This project synthesizes techniques from interaction design, creative cognition, visual design, programming languages, and information retrieval and visualization to help people draw on big data to stimulate innovation. Sensemaking is the process of understanding a collection of information resources. Ideation means the process of generating new ideas. In performing information-based ideation tasks, people use information for developing new ideas, such as planning a paper, thesis, or invention. This project will provide new tools for presenting information visually. "Information composition" is a medium for representing each information collection as a connected whole. To better support innovation and creative visual thinking, this research brings diagramming, along with collection curation, to information composition. Pen, touch, and in-air sensing will transform interaction into an extension of the body, helping people express, understand, and remember. Embodied interaction will be based on the Interface Ecology Lab's ZeroTouch, a novel multi-finger sensing technology.
Intellectual merit: The objective of this proposal is to develop "Embodied InfoComposer", a toolset that uses pen, touch, and other modalities for authoring visual semantic information collections. The principal hypothesis is that embodying interaction, making representations visual, and connecting rich metadata semantics will stimulate sensemaking and ideation, helping people collect, reflect, create, and invent. This research will result in significant outcomes in important areas of human centered computing, including: (1) new understanding of how integrated diagramming and information composition promotes creative visual thinking; (2) new fluid embodied interaction techniques; (3) new methods for measuring reflection, ideation, and sensemaking; and (4) new implications for design of embodied creativity support environments.
Broader impacts: This research will transform how people work with information, leading to greater innovation in a variety of domains including business and education. The work is likely to have broad societal impact because innovation is a key factor leading to job creation and economic success. The project will also have educational impact through the training of graduate students and by the use of Embodied InfoComposer to foster creative visual thinking by undergraduate students from diverse majors in a design process course. Undergraduate computer science students in capstone senior design will use resulting technologies as building blocks in innovative projects. Recruitment of female and minority student researchers at the graduate and undergraduate levels will be sought.