Face of Sören Busch

Sören Busch

Diploma Thesis Student

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My supervisor is Jonathan Diehl.

Nomadic Interfaces in UbiComp

While the different device classes needed to realize the idea of Ubiquitous Computing are readily available at this very moment, the integration of different devices is still severely lacking and cross-device interaction is often still limited to file transfers. Modern research does not provide us with an open system to transfer an application from on device to another.

We propose the concept of "Nomadic Applications" in which an application is no longer tied to a specific system but free to move around between devices using interactions we call "Nomadic Operations". These operations allow users to copy applications to other devices, transferring their whole state with them.

In this thesis the concept of Nomadic Applications is applied to the scenario of personal workspaces. A software system consisting of applications for three different UbiComp device classes was developed using the process of iterative user-centered design. Common practices in today’s workspaces have been identified through literature research. The resulting idea is a software system that combines the concept of Nomadic Applications with large displays to provide users with digital white-boards, from and to which they can freely migrate applications.

After establishing a set of design requirements, a paper prototype was used as a design starting point. It was evaluated in a user study and with these results a software prototype was created. The software system consists of three applications: “NomadicDesktop” that enhances Mac OS X applications with Nomadic Operations, “NomadicBoard” that provides an interface to use Nomadic Applications on a large touch-display, and “NomadicPasteboard” that stores applications on a mobile device. The design and implementation of this system, using the underlying “NomadicApps Framework” will be demonstrated in this thesis.

The resulting software system was evaluated in a two-week qualitative study. The study showed successfully, how the combination of these applications can support different tasks, as the board was used both, as a context and reminder display and as a tool to transition between personal and collaborative work.



  • Sören Busch. Nomadic Interfaces in UbiComp. Diploma Thesis, RWTH Aachen University,August 2011.
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