CPSC 781: Advanced Topic in Human-Computer Interaction

Note: The information on this site is currently under construction, tentative, and subject to change.

Instructor: Saul Greenberg
Semester: Fall, 2012
Time: Monday / Wednesday 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm.
If all students permit it, we may occasionally conduct the class on a single day as a 3 hour block on Monday or Wednesday.


Fall 2012 topic: Proxemic Interactions in Ubiquitous Computing

This advanced course in Human Computer Interaction will focus on Proxemic Interactions, which is a particular aspect of Ubiquitous computing. Contents are structured around:

  • introductory readings related to conceptual and technical concepts in ubiquitous computing;
  • specialized readings on social, conceptual and technical concepts in proxemic interaction;
  • a major independent project that you define that develops a proposal, design, implementation and critique of a system for proxemic interactions.
  • learning and teaching software systems and other methods for various ubicomp-related technologies, including learning by doing through simple exercises.
  • student-led presentations, seminars and discussions about papers and topics of interest.

This will be a demanding, time-intensive course. You are expected to take the lead in defining and pursuing projects and course subls -topics. You will gather and distill academic materials, and define and implement major projects. I strongly encourage projects that are tightly related to your thesis research or your direct interests, and / or that can generate research results such as publications and/or thesis chapters.


Required: Computer Science 481 or equivalent
Highly recommended: A second graduate or under-graduate HCI course or equivalent
Or Permission of the instructor: Contact saul.greenberg@ucalgary.ca

Typical Students

Typical students attending this course are those pursuing Human Computer Interaction as part of their computer science thesis research, where their research will include (or is related to) aspects of ubiquitous computing. If you are thinking of attending, you should be fully comfortable and adept at programming at a level expected of a computer science graduate students.

If you have no background in Human Computer Interaction (HCI), feel free to ask me about this course. I caution that this is not an introductory HCI course. Rather, it is an advanced course on a highly specialized topic in HCI. If you don not have any HCI background, you may still be able to get through the material, but you will have to work much harder and will likely not get as much out of it due to its specialized nature. If you are looking for a basic introduction to HCI, or interface design, or basic HCI methods, I suggest you take or sit in on CPSC 481.

Come speak with me if you are unsure.

Deliverables and Grading

  • Written / oral presentations: 20%
  • Assignments: 20%
  • Term Project: 60%
  • See details ...

Details and Schedule



Old materials - ignore


Microsoft Research contributed various Windows Phones for use by the class for educational purposes. We are grateful to them for the educational opportunity it presents, as it provides a wonderful platform for student assignments, and further education in various programming techniques.

The Class Blog

Student Sandbox (highly tentative)

Students: The sandbox is a place for you to put your own materials for this course.

Saul Greenberg

Technology Assignments

Ones in bold are topics I definitely want to include. Send my your own suggestions about technologies that are not on this list as well.

Mon/Wed, Sep 17/19Proximity ToolkitNicolai
Wed, Oct 3Hardware: PhidgetsFereshteh
Wed, Oct 10Sensing: KinectTulio
Mon, Oct 14WPF: Windows Phone including sensorsSaul
Wed, Oct 16Networking: iNetworking with the Windows PhoneDavid
Mon, Oct 22WPF: Animation on the Windows PhoneAhmed
Wed, Oct 24Sensing: WiiMoteSetareh
Wed, Oct 31Vision: Fiduciary Tag Recognition (e.g., ARToolkit)Marinho
Wed, Nov 14Hardware: Microsoft microframeworkJiannan
Wed, Nov 21WPF: Windows 8 multitouchBon

Presentation Assignments

Ones in bold are topics I definitely want to include. Send my your own suggestions about technologies that are not on this list as well.

Mon, Oct. 14Sensing TechnologiesAhmed
Mon, Oct. 22Attentive User InterfacesJiannan
Mon, Oct. 29Controlling DevicesDavid
Wed, Oct. 31Personal InformaticsBon
Mon, Nov. 5Ambient DisplaysFereshteh
Wed, Nov. 14Continuous Interaction SpaceMarinho
Mon, Nov. 19Proxemics in Human Robot Interaction Setareh
Mon, Nov. 26Accessiblity controlled by ProxemicsTulio


Ones in bold are topics I definitely want to include. Send my your own suggestions about technologies that are not on this list as well.

A Proximity Based Recommender Bon
Role-based Visualizations Ahmed
Visualizing Sensor Data Fereshteh
Attentive User Interfaces in MuseumsJiannan
Medi: HRI Proxemics between robots and children Setareh
Tablet/Tablet Spatial InteractionsMarinho
Framework for Proxemic Control via a Mobile Device. David