The HCI group at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (BUW) is led by Professor Dr.-Ing. Eva Hornecker.

The group works across technology, social sciences, and design. Our research is driven by the core topic of Tangible and Embodied Interaction (TEI), which we address from these angles. At BUW, we belong to the department of Computer Science, teaching in our MediaInformatics program and the HCI Master program. We have strong ties to the Arts and Design faculty, not only through Prof. Hornecker’s secondary affiliation, but even more so through frequent collaborations in teaching and research.

Human-Computer Interaction group at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Weimar HCI group from left to right: Britta Schulte, Kristian Gohlke, Eva Hornecker, Hannes Waldschütz, Lena Franzkowiak. Missing: Michaela Honauer. Photo taken in our Interface Development Lab

In the TEI tradition, we are enthusiastic about creating ‘physical computing’ objects – we focus on computational artefacts (or interactive spaces) that are physical, inhabit the same space as users, and require physical interaction. This is complemented by user study research that investigates people’s experience with technology and their embedding in social contexts. Given Bauhaus-Universität’s focus on project-based teaching, a lot of our research happens in the context of such projects, which often involve students from other faculties.

In our technical and development work, which tends to be design-led and includes material exploration, we utilize electronics, e-textile and other new materials, and digital fabrication methods. We deploy quantitative and qualitative user study work, but have an emphasis on qualitative research methods, such as interviews, observations, video analysis, ethnographic-style participant observation, and field studies.

Ongoing research has a focus on technology in performance and installation art, investigating how to integrate interactive costumes for stage-based performances in the theatre context (Michaela Honauer’s Dissertation project). We also participated in interdisciplinary performance projects and did media installation work (including a project for Kunstfest Weimar 2016). We further investigate new possibilities for shape-change and user input with inflatable (i.e. pneumatically actuated) interfaces (Kristian Gohlke’s Dissertation project) and do research on Data Physicalization (physical artefacts whose geometry or material properties encode data). Other topics of work include Media Architecture, interactive museum installations and visitor research, and Mixed Reality learning environments. Recently, we started a new project funded by VolkswagenStiftung, which has us dive deep into a completely new domain, that of elderly care. ReThiCare (Rethinking Care Robots) explores the design space for intelligent assistive technology in care homes, identifying alternatives to the prevalent imagery of anthromorphic butler robots. In this project, we collaborate with product designers from BUW, sociologists from TU Chemnitz, and Roboticists in Denmark.

Weimar and BUW have been ideal for this kind of interdisciplinary cross-over and collaboration,  where the Arts help us to think differently about topics and provide us inspiration. Design supports us in thinking out of the box, to re-define problems or to approach them in a more playful way, as well as bringing essential skills for creating physical objects and working with materials.

We may not be a large group, but we hugely enjoy working together, sharing in-depth discussions, having fun, tinkering about, generating ideas and seeing them come to life, and doing work that we believe is unique.

(c) Eva Hornecker Data analysis investigating interactions within shared flats as part of a student project developing alternative Smart-Home concepts.
(c) BUW, Henry Sowinski Working with students on interactive costumes for ‘The Little Mermaid’ performed by the Children and Youth Ballett group Gera-Altenburg in 2017 and 2018. Students created two costumes for the jellyfish and seahorse character that react to the dancers’ movements. Michaela Honauer further collaborated with a costume designer on the costume for the seawitch, with a collar that glows up when the witch casts a spell.
(c) Michaela Honauer The Wings-Costume is an interactive dance costume – the light pattern is controlled by the dancer’s motion or by environmental input, such as sound or visuals. With a follow-up version of this costume, Michaela Honauer collaborated with the performance LE CIRQUE DU BAUHAUS, shown during the international Full Dome Festival 2019 at the planetarium in Jena.
Bauhaus Apparate Labor: CNC-machine for the Rapid-Prototyping of air chamber systems (Gohlke, 2016)
Pressure_Input_Device_on_top_of_early_IFSR_Sensor.jpeg] A handheld inflatable user-interface with integrated multitouch and force/pressure sensing layer on top of an early prototype of such sensor with data visualisation from a combined flexible and stretchable textile sensor layer (Gohlke, Hornecker 2018) that enables multitouch and force/pressure sensing on inflatable membrane structures and curved surfaces.
(c) Pauline Temme Bellum omni contra omnes – the war of all against all – takes data from a website showing cyberwarfare attacks. These anonymous soldiers (for the 16 most active origin-countries) enact the real-time attacks. The work was built by an interdisciplinary student project in 2018 as part of our research on Data Physicalization and was selected for the Marke.6 Bauhaus-Essentials 2018.
(c) Hannes Waldschütz Trommelwirbel was created by the same team as Bellum Omni Contra Omnes in 2018 for the Data-Driven Objects project. The drum plays data from the TDRM project which monitors radiation around Belgian nuclear reactors. It was exhibited from May 4th to 22th of June 2019 at Galerie Eigenheim, Berlin.
Photo (c) Eva Hornecker. As part of his bachelor theses, student Till Fastnacht worked with two Media Architecture students from BUW on an installation for the Jena City Lights Festival 2015. Sonnengarten is an interactive light installation, controlled by touching plants.


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