-home technologies can be integrated into their rooms, we conducted interviews with 17 children in the context of their bedrooms. Using thematic coding, we mapped children’s needs related to their bedroom into Emotional and Practical themes. When discussing “smart-room” technologies, children strongly associated them with practical needs and much less with emotional ones. We argue that smart-home and IoT designers should consider this gap and explore the possibilities of designing IoT technologies that will augment children’s emotional needs in the context of their bedroom.

Conference: Proceedings of Interaction, Design & Children (IDC), June 17-24, 2020
Authors: Hadas Erel, Nadav Viduchinsky, Oren Zuckerman
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Embracing Imperfection in the Age of Digital Reproduction (2020)
Conference

Technology plays a major role in reproduction of art and craft. While increasing their accessibility to the public, re- production also raises questions concerning authenticity and quality. 3D Scanning and Printing have extended re- production boundaries, positioning it as a candidate for tak- ing part in the artistic process. In this work we suggest to consider the imperfection in the reproduction process as a distinguishing element that adds to authenticity. We present a “chain of digital reproductions”, a series of 3D printed objects, beginning from a reproduction of the original En- nion’s Blue Jug. Next to the last reproduction, a 3D Printer and scanner will print the next reproduction in the chain. The exhibited work will demonstrate how reproductions can gradually become independent of the original artwork and have their own unique meaning and aesthetics.

Conference: Proceedings of the 2020 DIS Conference
Authors: Andrey Grishko, Hadas Erel, Iddo Wald, Oren Zuckerman
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My First Biolab – an Inquiry-Based Learning System for Microbiology Exploration (2020)
Conference

Understanding microbiology concepts is highly relevant for everyday life, with wide implications on health and environment. It is believed that these concepts should be taught at high-school level. Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) is a recommended approach for learning scientific concepts, that includes hands-on investigation, performing experiments, and gathering data. IBL is rarely applied in biology learning at schools, mostly due to three aspects: (1) Lack of immediate feedback as microorganisms are invisible; (2) costly equipment; (3) safety regulations. We present “My First Biolab”, a novel and accessible system enabling safe and sterile hands-on experimentation with microorganisms, for microbiology concepts through IBL. The system includes a custom-designed nylon bag containing the experiment’s biological materials, a magnetic peristaltic pump for circulation, a spectral sensor that monitors bacterial growth, a heat transfer plate for temperature control, and a smartphone UI for setting and monitoring the experiment in real-time.

Conference: Proceedings of Interaction, Design & Children (IDC), June 17-24, 2020
Authors: Yuval Fein, Gilad Gome, Oren Zuckerman, Hadas Erel
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Virtual-reality as a Simulation Tool for Non-Humanoid Social Robots (2020)
Conference

Evaluating the interaction between people and non-humanoid robots requires advanced physical prototyping, and in many cases is limited to lab setting with Wizard-of-Oz control. Virtual Reality (VR) was suggested as a simulation tool, allowing for fast, flexible and iterative design processes. In this controlled study, we evaluated whether VR is a valid platform for testing social interaction between people and non-humanoid robots. Our quantitative findings indicate that social interpretations associated with two types of gestures of a robotic object are similar in virtual and physical interactions with the robot, suggesting that the core aspects of social interaction with non-humanoid robots are preserved in a VR simulation. The impact of this work to the CHI community is in indicating the potential of VR as a platform for initial evaluation of social experiences with non-humanoid robots, including interaction studies that involve different facets of the social experience.

Conference: Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Authors: Ofir Sadka, Oren Zuckerman, Hadas Erel
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Human-Human-Robot Interaction: Robotic Object’s Responsive Gestures Improve Interpersonal (2020)
Journals

The field of human-robot interaction typically studies the direct interaction between humans and robots. A much less studied domain is the robot’s influence on human-human interaction. We present a study measuring the effects of a non-humanoid robotic object on the way people evaluate each other, regardless of their perception of the robot. In a controlled study with 60 participants (30 pairs), the robotic object was presented as a side-participant during face-to-face conversation between two people in one of three conditions: ‘Responsive to Speaker’, ‘Responsive to Addressee’, or ‘Non-responsive’ (baseline). We analyzed participants’ perceptions of each other by measuring interpersonal evaluation, mutual liking, and number of mutual smiles. Results reveal that both responsive conditions had a positive influence on participants’ perception of each other, with a clear difference in the social role participants attributed to the robot in each condition. The two responsive conditions led to a significantly higher interpersonal evaluation of the human conversation partner, suggesting that a responsive robot can positively influence the quality of human-human interaction.

Journal: Human-Computer Interaction
Authors: Danielle Rifinski, Hadas Erel, Adi Feiner, Guy Hoffman, Oren Zuckerman
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Coding for Outdoor Play: A Coding Platform for Children to Invent and Enhance Outdoor Play Experiences (2019)
Conference
Conference: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Authors: Netta Ofer, Idan David, Hadas Erel, and Oren Zuckerman
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Robots are Always Social: Robotic Movements are Automatically Interpreted as Social Cues (2019)
Conference

Physical movement is a dominant element in robot behavior. We evaluate if robotic movements are automatically interpreted as social cues, even if the robot has no social role.
24 participants performed the Implicit Associations Test, classifying robotic gestures into direction categories (“to-front” or “to-back”) and words into social categories (willingness or unwillingness for interaction).
Our findings show that social interpretation of the robot’s gestures is an automatic process.
The implicit social interpretation influenced both classification tasks, and could not be avoided even when it decreased

Conference: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Authors: Hadas Erel, Tzachi Sem Tov, Yoav Kessler, and Oren Zuckerman
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Home Robotic Devices for Older Adults: Opportunities and Concerns (2019)
Journals
Journal: Computers in Human Behavior 98 (2019)
Authors: Inbal Deutsch, Hadas Erel, Michal Paz, Guy Hoffman, Oren Zuckerman
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Scratch Nodes ML: A Playful System for Children to Create Gesture Recognition Classifiers (2019)
Conference

Children are growing up in a Machine Learning infused world and it’s imperative to provide them with opportunities to develop an accurate understanding of basic Machine Learning concepts.
Physical gesture recognition is a typical application of Machine Learning, and physical gestures are also an integral part of children’s lives, including sports and play.
We present Scratch Nodes ML, a system enabling children to create personalized gesture recognizers by: (1) Creating their own gesture classes;

Conference: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Authors: Adam Agassi, Hadas Erel, Iddo Yehoshua Wald, and Oren Zuckerman
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Can Children Understand Machine Learning Concepts? The Effect of Uncovering Black Boxes (2019)
Conference

Machine Learning services are integrated into various aspects of everyday life. Their underlying processes are typically black-boxed to increase ease-of-use.
Consequently, children lack the opportunity to explore such processes and develop essential mental models.
We present a gesture recognition research platform, designed to support learning from experience by uncovering Machine Learning building blocks:
Data Labeling and Evaluation. Children used the platform to perform physical gestures, iterating between sampling and evaluation.
Their understanding was tested in a pre/post-experimental design, in three conditions: learning activity uncovering Data Labeling only, Evaluation only, or both.
Our findings show that both building blocks are imperative to enhance children’s understanding of basic Machine Learning concepts. Children were able to apply their new knowledge
to everyday life context, including personally meaningful applications. We conclude that children’s interaction with uncovered black boxes of Machine Learning contributes to a better understanding of the world around them.

Conference: Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Authors: Tom Hitron, Yoav Orlev, Iddo Yehoshua Wald, Arik Shamir, Hadas Erel, and Oren Zuckerman
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My First Biolab: a System for Hands-On Biology Experiments (2019)
Conference

Biology labs routinely conduct direct experimentation with living organisms. However, most high schools are not able to engage students in such experimentation due to multiple factors: sterility, cost
of equipment, cost of skilled lab assistants, and difficulty measuring micro-scale processes. We present the design and implementation of My First Biolab (MFB), a lab in a box with a novel disposable
fluidic vessel (experiment in a bag) using two sheets of Polyacrylamide-Polyethylene channeling
liquids via paths created with a laser-cutter. The system implementation includes a 2D magnetic
peristaltic pump, a spectral sensor, and a heat transfer plate. MFB is an affordable, safe, and sterile
system for hands-on experimentation with live microorganisms. Our system supports temperature
control, liquid circulation, measurement of optical density, and a web interface for remote control and monitoring.
Our first experiment demonstrates the three phases of bacterial growth: initial lag phase, the rapid-growth log phase, and the stationary phase.

Conference: Extended Abstracts, Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Authors: Gilad Gome, Yuval Fein, Julian Waksberg, Yuval Maayan, Andrey Grishko Iddo Yehoshua Wald, and Oren Zuckerman
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OpenLH: Open Liquid-Handling System for Creative Experimentation with Biology (2019)
Conference

The biological prototyping revolution is in motion, and new tools are needed to empower HCI researchers, designers, makers, and bio-enthusiasts to experiment with live organisms.
We present OpenLH, a liquid handling system that empowers users to conduct accurate and repetitive experiments with live biology in a sterile, open, and affordable way.
OpenLH The biological prototyping revolution is in motion, and new tools are needed to empower HCI researchers, designers, makers, and bio-enthusiasts to experiment with live organisms.
We present OpenLH, a liquid handling system that empowers users to conduct accurate and repetitive experiments with live biology in a sterile, open, and affordable way.
OpenLH integrates a commercially available robotic arm with custom 3D printed parts, a modified pipette, and a visual block-based programming interface.
The system is as accurate as commercial liquid handlers, capable of repetitive tasks in micro-scale accuracy, easy to operate, and supports multi-materials including biomaterials, microorganisms and cell cultures.
We describe the system’s technical implementation and two custom interfaces. We demonstrate the system’s impact for the HCI community with two use cases that include experimentation with live biology in non-traditional fields: visual design using pigment-expressing E.coli, and beer brewing experiment using serial dilution in home context.
integrates a commercially available robotic arm with custom 3D printed parts, a modified pipette, and a visual block-based programming interface.
The system is as accurate as commercial liquid handlers, capable of repetitive tasks in micro-scale accuracy, easy to operate, and supports multi-materials including biomaterials, microorganisms and cell cultures.
We describe the system’s technical implementation and two custom interfaces. We demonstrate the system’s impact for the HCI community with two use cases that include experimentation with live biology in non-traditional fields: visual design using pigment-expressing E.coli, and beer brewing experiment using serial dilution in home context.

Conference: Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction
Authors: Gilad Gome, Julian Waksberg, Andrey Grishko, Iddo Yehoshua Wald, Oren Zuckerman
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Introducing Children to Machine Learning Concepts Through Hands-on Experience (2018)
Conference

Machine Learning (ML) processes are integrated into devices and services that affect many aspects of daily life. As a result, basic understanding of ML concepts becomes essential for people of all ages, including children. We studied if 10–12 years old children can understand basic ML concepts through direct experience with a digital stick-like device, in a WoZ-based experiment. To assess children’s understanding we applied an experimental design including a pretest, a gesture recognition training activity, and a posttest. The tests included validating children’s understanding of the gesture training activity, other gesture detection processes, and application to ML processes in daily scenarios. Our findings suggest that children are able to understand basic ML concepts, and can even apply them to a new context. We conclude that ML learning activities should allow children to sample their own examples and evaluate them in an iterative way, and proper feedback should be designed to gradually scaffold understanding.

Conference: Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children
Authors: Tom Hitron, Iddo Wald, Hadas Erel, Oren Zuckerman
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Tangible interaction in parent-child collaboration: encouraging awareness and reflection (2018)
Conference

Parent-child interaction during a collaborative activity can empower children if parents are able to envision their child’s mental state and regulate their behavior. However, this ability is a great challenge for many parents. We designed a simple tangible ’Awareness Object’ (AO) intended to raise parents’ awareness of the roles they can play and help them shift their focus to the interaction with their child. We present results from 12 parent-child interactions with the AO. Our qualitative analysis reveals that the AO raised parents’ awareness of their roles during the activity and led to various types of reflection by both parents and children. In addition, the AO increased children’s involvement in evaluating their parent’s role, which some parents found intriguing while others found inappropriate. We conclude that a simple tangible interface can enhance parent-child interaction. However, this interaction is sensitive and should be approached with caution.

Conference: Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children
Authors: Ofir Sadka, Hadas Erel, Andrey Grishko, Oren Zuckerman
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A little bit of coding goes a long way: effects of coding on outdoor play (2018)
Conference

Outdoor play has known benefits for children’s development, and studies show it is in decline. Heads-Up Games have been proposed as a possible solution, in some cases with an integrated coding platform to enrich play variety. In this pilot study we set out to evaluate a Scratch-based coding platform for outdoor play. The code primitives control digital features of a stick-like outdoor play object. We observed children’s play patterns with the coding platform and with the play object, and report on three distinct patterns: “Basic Exploration”, “Advanced Exploration”, and “Game Invention”. Our preliminary findings show that all children began with “Basic Exploration” and progressed either to “Advanced Exploration” or “Game Invention”. With regards to outdoor play benefits, the “Game Invention” pattern was associated with more collaborative social interaction, physical activity, and “heads up” interaction. We discuss the implications for future coding platforms designed for outdoor play.

Conference: Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children
Authors: Netta Ofer, Hadas Erel, Idan David, Tom Hitron, Oren Zuckerman
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The Greeting Machine: An Abstract Robotic Object for Opening Encounters (2018)
Conference

Opening encounters are an integral element of everyday social interaction, and are essential for forming and maintaining social relationships between people. We present an abstract non-humanoid robotic object called the Greeting Machine, designed to communicate positive and negative social cues in the context of opening encounters. The design includes a small ball rolling on a larger dome, with a custom gear and lever mechanism that supports a variety of subtle movements. Gestures were designed with movement experts, and were evaluated using a physical first-person qualitative study. Our findings reveal that an abstract robot designed with no specific metaphor can effectively take part in opening encounters. Furthermore, a minimal brief movement, designed as an Approach or Avoid gesture, may be enough to evoke positive and negative experiences. The ability to create opening encounters with low Degree of Freedom abstract robots is promising, both due to the low complexity, low cost, and design flexibility of such devices, and due to the possible generalization of the Approach and Avoid gestures for a variety of morphologies.

Conference: The 27th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication.
Authors: Lucy Anderson-Bashan, Benny Megidish, Hadas Erel, Iddo Wald, Andrey Grishko, Guy Hoffman, Oren Zuckerman
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Digital Outdoor Play: Benefits and Risks from an Interaction Design Perspective (2018)
Conference

Outdoor play has been proven to be beneficial for children’s development. HCI research on Heads-Up Games suggests that the well-known decline in outdoor play can be addressed by adding technology to such activities. However, outdoor play benefits such as social interaction, creative thinking, and physical activity may be compromised when digital features are added. We present the design & implementation of a novel digitally-enhanced outdoor-play prototype. Our evaluation with 48 children revealed that a non-digital version of the novel outdoor play object afforded social play and game invention. Evaluation of the digitally-enhanced version showed reduced collaborative social interaction and reduced creative thinking when compared with baseline. However, we showed that specific sensing and feedback features better supported outdoor play benefits.

Conference: Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Authors: Tom Hitron, Idan David, Netta Ofer, Andrey Grishko, Iddo Yehoshua Wald, Hadas Erel, Oren Zuckerman
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Scratch Nodes: Coding Outdoor Play Experiences to enhance Social-Physical Interaction (2017)
Conference

We present the initial design process of Scratch Nodes, a sensor-based prototype designed to augment children’s social-physical outdoor play. Scratch Nodes has two main components: a hardware device and a tablet-based coding environment. The prototype was designed for 8-12 year old children with the goal of encouraging physical play, social interaction, and “changing the rules” through coding. We extend prior work in the Heads-up Games (HUG) domain by adding a real-time coding environment that directly controls the hardware device, empowering children to change the game’s rules in real-time. We argue that the combination of physical play, social interaction, and coding strikes the right balance between the societal need to increase outdoor play & enhance computational thinking skills on one hand and children’s need to play, measure, and define their own rules.

Conference: Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Interaction Design and Children
Authors: Tom Hitron, Itamar Apelblat, Iddo Wald, Eitan Moriano, Andrey Grishko, Idan David, Avihay Bar, Oren Zuckerman
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Animating Matter: Creating Organic-like Movement in Soft Materials (2017)
Conference

Shape-changing materials development strives to generate motion in new ways, extending the traditional motor-based and mechanism-based techniques. We present a system that uses continuous magnetic force to create movement in a range of soft materials such as textile, foam, paper or silicon. The system has two parts: a control platform and a multi-material layer. The control platform is an array of electromagnets controlled by a microcontroller. The multi-material layer is made of a soft material with embedded ferromagnetic elements. The subtle electromagnetic force manipulates the embedded ferromagnetic material, resulting in continuous and organic-like movement in the material layer. We hope our system can empower designers to generate expressive movement with a broad range of materials. In our own work, we aim to extend our Empathy Objects research with soft materials, creating physical objects that convey emotion through expressive movement.

Conference: DIS '17 Companion, June 10-14, 2017, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Authors: Iddo Wald, Yoav Orlev, Andrey Grishko, Oren Zukerman
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Animating Mechanisms: A Pipeline for Authoring Robot Gestures (2017)
Conference

Designing and authoring gestures for socially expressive robots has been an increasingly important problem in recent years. In this demo we present a new pipeline that enables animators to create gestures for robots in a 3D animation authoring environment, without knowledge in computer programming. The pipeline consists of an exporter for a 3D animation software and an interpreter running on a Systemon-Module translating the exported animation into motor control commands.

Conference: HRI ’17 Companion March 06-09, 2017, Vienna, Austria
Authors: Benny Megidish, Oren Zuckerman, Guy Hoffman
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CataKit: From Smart Rooms to Smart Kids (2017)
Conference

This paper presents CataKit, a construction kit for children inspired by catapults, Rube-Goldberg chain reaction machines, and mechanical automata. We set out to promote children‘s initiative, positive risk-taking, and procedural thinking, all in the context of their bedrooms. Our motivation is to contrast the rising smart home movement in industry, which we fear may decrease children‘s initiative if children‘s bedrooms become too automated. We describe our design research process with six children followed by a prototype implementation and evaluation. We present the qualitative analysis of children‘s reactions and experiences with the prototype and show. that playing with CataKit encouraged children‘s systematic exploration of mechanical concepts, initiative, and positive risk-taking. We hope that construction kits like Catakit will empower kids to develop curiosity about the mechanical world around them, to think about risk taking as a potentially positive experience, and to think more critically about initiative in the smart home era.

Conference: IDC ’17, May 27–30, 2017, Stanford, CA, USA
Authors: Aviv Sheriff, Rona Sadan, Yasmin Keats, Oren Zuckerman
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Comparing Social Robot, Screen and Voice Interfaces for Smart-Home Control (2017)
Conference

With domestic technology on the rise, the quantity and complexity of smart-home devices are becoming an important interaction design challenge. We present a novel design for a home control interface in the form of a social robot, commanded via tangible icons and giving feedback through expressive gestures. We experimentally compare the robot to three common smart-home interfaces: a voice-control loudspeaker; a wall mounted touch-screen; and a mobile application. Our findings suggest that interfaces that rate higher on flow rate lower on usability, and vice versa. Participants’ sense of control is highest using familiar interfaces, and lowest using voice control. Situation awareness is highest using the robot, and also lowest using voice control. These findings raise questions about voice control as a smart-home interface, and suggest that embodied social robots could provide for an engaging interface with high situation awareness, but also that their usability remains a considerable design challenge.

Conference: CHI '17, May 6- May 11 2017, Denver, CO, USA
Authors: Michal Luria, Guy Hoffman, Oren Zuckerman
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From Parents to Mentors: Parent-Child Interaction in Co-Making Activities
Conference

Making activities for children often take place at informal learning environments. In this context parents may join their children for co-making activity. It has been shown that this type of activity can be facilitated by educators that serve as mentors. In this paper we aim to explore parent-child interaction in the context of a co-making שctivity at home. Towards that end, we developed a dedicated kit that couples Automata-building with paper circuits. We also designed five activity cards as scaffolding for parents, to raise their awareness to mentoring principles. We present our design process, evaluation, and findings from eight parent-child co-making activities

Conference: IDC ’17, JUNE 27–30, 2017, Stanford, CA, USA
Authors: Ofir Sadka, Oren Zuckerman
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Scratch Nodes: Enhancing Outdoor Social Play Through Coding (2017)
Conference

We present the design process of Scratch Nodes, a sensor based prototype designed to enable kids to augment physical outdoor play in a creative and meaningful way. Scratch Nodes was designed for 8-12 years old kids with the goal of encouraging physical play with special emphasis on social interaction and coding. Our contribution is a new prototype that extends prior work by combining three design principles: outdoor play focused on Heads-up Games (HUG), co-located social interaction, and changing the rules through coding. We argue that the combination of these three principles strikes the right balance between kids intrinsic motivation (play & measure, collaborate & compete, define their own rules) and contemporary social/cultural needs (decrease screen time, increase physical activity, increase creative/systematic exploration). We present our iterative design & implementation process and insights generated from qualitative analysis of an evaluation with 20 kids who tested the prototype at various stages.

Conference: IDC ‘17, June 27–30, 2017, Stanford, CA, USA
Authors: Tom Hitron, Itamar Apelblat, Avihay Bar, Iddo Wald, Andrey Grishko, Idan David, Eitan Moriano, Oren Zuckerman
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Dataspoon: Overcoming Design Challenges in Tangible and Embedded Assistive Technologies (2016)
Conference

The design of tangible and embedded assistive technologies poses unique challenges. We describe the challenges we encountered during the design of “DataSpoon”, explain how we overcame them, and suggest design guidelines. DataSpoon is an instrumented spoon that monitors movement kinematics during self-feeding. Children with motor disorders often encounter difficulty mastering self-feeding. In order to treat them effectively, professional caregivers need to assess their movement kinematics. Currently, assessment is performed through observations and questionnaires. DataSpoon adds sensor-based data to this process. A validation study showed that data obtained from DataSpoon and from a 6-camera 3D motion capture system were similar. Our experience yielded three design guidelines: needs of both caregivers and children should be considered; distractions to direct caregiver-child interaction should be minimized; familiar-looking devices may alleviate concerns associated with unfamiliar technology

Conference: TEI '16, February 14 - 17, 2016, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Tamar Gal, Tal Keren-Capelovitch, Tal Karsovsky, Ayelet Gal-Oz, Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss
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Designing Vyo, a Robotic Smart Home Assistant: Bridging the Gap Between Device and Social Agent (2016)
Conference

We describe the design process of “Vyo”, a personal assistant serving as a centralized interface for smart home devices. Building on the concepts of ubiquitous and engaging computing in the domestic environment, we identified five design goals for the home robot: engaging, unobtrusive, devicelike, respectful, and reassuring. These goals led our design process, which included simultaneous iterative development of the robot’s morphology, nonverbal behavior and interaction schemas. We continued with user-centered design research using puppet prototypes of the robot to assess and refine our design choices. The resulting robot, Vyo, straddles the boundary between a monitoring device and a socially expressive agent, and presents a number of novel design outcomes: The combination of TUI “phicons” with social robotics; gesturerelated screen exposure; and a non-anthropomorphic monocular expressive face. We discuss how our design goals are expressed in the elements of the robot’s final design.

Conference: IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN) '16
Authors: Michal Luria, Guy Hoffman, Benny Megidish, Oren Zuckerman, Sung Park
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KIP3: Robotic Companion as an External Cue to Students with ADHD (2016)
Conference

We present the design and initial evaluation of Kip3, a social robotic device for students with ADHD that provides immediate feedback for inattention or impulsivity events. We designed a research platform comprised of a tablet-based Continuous Performance Test (CPT) that is used to assess inattention and impulsivity, and a socially expressive robotic device (Kip3) as feedback. We evaluated our platform with 10 students with ADHD in a within subject user study, and report that 9 out of 10 participants felt that Kip3 helped them regain focus, but wondered if it will be effective over time and how it will identify inattention in more complex situations outside the lab.

Conference: TEI '16, February 14 - 17, 2016, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Guy Hoffman, Daphne Kopelman-Rubin, Anat Brunstein Klomek, Noa Shitrit, Yahav Amsalem, Yaron Shlomi
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Maketec: A Makerspace as a Third Place for Children (2016)
Conference

Makerspaces of various models are forming all around the world. We present a model and case study of the Maketec, a public drop-in makerspace for children, run by teens. The Maketec model is designed to promote making and socializing opportunities for girls and boys of ages 9-14. It is based on three underlying principles: (1) “Low Floor/Wide Walls”: construction kits and digital fabrication technologies that allow kids to invent and create with no prior knowledge or expertise; (2) “Unstructured Learning”: no formal instructors, teens serve as mentors for kids, and promote a culture of self-driven learning through projects; and (3) “A Makerspace as a Third Place”: the Maketec is free and managed by kids for kids in an effort to form a unique community of young makers. We report on interviews with four recurring visitors, and discuss our insights around the three principles and the proposed model.

Conference: TEI '16, February 14-17, 2016, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Authors: David Bar-El, Oren Zuckerman
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Social Competence and STEM: Teen Mentors in a Makerspace (2016)
Conference

We study the experiences of high school student volunteers as mentors in a public makerspace for children. Based on interviews, we present the teenagers’ varied backgrounds, doubts, and lessons learned. While most studies around maker activities have focused on learning of STEM subject matter, our findings point to an additional outcome, an empowerment in social competence. We discuss our insights about teenage mentorship in makerspaces and propose future research directions.

Conference: IDC '16, June 21-24, 2016, Manchester, United Kingdom
Authors: David Bar-El, Oren Zuckerman, Yaron Shlomi
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Assisting Caregivers of Children with Cerebral Palsy: Towards a Self-Feeding Assessment Spoon (2015)
Conference

Many children with cerebral palsy (CP) encounter great difficulties mastering self-feeding. We set out to assess the self-feeding skills of young children with CP via a novel instrumented spoon that monitors upper extremity biomechanics involved in eating. We describe the initial stages of an iterative design process, consisting of a focus group with domain experts, and rapid-prototyping. We discuss the physical, assessment and safety requirements for the spoon. In addition, we explain the potential of tangible interfaces to provide professional caregivers with valuable information regarding each child.

Conference: TEI '15, January 15–19, 2015, Stanford, CA, USA
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Ronit Slyper, Tal Keren-Capelovitch, Ayelet Gal-Oz, Tamar Gal, Patrrice L. (Tamar) Weiss
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Design and Evaluation of a Peripheral Robotic Conversation Companion (2015)
Conference

We present the design, implementation, and evaluation of a peripheral empathy-evoking robotic conversation companion, Kip1. The robot’s function is to increase people’s awareness to the effect of their behavior towards others, potentially leading to behavior change. Specifically, Kip1 is designed to promote nonaggressive conversation between people. It monitors the conversation’s nonverbal aspects and maintains an emotional model of its reaction to the conversation. If the conversation seems calm, Kip1 responds by a gesture designed to communicate curious interest. If the conversation seems aggressive, Kip1 responds by a gesture designed to communicate fear. We describe the design process of Kip1, guided by the principles of peripheral and evocative. We detail its hardware and software systems, and a study evaluating the effects of the robot’s autonomous behavior on couples’ conversations. We find support for our design goals. A conversation companion reacting to the conversation led to more gaze attention, but not more verbal distraction, compared to a robot that moves but does not react to the conversation. This suggests that robotic devices could be designed as companions to human-human interaction without compromising the natural communication flow between people. Participants also rated the reacting robot as having significantly more social human character traits and as being significantly more similar to them. This points to the robot’s potential to elicit people’s empathy.

Conference: HRI '15, March 02 - 05 2015, Portland, OR, USA
Authors: Guy Hoffman, Oren Zuckerman, Gilad Hirschberger, Michal Luria, Tal Shani-Sherman
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Embracing Cheating in Gamified Fitness Applications (2015)
Conference

Gamification of fitness applications opens the door to cheating by exploiting inherent limitations of sensing, in order to advance in the game without performing the required physical activity. While this type of behavior is usually conceptualized negatively, we propose it could actually be beneficial for encouraging physical activity. We integrate prior work on cheating in online games with prior work on embracing non-normative behavior, and suggest design opportunities for embracing cheating in gamified fitness applications.

Conference: CHI PLAY '15, October 03-07, 2015, London, United Kingdom
Authors: Ayelet Gal-Oz, Oren Zuckerman
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Empathy Objects: Robotic Devices as Conversation Companions (2015)
Conference

We present the notion of Empathy Objects, ambient robotic devices accompanying human-human interaction. Empathy Objects respond to human behavior using physical gestures as nonverbal expressions of their “emotional states”. The goal is to increase people’s self-awareness to the emotional state of others, leading to behavior change. We demonstrate an Empathy Object prototype, Kip1, a conversation companion designed to promote non-aggressive conversation between people

Conference: TEI '15, January 15–19, 2015, Stanford, CA, USA
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Guy Hoffman
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Initial Validation of an Assistive Technology to Enhance Executive Functioning Among Children with ADHD (2015)
Conference

Children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) experience a deficit in cognitive processes responsible for goal-directed behaviors, known as executive functioning (EF). In an effort to assist them, we developed TangiPlan – a prototype of a tangible assistive technology intended to improve EF during morning routines. TangiPlan was designed based on the following guidelines: implement intervention techniques recommended by experts; reduce conflicts with caregivers; avoid intrusion; support flexibility and autonomy. These design guidelines were implemented in a prototype consisting of six tangible objects, each representing a task that needs to be completed during a child’s morning routine, and a tablet application for planning tasks and matching them with objects. An initial evaluation of the prototype with two case studies resulted in improved organization and time management, increased satisfaction, and fewer conflicts with parents during morning routines.

Conference: IDC '15 Medford, MA, USA
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Ayelet Gal-Oz, Neta Tamir, Daphne Kopelman-Rubin
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Leveragning Mobile Technology to Engage College Students in Scientific Research (2015)
Conference

College students in the social sciences are required to learn quantitative research methods and statistics. Unfortunately, many fail to see the relevance of these courses, and are often anxious about them. In an effort to increase students’ engagement in the research process, we developed Ruzo – a mobile scientific inquiry platform. Ruzo enables instructors and students to create research projects as custom mobile apps, collect data on the go, and visualize the data using a web-based interactive tool. Ruzo was designed based on five guidelines, derived from interviews with domain experts: guide students through all stages of research; reduce anxiousness; encourage active learning; connect to students’ everyday lives; and adapt the system to the needs of the instructor. A user study showed that Ruzo was easy to use, and students expressed interest in research, thereby demonstrating the potential of mobile technology to scaffold scientific inquiry

Conference: MobileHCI '15, August 24–27, Copenhagen, Denmark
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Ayelet Gal-Oz, Oran Peretz, Orad Weisberg, Ricardo Tarrasch
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Objects for Change: A Case Study of a Tangible User Interface for Behavior Change (2015)
Conference

We present Objects for Change (OFC), a set of design considerations based on established behavior change techniques that can serve designers of Tangible User Interfaces (TUI). We highlight empirical findings from behavior change literature, and show how to apply them to inherent TUI properties: (1) visibility and persistency, (2) locality, (3) tangible representation, and (4) affordances. We demonstrate how we applied OFC in the design of a TUI prototype aimed to promote behavior change in planning and organization tasks among youth diagnosed with ADHD.

Conference: TEI '15, January 15–19, 2015, Stanford, CA, USA
Authors: Oren Zuckerman
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Deconstructing gamification: evaluating the effectiveness of continuous measurement, virtual rewards, and social comparison for promoting physical activity (2014)
Journals

Game design elements are often implemented in persuasive systems aimed to promote physical activity, a process called ‘‘gamification.’’ Gamification is believed to motivate users to become more active, and is commonly implemented in commercial products. However, relatively few studies rigorously evaluated the effectiveness of gamification, and they yielded contradicting findings. We set out to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual rewards and social comparison—two game elements prevalent in persuasive systems. We developed a research prototype, called ‘‘StepByStep,’’ aimed to promote routine walking. We created different versions of StepByStep, implemented as an application on Android-based mobile devices, and compared their effectiveness in two field studies. Study 1 showed that a quantified version of the application— offering continuous measurement of walking time, a daily goal, and real-time feedback on progress toward this goal—facilitated reflection on activity and significantly increased walking time over baseline level. Study 2 showed that gamified versions offering virtual rewards and social comparison were only as effective as the quantified version. Thus, we advise designers to facilitate reflection on meaningful aspects of physical activity by developing novel ubiquitous measures. Furthermore, our findings highlight the importance of systematic comparisons between quantified and gamified elements for better understanding their motivational affordances.

Journal: Springer-Verlag London '14, 5 July 2014
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Ayelet Gal-Oz
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ExciteTray: Developing an Assistive Technology to Promote Self-Feeding Among Young Children (2014)
Conference

Typically developing children usually master self-feeding by the age of three years. However, children with Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disabilities encounter great difficulties acquiring this instrumental ability. In an effort to motivate young eaters in the process of acquiring self-feeding abilities, we set out to develop ExciteTray – a customized self-feeding assistive technology. We describe the initial stages of an iterative design process consisting of interviews with domain experts, rapidprototyping, and evaluations with children. Based on our findings, we formulated preliminary design principles for a self-feeding assistive technology: draw attention without causing distraction; motivate the child during the various stages of self-feeding; facilitate face-to-face interaction between caregiver and child; adapt feedback to the cognitive and motor ability of each child. We explain how these principles were implemented in a prototype, discuss safety considerations and describe future work.

Conference: IDC '14, June 17–20, 2014, Aarhus, Denmark.
Authors: Ayelet Gal-Oz, Orad Weisberg, Tal Keren-Capelovitch, Yair Uziel, Ronit Slyper, Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss, Oren Zuckerman
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In-car game design for children: Promoting interactions inside and outside the car (2014)
Journals

Long car rides can become a source of boredom for children, consequently causing tension inside the car. Common solutions against boredom include entertainment devices suitable for in-car use. Such devices often disengage children from other family members inside the car, as well as from the outside world. We set out to create a novel in-car game that connects children with their family and their environment, instead of only their entertainment devices. The game, called Mileys, integrates locationbased information, augmented reality and virtual characters. We developed Mileys in an iterative process — findings from the first round of prototyping and evaluation guided the design of a second-generation prototype and lead to additional evaluations. In this paper we discuss lessons learned during the development and evaluation of Mileys, present challenges for location-based in-car game design, and suggest potential solutions for promoting interactions inside and outside the car.

Journal: International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction '14, 21 December 2014
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Guy Hoffman, Ayelet Gal-Oz
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TangiPlan: Designing an Assistive Technology to Enhance Executive Functioning Among Children with ADHD (2014)
Conference

Children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) experience a deficit in cognitive processes responsible for purposeful goal-directed behaviors, known as executive functioning (EF). In an effort to improve EF, we are developing TangiPlan – a set of tangible connected objects that represent tasks children perform during their morning routine. We describe the initial stages of a user-centered design process, consisting of interviews with both domain experts and potential users, followed by paper prototyping. Based on our findings, we formulated preliminary design principles for EF assistive technology: facilitate organization, time management and planning; involve caregivers in the process, but strive to reduce conflict; implement intervention techniques suggested by experts; avoid distraction by mobile phones; avoid intrusion. We discuss the benefits of implementing these principles with a tangible interface, present our prototype design, and describe future directions

Conference: IDC '14, June 17–20, 2014, Aarhus, Denmark.
Authors: Orad Weisberg, Ayelet Gal-Oz, Ruth Berkowitz, Noa Weiss, Oran Peretz, Shlomi Azoulai, Daphne Kopleman-Rubin, Oren Zuckerman
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The future of online therapy (2014)
Journals

The digital world, and the Internet in particular, have a significant impact on almost all aspects of our lives. The realm of psychotherapy is an area in which the influence of the Internet is growing rapidly. This paper suggests a model for comprehensive online therapy online with a therapist at its center. We start by explaining the main components of both traditional therapy and online therapy. We discuss the principal criticisms leveled against online therapy and assess the efficacy of various responses. The paper moves on to explain the advantages of online therapy, focusing on the unique aspects of this approach. The paper proposes that online therapy should exploit other online resources, including online techniques for information gathering. This is true both in the therapeutic session and outside of it. In addition, the paper suggests that therapists incorporate online role play, online CBT and intervention techniques using the smartphone. All of these tools are suggested as important components in a process of comprehensive therapy run by a therapist working online.

Journal: Computers in Human Behavior Volume 41, December 2014, Pages 288-294
Authors: Yair Amichai-Hamburger, Anat Brunstein Klomek, Doron Friedman, Oren Zuckerman, Tal Shani-Sherman
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In-car Game Design for Children: Child vs. Parent Perspective (2013)
Conference

Family car rides can become a source of boredom for child passengers, and consequently cause tension inside the car. In an attempt to overcome this problem, we developed Mileys – a novel in-car game that integrates location-based information, augmented reality and virtual characters. It is aimed to make car rides more interesting for child passengers, strengthen the bond between family members, encourage safe and ecological driving, and connect children with their environment instead of their entertainment devices. We evaluated Mileys with a six-week long field study, which revealed differences between children and parents regarding their desired in-car experience. Children wish to play enjoyable games, whereas parents view car rides as an opportunity for strengthening the bond between family members and for educating their children. Based on our findings, we identify five key challenges for in-car game design for children:
different expectations by parents and children, undesired detachment, short interaction span, poor GPS reception, and motion sickness.

Conference: IDC '13, New York, NY, USA
Authors: Guy Hoffman, Ayelet Gal-Oz, Shlomi David, Oren Zuckerman
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To TUI or not to TUI: Evaluating performance and preference in tangible vs. graphical user interfaces (2013)
Journals

Tangible user interfaces (TUIs) are often compared to graphical user interfaces (GUIs). However, the existing literature is unable to demonstrate clear advantages for either interface, as empirical studies yielded different findings, sometimes even contradicting ones. The current study set out to conduct an in-depth analys is of the strengths and weaknesses of both interfaces, based on a comparis on between similar TUI and GUI versions of a modeling and simulation system called “FlowBlocks”. Results showed most users preferred the TUI version over the GUI version. This is a surprising finding, considering both versions were equivalent in regard to most performance parameters, and the TUI version was even perceived as inferior to the GUI version in regard to usability. Interviews with users revealed this preference stemmed from high levels of stimulation and enjoyment, derived from three TUI properties: physical interaction,rich feedback, and high levels of realism. Potential underlying mechanisms for these findings and practical implication sared is cussed.

Journal: Human- Computer studies, December 2016
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Ayelet Gal-Oz
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Children’s Participation Patterns in Online Communities (2009)
Journals

Online participation and content contribution are pillars of the Internet revolution and are core activities for younger generations online. This study investigated participation patterns, users’ contributions and gratification mechanisms, as well as the gender differences of Israeli learners in the Scratch online community.
The findings showed that: (1) Participation patterns reveal two distinct participation types – “project creators” and “social participators”, suggesting different users’ needs. (2) Community members gratified “project creators” and “social participators” for their investment – using several forms of community feedback. Gratification at the user level was given both to “project creators” and “social participators” – community members added them as friends. The majority of the variance associated with community feedback was explained by seven predictors. However, gratification at the project level was different for the two participation types – active “project creators” received less feedback on their projects, while active “social participators” received more. Project feedback positively correlated with social participation investment, but negatively correlated with project creation investment. A possible explanation is that community members primarily left feedback to their friends. (3) No gender differences were found in participation patterns or in project complexity, suggesting that Scratch provides similar opportunities to both genders in programming, learning, and participation.

Journal: Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, Informing Science Institute
Authors: Oren Zuckerman, Ina Blau, Andrés Monroy-Hernández
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