Yomna Abdelrahman, University of Stuttgart. “Thermal Imaging in HCI”

Position:  PhD Candidate

Current Institution:  University of Stuttgart

Abstract:  Thermal Imaging in HCI

Thermal cameras have recently drawn the attention of HCI researchers as a new sensory system enabling novel interactive systems. They are robust to illumination changes and make it easy to separate objects from the scene background. Far-infrared radiation, however, has another characteristic that distinguishes thermal cameras from their RGB or depth counterparts as it operates in the non-visual spectrum. On the other hand, the visual spectrum, i.e., human visual perception, is limited to only 1 percent of the electromagnetic spectrum. Research has shown that extending visual perception can be beneficial, but it is unclear whether this is useful for a broader range of applications in daily setups by novice users. To investigate the potential of domestication and adoption of thermal imaging, we are conducting a set of explorative studies in different forms including: user/lab studies, interviews, proof-of-concept prototype technology, and cultural probe. Throughout the conducted research, we collected various thermal data in different formats such as videos, photos, and raw temperature representation. Our findings reflected the potential of thermal imaging domestication and the adoption of such a technology by novice users. Additionally, we found that the users were excited about using thermal cameras in their everyday lives and found many practical uses for them. Our studies provide insights into how novice users wish to use thermal imaging technology to augment their vision in daily setups as well as identify and classify common thermal imaging use cases. Our work contributes implications for designing thermal imaging devices targeted towards novice users.

Yomna Abdelrahman is a PhD candidate in the HCILab University of Stuttgart under the supervision of Professor Dr. Albrecht Schmidt. During her PhD studies, she explored thermal imaging to build novel interactive systems. Her work has been published in conference papers and journals such as CHI and IMWUT. Her research was recognized by the community and received a best paper award at MUM2015 and honorable mention at CHI2017. She was awarded the Melbourne School of Engineering Fellows Grant during her Social NUI Microsoft internship. She did her master’s thesis in the hciLab with the work titled “Thermal Imaging for Interactive Systems,” which was published in CHI2014. During her undergraduate studies at the German University in Cairo, she was part of the team of RoboCup 2010, which won first place in the logistics league.