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Amplifying human senses by technology

Prof. Albrecht Schmidt with Eye Tracker

19/02/2016

SimTech Professor Albrecht Schmidt receives Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council (ERC). The project AMPLIFY will be funded by two million Euros.

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Amplifying human senses by technology

Prof. Albrecht Schmidt mit Eye Tracker

"To amplify" also means to reinforce, to extend and to deepen. The computer scientist Albrecht Schmidt focuses on humans. In his project AMPLIFY, he wants the senses of humans to be extended by technical sensor systems. Prof. Schmidt was able to solicit one of the coveted Consolidator Grants from the European Research Council. The Grant promotes Schmidt and his group in the next five years with around two million Euros.

Human-Computer-Interaction

With AMPLIFY, new and advanced artificial human senses are being developed. So-called cognitive tools are evolved by means of digital technologies which are used naturally and intuitively. In addition, Schmidt pursues with his project the vision of creating artificial reflexes by using artificial perception and synthetic stimuli. In this way one could e.g. develop an artificial reflex for the lack of movement, which thus serves health.

Albrecht Schmidt konnte den ERC überzeugen

The research in human-computer interaction is the key discipline to process intelligent systems. Above all, intuitive collaboration between humans and computers plays a crucial role. The field of perception and cognition in machine as well as for humans has always been very interesting for him, says Albrecht Schmidt. "With the AMPLIFY project, I can explore something that has a striking effect. I was aiming at this for quite a long time", says the computer scientist. The special feature of AMPLIFY is that he as a computer scientist can build a prototype and then test it out over a longer period and develop it further.

New glasses for a new class of seeing

Entwurf einer elektronischen Sinneserweiterung

Albrecht Schmidt plans interalia the development of special glasses that enhance the natural sense of sight of people - for example by representing other spectra than the human eye is able to. Schmidt has the vision of glasses that one can control by concentration and thoughts. Looking out of the window one will be able to zoom in on a detail which is one kilometer away. Such cognitive tools will give the people skills they did not possess without them. For example to see the world more clearly.

Working with technologies such as EMG, EEG and eye tracking human behavior is measured for the development of intuitive use. Electromyography (EMG) is an electrophysiological method with which the electrical muscle activity can be measured. The so-called electroencephalography (EEG) measures the electrical activity of the brain. During Eye Tracking the eye movements of a person are recorded. The expansion of sensory perception should at best not be perceived by the user. By this means a natural movement like the intuitive squinting of eyes in a specific viewing direction should lead to an automatic zoom of the glasses.

Ubiquitous technologies

"Computers are not better than humans. But the combination of human and computer is better than each alone", says Schmidt. He hopes to create a ubiquitous technology and to give the people thus skills that are still regarded as "supernatural".

In the field of human-computer interaction research, computer science meets other disciplines such as psychology. With the EU funding, the group will bring a neuroscientist on board, who designs the studies and interventions for the computer scientists at the Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems.

Despite the developer spirit, Albrecht Schmidt will use the funding period especially for basic research in the field of brain-computer interface and expansion of sensory perception. In the long term he would like to, however, generate new interesting projects from the results of the basic research.

About Prof. Albrecht Schmidt

Prof. Schmidt is doing research for many years in the field of human-computer interaction. His research interests include context-aware mobile devices, implicit interaction, embedded interaction, new sensors for interaction and cognitive support of interactive technologies.

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Second round of the school competition PlaNeT

PlaNeT SimTech

25/04/2016

75 students take part in the second round of the school competition PlaNeT SimTech and solve a tricky problem by modeling.

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Second round of the school competition PlaNeT

On Saturday, 23 April 2016, SimTech hosted the second school competition PlaNeT at the University of Stuttgart. Due to the motto “solving problems from the natural and technical sciences” (“Probleme lösen aus Naturwissenschaften und Technik”), the Cluster of Excellence SimTech was looking for talented students in their final years of school in Baden-Wurttemberg. The competition was scheduled for a whole day. Beginning at 9 am, equipped with nothing more than notebooks, whiteboards and the knowledge obtained at school, eight teams started to work on the difficult question of the contest. This year’s problem was: “How many drones would a supplying company need to lower the supplier car traffic significantly in Stuttgart?” All 18 student teams developed different solutions.

PlaNeT SimTech

The winning team received a check of 500 Euro. Congratulations to Jonathan Brielmaier, Sebastian Toksig Mayer, Josia Seidel, and Markus Vogler from the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Gymnasiums in Filderstadt-Sielmingen. The two runner-up teams earned themselves 250 Euro each. Congratulations Daniel Banov, Sophia Hampe, Maria Röhl und Alexander Kaiser from the Albertus-Magnus-Gymnasium Stuttgart, and to Felix Dengler, Ralf Händle, Amir Saied Ahmad und Nicolas Schaible from the Ernst-Sigle-Gymnasium Kornwestheim. The competition is entirely sponsored by the Industrial Consotrium SimTech e. V.

Please find more pictures of the competition day in our galery.

 

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Industrial cooperation for car safety

Validierung für Simulationen in der Biomechanik

21/01/2016

Junior professor Syn Schmitt is doing research concerning safety solutions for future cars at the new “Tech Center i-protect“ which is supported by the “Leistungszentrum Nachhaltigkeit“.

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Industrial cooperation: Simulation technology for safe cars

Bei der Unterzeichnung

On thursday, 21 January 2016, junior professor Syn Schmitt signed a Cooperation Agreement within his assistance at “Tech Center i-protect“. The cooperation partners are interalia Daimler AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft including Fraunhofer Institute for Material Mechanics (IWM) and Fraunhofer Institute for short-term dynamics, Ernst-Mach-Institute (EMI) Freiburg, the Dresden University of Technology and Graz University of Technology.

The “Tech Center i-protect“ is one of the pilot projects of “Leistungszentrum Nachhaltigkeit“ in Freiburg, which is supported by the federal state of Baden-Württemberg with around 5 Million Euros. These projects shall find answers to topics like sustainable materials, energy systems as well as ecological and social transformation.

An important topic in the “car region” Baden-Württemberg is the investigation for new solutions on car safety, says Minister of Finance and Economy Nils Schmid. At the ”Tech Center i-protect“ exactly these safety approaches are developed for future vehicles. The research is about technologies for crash situations as well as systems that intervene before the accident happens in order to improve the passenger protection. Within an integral safety approach the researchers take a look at driver, vehicle and other road users like pedestrians and cyclists.

Der Stuttgarter Juniorprofessor Syn Schmitt

With his work within the ”Tech Center i-protect“, junior professor Syn Schmitt makes a big contribution to the field of biomechanical research. Using methods of computational biomechanics, he can safely find out which forces have an effect on the body of a person in a car crash and what kind of damage potential results from that. Simulation technologies in the field of biomechanics allow the virtual investigation of these questions (which can’t be measured at a living organism) by the use of computer models. Therefore, the SimTech-scientist uses engineering methods on a base of discrete mechanics and continuum mechanics to finally adapt them to biomechanical needs.

Validierung für Simulationen in der Biomechanik

At the “Tech Center i-protect“, radiographs and simulation data are combined with algorithms from computer tomography. By the consideration of these data, it will be possible to save a three-dimensional image of the highly dynamic deformation processes during a crash. By this means, simulations and hence vehicle safety can be improved.

The motor for sustainable innovation is the cooperation between industry and science, especially when strong partners like in the “Tech Center i-protect“ come together, says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the executive board of the Robert Bosch AG. Besides of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, the Daimler AG provides 5 million Euros and the Robert Bosch GmbH 1 million Euros. “At the ‚Tech Center i-Protect‘ powerful teams of industry and science from different regions are working together in order to bring research results in the field of integrated security even faster in to the vehicles.”, says Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler Board of Management, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. Also the university and the Fraunhofer society take part at the financing of this project with in total 5 million Euros.

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