Face of Can Liu

Can Liu

Master Thesis Student

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I was a student assistant in this group for 8 months in 2011. Then I finished my Master thesis project at the in|situ| lab in INRIA, France. The thesis was co-supervised by Prof. Stéphane Huot at in|situ| and Jonathan Diehl and Prof. Jan Borchers in this group. Here is my complete CV. CV_CanLiu.pdf

Master Thesis: Exploring Mobile Augmented Reality Instructions to Assist Operating Physical Interfaces

The goal of this project was to explore how Mobile Augmented Reality (Mobile AR) techniques could support operating physical devices in our daily lives. We proposed the concept of providing personalizable AR instructions. Users should be able to record their settings of a physical appliance, such as a keypad, washing machine or remote control etc., and view them as in-place guidance through an AR overlay on a mobile phone. We designed and prototyped the interaction of example applications. This concept suggests a way for AR to go out of professional domains such as maintenance and assembly and help people in non-expert operation tasks. It was discussed in Mobile Augmented Reality Workshop in Mobile HCI 2011.

Mobile phones raise new challenges for the usability of AR in assisting operations: small screen, occlusion, operation "through a lens". We address these problems by adding real-time feedback to the AR overlay. A controlled experiment was conducted to compare AR with and without feedback, and with text and pictures as baseline. The result show significant benefits for mobile AR with feedback, and the observations reveal some problems with the conventional AR technique. This output will appear as a note in proceedings of CHI 2012.



HCI work:

Previously as a student assistant in this group, I had worked with Gero Herkenrath, Chat Wacharamanotham and Jonathan Diehl in this group from April to December 2010.

Tangible Windows
is a Ubicomp Environment System which allows users to seamlessly transfer information among devices via a set of simple operations. The goal of the project is to explore the design space of a home or office environment, which is enriched with portable computerized windows of multiple sizes placed anywhere you want. We built a web-based prototype enabling inter-window interaction between different tablets. We designed and evaluated several window operations, e.g., copy and paste, and suggested a set of corresponding gestures.

User Test Conductor, Gesture Designer - 1.5 months, 40h/w in 2010

I designed the set of gestures and participated in the definition of the inter-window operations.
I conducted two user studies: an exploratory study with 10 users to investigate the design of gestures and operations, and an experimental evaluation of our prototype with 12 users.

is a mobile audio guide application for tourist in the town hall of Aachen city. It recognizes which room the user is in, and provides the corresponding multimedia contents. (more info)

Software developer of Indoor + Outdoor Location Tracking, UI Designer - 8 months, 15h/w in 2010

I developed a Wifi signal visualization program to visualize real-time signals and compare them with recorded data.

I improved the Wifi and GPS Tracking program for collecting Wifi and GPS data to train the SVM model.

I participated in some early work of the next generation city-wide guide application. I did two user interviews for understanding users and initiated a questionnaire for a user study.

is a prototype of a portable assistant for Diabetes patients. It consists of two parts: a “watch” worn on the arm for detecting health status and insulin injection, and a tablet for remote monitoring.

Final project of “Design Interactive System” course in Media Computing Group. As a team of 4, we went through the design-implementation-analysis cycle in three iterations, conducted user interviews, user tests for evaluation, paper prototypes, and ended with a high-fidelity prototype implemented with Flash.
Find the log of our design process here, including persona, scenarios, paper prototype and final prototype.



  • "Post-Desktop User interfaces" at the Media Computing Group

Wrote a research report on the state-of-art of the area Height Display, in which “height” is used as a dimension to convey information. It refers to physical computing, tangible interface and haptic display.

  • Tom Igoe's visiting week about Physical Computing and Sustainable Technology

Built electronic fun toys in the Arduino seminar, attended his talks.

Software development (2009-2010)

is the mobile client of Virtual Campfire, which is a framework to create, search and share multimedia artifacts with context awareness cross communities. On the proposed platform, users create and share “stories”, which consist of videos and photos with semantic tags. (more info)

iPhone programmer - 6 months, 12h/w in 2009-2010, student assistant at Informatik 5 in RWTH Aachen University.

I programmed on the iPhone client and submitted it in Apple store in the end.
is a location-based social network application on iPhone. Users use it to find othercommunicate with people in a configurable area close to themselves. They can publish their current status and profile, and contact other users directly via the application.
(more info)

Final project of “iPhone Programming” course at the Media Computing Group, including conceptual and interface design, implementation and final presentation in a team of 4.
iBSCW Calendar
is a collaborative calendar on iPhone, based on BSCW (Be Smart Cooperate Worldwide) work space. It was built to facilitate group communication such as meeting invitation and information sharing.

Lab work in Fraunhofer FIT, Sankt Augustin, including conceptual and interface design, implementation and final presentation in a team of 4.


More practice:

  • AJAX Application as an Interface for Wikipedia

Final project of course “Basis Technologies for Web 2.0 Applications” in Bonn-Aachen International Center for IT. As a team of 4, we built an AJAX application which presents an interface to access Wikipedia, using Java, JavaScript, and the Dojo toolkit.

  • Mobile Services

Lab work in Fraunhofer IAIS, Sankt Augustin. As a team of 2, we developed a file-sharing program and a multi-player game on Nokia E90, which transfers data via Bluetooth. It was implemented on Python S60.

What I love:

  • Discovering the EXPRESSIVENESS in every day life.
  • Singing! Once in regional of the National Campus Singer Competition in China.
  • Cooking, a fascinating game..



  • Prof. Jan Borchers, head of Media Computing Group, my advisor of Master thesis and former employer of student assistant work.
  • Prof. Stéphane Huot, associate professor at in|situ| lab, my advisor of Master thesis.



  • Can Liu, Stéphane Huot, Jonathan Diehl, Wendy E. Mackay and Michel Beaudouin-Lafon. Evaluating the Benefits of Real-time Feedback in Mobile Augmented Reality with Hand-held Devices.  In CHI '12: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pages 2973–2976, ACM Press, Austin, TX, USA, May 2012.
    MoviePDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • Can Liu. Exploring Mobile Augmented Reality Instructions to Assist Operating Physical Interfaces. Diploma Thesis, RWTH Aachen University,January 2012.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • 2011

  • Can Liu, Jonathan Diehl, Stéphane Huot and Jan Borchers. Mobile Augmented Note-taking to Support Operating Physical Devices.  In Mobile HCI 2011 Workshop on Mobile Augmented Reality, Workshop Paper, September 2011.
    HomepagePDF DocumentBibTeX Entry

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