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Stopping big data from blowing our minds

We are very pleased to announce that a new article on the CEEDs project appeared yesterday on the EU Horizon magazine which presents results from research conducted to develop a system that connects the unconscious mind to the vastly expanding world of big data, and help humans navigate it and make sense of it: http://horizon-magazine.eu/article/stopping-big-data-blowing-our-minds_en.html

Here's the full article:

Every minute, the world generates 1.7 million billion bytes of data – the equivalent of 360 000 DVDs – from sources such as sensors for climate information, satellite imagery, purchase transaction records, GPS signals and simulation tools.

For example, the Large Hadron Collider – which famously discovered the elusive Higgs particle – generates data from 600 million particle collisions per second. Meanwhile, the NASA Centre for Climate Simulation stores 37 petabytes of data – 37 quadrillion bytes, or 37 times as much as the data contained in US academic libraries.

As a result, the data sector is growing by 40 % every year, with important implications for storage and accessibility of the information. It also raises the question of how humans can make the most of all of this rich data without being overwhelmed.

The answer could come via two EU-funded projects – CEEDs and VELaSSCo – which have brought together teams of leading experts from key disciplines to answer this question.

Jonathan Freeman, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, leads the four-year CEEDs project, which has created an ‘eXperience Induction Machine’ (XIM). The XIM helps humans navigate vast amounts of complex information, using virtual reality and wearable sensors that track brain waves, heart rate and other responses.

‘It turns out that only a small subset of sensory input reaches conscious awareness, yet the remainder is still processed by the brain,’ said Prof. Freeman. ‘This subconscious processing is very good at detecting novel patterns and meaningful signals. By unlocking the power of the subconscious, CEEDs will make fundamental contributions to human experience.’

The XIM machine, which was developed in the lab of CEEDs’ scientific director Professor Paul Verschure in Barcelona, consists of an immersive room equipped with speakers, projectors, projection screens, pressure-sensitive floor tiles, infrared cameras and a microphone. Data visualisations are displayed on the screen and the person’s response is monitored through sensors embedded in a headset.

Overload detection

‘The system acknowledges when participants are getting fatigued or overloaded with information,’ said Prof. Freeman. ‘And it adapts accordingly. It either simplifies the visualisations so as to reduce the cognitive load, thus keeping the user less stressed and more able to focus. Or it will guide the person to areas of the data representation that are not as heavy in information.’

For example, CEEDs technology could be used to guide a school child around datasets of interest – say of planets and stars – using virtual reality visualisations on screens. Importantly, the child’s unconscious processes would be monitored using sensors, detecting when they are bored and excited, and tailoring the exploration accordingly.

Other possible applications for CEEDs include helping users inspect satellite imagery, oil prospecting, economics and historical research. The technology has already been used for two years at the Bergen-Belsen memorial site in Germany. Discussions are also ongoing with museums in the Netherlands, the UK and the United States ahead of the 2015 commemorations of the end of World War II.

Prof. Freeman said the idea could be expanded to areas such as retail. ‘Imagine an online shoe store which has thousands of shoes. How can users make quicker and more objective choices? CEEDs offers quick feedback on what people like and don’t like, based on brainwave response, eye movement and arousal. These implicit reactions can inform choice.’

He said the CEEDs system could also be used for therapeutic purposes. ‘There is scope for real-time therapy, where physiological measures, such as heart rate, arousal and gaze, are measured during sessions with an empathic counsellor.’

Aiding research

Meanwhile, the VELaSSCo project is aiming to make big data more understandable and useful for scientists by converting simulation data into simple visualisations for use in research and industry.

Simulations help to imitate real-world processes – for example simulation of planes is used in the aerospace industry to improve aerodynamics. Similarly, they can be used to predict weather and pollution across cities, model the aerodynamic behaviour of a Formula One car or investigate biological processes.

Such models rely on complex datasets generated by simulation tools. As technology expands, this data is increasing at an exponential rate, running into billions of separate records. Data has to be computed and stored on multiple servers, raising issues about how to access and manipulate the information.

‘Consider a simulation run on a Formula One car,’ said Abel Coll, VELaSSCo project coordinator at the International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE) in Barcelona, Spain. ‘There may be simulation results relating to the air pressure and velocities around certain parts of the car; these results come from physics – these are the big data.

‘Now we have the big data, we may want to visualise them using contour lines or different colours to see the pressure of the air which is in contact with the F1 car. The problem is how to store and access the data – how do we manage this big data when it is distributed in different machines?’

The VELaSSCo team, which includes experts in big data handling, advanced visualisation, engineering simulations and consultants from industrial sectors such as aerospace, is hoping to create a ‘simulation data analysis platform’ for the scientific and engineering community.

The platform will store, access and transform data to enable researchers to visualise the most detailed and up-to-date simulation results. It will include a database engine based on widely used technologies that organise and store a diverse range of large-scale simulation datasets for collaborative use.

‘We want to work out how best to take advantage of the big data to provide further visualisations of the simulation results in a user-friendly way,’ said Coll. ‘This is where the worlds of big data and visualisations converge.’

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Next generation technology gets inside the consumer’s mind

An article recently appeared on RetailWeek describes how the rise of big data and the increasingly sophisticated ways that data can be harvested, is transforming the retail world and  the way people will shop in the near future. Some cutting-edge technologies are being developed that could deeply transform traditional customer insights by predicting consumers needs in ways that would have not been possible before. As Jonathan Freeman, professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths University and managing director at i2 media research explains “Many years ago you would have a local shopkeeper who would know lots about you, your family situation, your personal information – your context basically – and would therefore be able to suggest products to you and react to your situation. Retailers are trying to recreate that relationship in another way.”

Cutting edge technologies such as eye tracking or software measuring emotional responses via facial expression are some of the ways in which this transformation could happen.

 Source: http://www.retail-week.com/technology/analysis-next-generation-technology-gets-inside-the-consumers-mind/5065275.article

Source: http://www.retail-week.com/technology/analysis-next-generation-technology-gets-inside-the-consumers-mind/5065275.article

i2 media developed a neat model called the shopper state model which is essentially a way of responding to shopper moods and preferences using real-time mobile data and historical data. “It was developed initially through observational research, but now we have digital metrics that can work out where within a range of mindsets a consumer may be – so it looks at dwell time in particular areas of the store, for example, and then can tell if a consumer is interested in a product in that area,” says Freeman. “We can then use data we have built up around that customer and target them. For instance, by knowing that David has a young child and money is tight, the system could  send over a 10% discount offer for that product at a critical time directly to his phone.”

For more information see the full article here.

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HUMAN INTERACTIVE CONFERENCE & CREATIVE MACHINE EXHIBITION

The inaugural 'Human Interactive' conference brings together leading experts from industry and academia to present and discuss the challenges of achieving the next generation of human-machine interaction through advances in computer games, AI, neuroscience, AR/VR, psychology, big data analytics, robotics and creative computing.

Prof. Jonathan Freeman will present work conducted by his team. The MindSee project, for instance is investigating how novel generations of symbiotic relationships between humans and computers can be achieved in the area of information seeking. 

The associated economical, ethical, societal and environmental issues involved will also be explored and there will be plenty of opportunity for networking.

The conference will be followed by "Creative Machine", a major exhibition exploring the twilight world of human-machine creativity, including installations of video and computer art, AI, robotics and apps .

Both events  will take place at Goldsmiths University of London on the 6th of November. Registration is FREE https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/human-interactive-conference-creative-machine-exhibition-private-view-registration-11761855025. 

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BEHAVIOURAL TRACKING AND NEUROSCIENCE TOOLS DESIGNED TO MEASURE WHAT CONSUMERS WANT AND NEED

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BEHAVIOURAL TRACKING AND NEUROSCIENCE TOOLS DESIGNED TO MEASURE WHAT CONSUMERS WANT AND NEED

A worth reading article by Dara O’Rourke well explains why it’s time “we move beyond surveys, and simultaneously commit to avoiding invasive tracking and manipulative marketing, in order to really understand what consumers want and need, and to help them connect their values and actions for sustainability”. 

From the theguardian.com:

A new set of tools and technologies has emerged over the last several years to measure the behaviours of consumers. These tools, if used responsibly, transparently, and without violating people’s privacy, hold important potential for better understanding consumer behavior with respect to sustainability.

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What function do event attendees need most from a new app? Survey online now.

i2 media research is conducting research for a London based start-up: Pickevent.  And you can take part, here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/i2-4-Pickevent

Pickevent is the world’s first Events Network connecting Attendees, Speakers and Event Organisers supporting the pre, during and post Event experience by enabling people to showcase their profile, find others and connect any time.

i2 media's research has been designed to identify people’s interest in a range of potential functions Pickevent are considering for inclusion in their new app for smartphones and tablets.  It has involved us immersing ourselves in professional events and interviewing lots of people there, and in the Event Application literature.

Through this, we have identified 8 functions which meet various needs of people who go to professional events (attendees, speakers, exhibitors and organisers).

To give your view of each the app functions - and how much you think they would enhance your experience of attending professional events (whether as an attendee, speaker, exhibitor or organiser), please complete this short (8-12 minute) questionnaire:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/i2-4-Pickevent

i2's work for Pickevent is supported by London Fusion - a European Commission Regional Development Fund supported scheme to enable knowledge exchange between research experts based in Higher Education Establishments and SMEs in London.

For more information about Pickevent, please see: https://pickevent.com/

For more on London Fusion, please see: http://www.londonfusion.org.uk/ 

 

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Announcing the new i2 media research intern scheme: Get access to the best of the Department of Psychology's students at Goldsmiths University of London

We're delighted to be able to announce that we have a new mechanism available for our clients to engage with us, and with the best and brightest students from the Department of Psychology here at Goldsmiths, where we are based.

The new i2 media research - client partnership internship programme will enable clients to specify a limited scope project achievable within a short (2-8 week) timescale.  i2 media will recruit the best suited student(s) from the Department of Psychology's under- and post- graduate student base and supervise their accomplishment of the research brief.

Costs will be kept low, and will include a bursary for the student (calculated on a weekly basis), and supervision time from i2 media research colleagues (based on required supervision and input to the project).

Interested in supporting an internship? Please get in contact!

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Retail Week Report, in association with BT: The Consumer 2014

Jonny wrote Chapter 4 ("What lies beneath: Consumer Psychology") of The Consumer 2014, a Retail Week Report, produced in association with BT, which was launched at this week's BT for Retail Summit: Retail Unplugged (21st and 22nd May 2014).  Details of the panel are below:

BT and Retail Week Consumer 2014 research

Panel hosted by Charlotte Hardie, commercial editor, Retail Week.  Panel includes; Alex Chruszcz, senior director of customer insight, pricing and data, Asda, Jonathan Freeman, Professor of Psychology, University of London and Managing Director, i2 media research ltd & Simon Tucker, Head of insight, Carphone Warehouse

The report is available at the link below (requires registration):

http://mediazone.brighttalk.com/event/Emap/c8cc6e90cc-8417-registration

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What's the Future of Innovation in TV Technology? Read the FITT Taskforce report - online now!

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What's the Future of Innovation in TV Technology? Read the FITT Taskforce report - online now!

Earlier this week at the DTG Summit 2014 (Tuesday 20th May) at Kings Place in London, Ed Vaizey MP launched the FITTT (Future Innovation in TV Technology Taskforce) final report.

i2 media is delighted to have been involved in the Taskforce, in the Data Management Workstream, and in the drafting of the  report itself.  You can download the report here: 

http://www.dtg.org.uk/projects/fitt_report4/FITT_final_report.pdf

If you have any feedback, questions or comments you'd like to direct to i2 media research, please get in touch.

 

 

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Second Screen - Commission Helsinki

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Second Screen - Commission Helsinki

Jonathan Freeman was invited speaker to the first seminar in Finland dedicated to the Second screen.  Commission Helsinki hosted the event, attended by over 80 registered guests.  Here are some pictures from the event and a brief summary of Jonathan's talk:

  • 2nd screen is a new and evolving space

  • Different players are addressing different functions

  • Whole technology system control gives maximum flexibility for innovation, and for monetising innovation

  • Consumers are still human, with human abilities

  • More intuitive interaction will further enhance UX e.g. through intuitive sensor-based technologies (gesture, audio (voice) input/output, BCI)

  • Responsive media systems will support viewer engagement in the future

  • Who will dominate the space? Over to you.

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Emotion when driving (hybrid vs non-hybrid)

Earlier this year i2 media conducted a mixed methods research study with Toyota Motors Europe to investigate drivers' emotional responses to driving in traffic.  The study results have featured in Toyota's new online campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi.  You can see the campaign, and its coverage in various trade media, online via the links below.

http://www.toyota-europe.com/about/news_and_events/editorial/hybrid-experiment.tmex

http://saatchi.com/en-us/news/fall-in-love-with-driving-again/

http://creativity-online.com/work/toyota-the-hybrid-experiment/34959

http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1290735/toyota-achieves-impossible-calming-angry-roman-drivers

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/04/21/toyota-releases-fall-love-driving-again-campaign-promote-hybrid-cars-across-europe

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Talking, talking, talking....

A quick note on three upcoming talks from Professor Jonny Freeman, i2's MD:

'2nd Screen - introduction and trends' at Commission Helsinki (Helsinki, May 8th 2014):
http://www.commissionhelsinki.fi/events/second-screen-abc/

 

Talk on 'Consumer Information Remedies' at ISO COPOLCO Milan (Milan, 14th May 2014):

http://www.cvent.com/events/iso-copolco-2014-plenary-meeting-and-related-events/event-summary-1b0c4ed028e848e5a96d95a96ed9f1f2.aspx?lang=en

 

'Future of retail' on the consumer insight panel at the BT for Retail Summit at Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire (UK, 21st May 2014):
http://www.btexpedite.com/retailsummit14

If you're attending any of these events, Jonny will be pleased to meet up informally.

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Best paper presentation at the 15th International Conference on Presence: Presence 2014 (Vienna)

Congratulations to Dr Louise Fryer, who earlier this year was awarded her PhD for her research in the i2 media lab, and this week won another accolade!

Louise won Best Paper Presentation at Presence 2014 in Vienna this week - as voted by the audience.  Anyone who has seen Louise present won't be surprised at this success.

Well done Louise!

http://presence2014.univie.ac.at/home/ 

Jonny is particularly happy at the news - back in 1999, he organised the 2nd International Workshop on Presence (1999). It is great to see the conference series continuing so strongly, and i2 media and Goldsmiths making an impact there!

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New report out - The Impact of 2nd Screen, for Ofcom

In 2013, i2 media worked with DTG in a consortium project for Ofcom led by Technologia to assess the consumer, technical, commercial, accessibility, regulatory policy, and future aspects of 2nd screen applications and technologies.

2nd screen applications are applications available for hand held devices such as tablets and smart phones, which enable interaction with content viewed on TV.

Ofcom published our report today. It is freely available here:

Assessing the impact of second screen.

For and published by: The Office of Communications (OFCOM)

Authors: Dr Jeremy Klein (Technologia), Prof Jonathan Freeman (i2 media research), Dave Harding (DTG), and Ali Teffahi (DTG)

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/technology-research/2014/Second_Screens_Final_report.pdf

If you have any questions about the report, or would like to discuss our take on how your business can make best use of 2nd screen, please get in touch! 

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We're on Euronews!

As some of you may already know, Jonny is Coordinator of the EC Framework 7 Future and Emerging Technologies funded project CEEDs (Collective Experience of Empathic Data Systems: ceeds-project.eu). 

This week the CEEDs project is featured on Euronews in their Futuris strand. You can watch the video here:

http://www.euronews.com/2014/02/10/beyond-the-subconscious/

And if you have any questions about how i2's expertise in this space can help you address your big data questions, please get in touch!

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The effects of Facebook on Britain - for The Sun!

To mark Facebook's 10th Birthday Jonny was asked by The Sun to write a short article on How Facebook has changed Britain.  You can read the article on thesun.co.uk, or on Goldsmiths' press office website:

http://www.gold.ac.uk/academics/jonathanfreemanexpertcomment.php

Agree? Disagree? Let us know.

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Louise Fryer, PhD (2014), Emily Collins, PhD (2013)

A big congratulations to Louise Fryer who on Friday 17th January 2014 passed her PhD viva with flying colours, receiving a pass with a few minor amendments.

Louise's thesis title was: "Putting it into Words: The Impact of Visual Impairment on Perception, Experience and Presence".

Louise's PhD studies were supervised by Professor Jonny Freeman and 2nd supervised by Prof Linda Pring.

Jonny and Linda are delighted for Louise, and express many thanks to Louise's examiners  (Professor Helen Petrie, University of York and Dr Harry Witchell, Brighton and Sussex Medical School) for reading her thesis, and coming to Goldsmiths to examine it so thoroughly in the viva.

Louise's success comes almost exactly a year after Jonny's last PhD student Emily Collins passed her viva similarly strongly.

Emily's thesis focused on "Problematic and non-problematic video game play: Associations with personality, cognitive performance and social factors."

Emily's PhD studies were supervised by Professor Jonny Freeman and 2nd supervised by  Prof Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and then (once Tomas had departed for pastures new at UCL), Prof Pam Heaton.

Jonny and Pam were delighted for Emily, and also express their thanks to her examiners for taking the time to read her thesis, come to Goldsmiths, run the viva and write their reports: Prof Frank Biocca, Syracuse University, NY, USA and Prof Monica Whitty, University of Leicester.

So, who's going to graduate with their PhD from the i2 media lab next? We'll keep you posted. :)

 

 

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MindSee press release

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MindSee press release

An exciting new research project to look into advancing symbiotic interaction in the area of information seeking has just launched. The MindSee project is a cutting edge collaboration involving experts from leading European universities and research companies.

MindSee will last 36 months and is part funded by the European Commission 7th Framework programme. The project will be developing a novel symbiotic information retrieval system aiming at lowering the workload of researchers to make the information retrieval process more effective. MindSee will capitalize on recent advances on BCI (Brain Computer Interaction) and on peripheral physiology signals (EDR, facial EMG, eye gaze and pupillometry) to unobtrusively detect implicit user responses of which users are not aware.  Combining this approach with machine learning, the MindSee system will aim to better predict user intentions and exploration needs in providing a massive advance in human-machine symbiosis.

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2nd International Workshop on Symbiotic Interaction

The second International Workshop on Symbiotic Interaction (SI) took place  December the 12th in London, hosted by i2 media research at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The workshop's aim, following on the first one last year, was to promote the exchange of scientific experiences in designing symbiotic systems, studying the way in which they affect human behavior and defining the principles for a functional interdependence of humans and machines, making the user an essential, integrated part of the system.

New possibilities are emerging at the confluence between the human and technological realms that can enable new forms of sensing, interaction, and understanding. The workshop made it possible to bring a multidisciplinary team of experts together, creating a community that aims to expand and promote research in SI and incorporate advancements from established areas such as cognitive science, computing, psychology, machine learning and HCI.

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The trends and standout companies at Northern Europe’s biggest startup event

Slush is the leading startup conference in Northern Europe and Russia. Last week nearly 1,200 companies took part to Slush 2013 in Helsinki. The winners were BetterDoctor, a US doctor database with user rankings, and Weekdone, an elegant staff management tool.

At the conference attendees reached consensus over the three key points to succeed in today’s market:

  • treat everything as a service,
  • put the customer at the centre of every business decision,
  • and test early.

In line with i2 media's ideology, the main message from attendees was that it is better to trial what you are doing and pivot or fail than to invest a fortune bringing a fully realised version of the wrong concept to market.

Four key sectors were highlighted as the ripe pickings for the savvy startup over the next few years: Mobile Gaming, Finance, Health Tech and Customer tracking. Examples of some of the most interesting start-ups investing in these sectors are:  Kiosked an ad delivery platform which integrates into images, video and even games; Transferwise, a financial service that allows to skips overseas transaction by paying customers from an account it has in their destination country;Valkee which tackles seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with a controversial bright light headset; Mendor, pushing an all-in-one blood test and insulin delivery tool for diabetics;  IndoorAtlas, which uses the earth’s magnetic field and the digital compasses found in most modern smartphones to accurately track people where there is no GPS or phone signal.

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