Role Assignment Via Physical Mobile Interaction Techniques in Mobile Multi-user Applications for Children

  • Karin Leichtenstern
  • Elisabeth André
  • Thurid Vogt
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4794)


The development of engaging user interfaces that support collaboration is a great challenge – in particular if users are children. We consider mobile phones as appropriate devices for multi-user interactions with a system because novel forms of physical mobile interaction techniques with smart objects yield lots of benefits, such as being intuitive and playful to use, but also addressing children’s needs for curiosity. In this paper, we introduce our approach to multi-user game-like scenarios within an ambient intelligence context which are controlled via different mobile phones and their supported interaction techniques. By providing children with multiple mobile phones we structure interactions in multi-user settings and prevent undesirable situations, such as dominant users or off-topic actions. Children get access to various physical mobile interaction techniques for interactions with smart objects which are all required to fulfill one common goal. In this way, social interaction arises in a natural manner. In order to motivate and evaluate our approach, we developed two ambient intelligence applications called The World Explorer and The Escape. Results of a user study showed that children liked working in a group and that physical mobile interaction techniques are a promising approach to increase engagement and foster social interactions but also to prevent chaotic situations by balancing the distribution of activities in multi-user settings.


Physical mobile interaction novel mobile user interfaces social interaction and collaboration multi-user application mobile application evaluation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karin Leichtenstern
    • 1
  • Elisabeth André
    • 1
  • Thurid Vogt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Computer Science, Multimedia Concepts and Applications, Eichleitnerstr. 30, D-86135 Augsburg 

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