My major research interest is in the interplay between human behavior, computational assistance, and the environment this interaction occurs in. To put it into simple words, some of my driving questions are:
- How can we exploit what is out there (in the environment) to assist in performing tasks, such as navigating or learning an environment?
- Why are some tasks easy to perform in some situations and hard in another?
- Can we create assistance services that are at the same time both useful and lower the users’ dependence on the service?
I approach these questions through implementing cognitive principles in assistance services. Thus, I follow a Spatial Cognitive Engineering approach.
Spatial cognitive engineering addresses issues of how people perceive, conceptualize and communicate about space and how these findings can be exploited in computational systems to improve assistance in decision making scenarios. In particular, I focus on understanding, representing, and modeling an environment’s structure and complexity; geographic relevance, especially the automatic selection of relevant information and development of relevance measures; and adaptation processes in human-computer interaction. Major scenarios include navigation and spatial communication more generally. A particular interest has been in the role landmarks can play in bridging between human and machine.
My research has two major aims: 1) closing the gap between human and computer in communicating about space; 2) escaping the trap of becoming dependent on the services. This dependency emerges from a degeneration of (cognitive) abilities when using such services (an effect attached to any form of automation).
To pursue these aims, my research is set in the intersection of Artificial Intelligence, Spatial Cognition, and (Geo-)Spatial Information Science. The following page presents some more details on my research.