Face of Tatiana Smirnova

Tatiana Smirnova

Master Thesis Student

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Current job: Project Engineer at Brainlab AG

Brainlab https://www.brainlab.com/en/ provides software solutions for image guided surgery and radiation therapy. I currently work in a QA Team and we are working closely with the Risk Management team and Usability team to test our products. Experience from working at the i10 chair helps me to find weaknesses in the software GUI and its performance on different platforms. Also having worked with the Vicon system I am more familiar with tracking based on the infrared cameras, which is used in the image guided surgery solutions by Brainlab.



Master Thesis: Grippo: Using Grip Gestures to Repurpose Everyday Objects as Controllers

In cases when a dedicated object is missing, a similar object could be appropriated to temporary substitute it. For instance, a knife could be used to open an envelope in the absence of a special letter opener. We applied this principle of repurposing an object to the domain of digital interfaces and saw that everyday objects could be used to temporary substitute a dedicated controlling device, such as a remote control or a light switch. Since everyday objects have similar physical properties as dedicated controllers (e.g., buttons, knobs), they provide haptic feedback, therefore supporting eyes-free interaction. Everyday objects are already integrated in the user’s environment and are easily accessible. Typical controlling devices provide multiple functions, for instance, a TV remote control allows to adjust volume, switch between channels, program favorite channels, etc., therefore in this thesis we present a way of assigning multiple controllers to one object by using different grip gestures in analogy to traditional multifunctional controlling devices. So far, conducted research has not evaluated end-user strategies of communicating the desired system’s behavior and programming objects as controllers using grip gestures. Thus, the aim of this work is to conduct user studies and investigate these strategies. In particular, the thesis focuses on Programming by Demonstration (PBD). PBD is inspired by research in robotics, where a user can teach a system certain behavior by demonstrating it. Moreover, PBD can help novice users and users without programming knowledge to communicate their intentions. In order to collect the data, prototype systems representing PBD and GUI-based end-user programming strategies will be implemented; afterwards qualitative studies evaluating user’s perception and feedback will be conducted. This work ought to provide clearer understanding of user preferences in the domain, and the results may serve as recommendations for designing interactive systems using PBD for repurposing everyday objects as controllers.


Supervisor - Christian Corsten.



  • Tatiana Smirnova. Grippo: Using Grip Gestures to Repurpose Everyday Objects as Controllers. Master's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, February 2015.
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