The 2nd IRI Winter School on HCI

The Second IRI Winter School on Human-Computer Interaction
Informatics Research Institute (IRI)

City for Scientific Research and Technological Applications

Borg El-Arab, Alexandria, Egypt
Jan 26, 2014 – Feb 10 ,2014


The winter school on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a condensed two-weeks activity that provides a lightweight HCI research experience to senior undergraduates. Students were selected based on their technical skills and GPA.

The school accepted 31 students, and lasted for two weeks. The curriculum included lectures, selected reading, and team projects. Students were introduced to basic HCI and interaction design concepts such as user experience, human-centered approach in design, and prototyping. Students work in groups to address a challenging research problem. This year, the school explored using gamification, mobile phone interaction, and public space technologies to improve the mundane waiting experience at hospitals and healthcare clinics.

Improving the quality health services is on of the challenges Egypt faces. One of the salient symptoms of the low-quality service is the long waiting time patients have to experience when they seek medical assistance whether the service is provided at free public hospitals or expensive private clinics.

The school projects aimed at improving the experience of the patients and their families during the long waiting time by introducing technologies such as public displays, ambient information systems, and gamification into the waiting space. Using a human-centered design approach, students worked to propose an innovative design for the waiting space at hospitals and healthcare clinics. The new waiting space embraces the following traits:

  • Welcoming as it acknowledges the patients’ presence and start taking care of them immediately.
  • Empathic and sensitive to the patients’ characteristics, and physical status.
  • Engaging to ease the mundane waiting experience.
  • Motivating for the patients to change some of the bad habits that worsens their symptoms.
  • Caring in the sense that it increases the patients’ awareness about their disease and provides patients and their families with advices adequate to their health problems.

Health Mirror: Calm Ambient Technology for Heart Rate, Weight, and Height Measurement in Public Clinics

Students: Amal Bassuony, Dina Saber, Hossam Elnily, Merna Ahmed Rezk, Omar Barakat


How Egyptians feel towards healthcare centers is influenced by many factors. One of these factors is the long waiting time before having an actual service. Shortening the waiting time might be hard to achieve in some places due to the large crowd being served. However, changing other environmental and procedural factors can change significantly the way patients perceive time pass. In [1], Mann proposed that anxiety level is much higher while waiting to be served than it is while being served, due to the fear of ‘being forgotten’. Thus, changing the perception of the waiting time can be achieved by giving the patient an initial impression that her/his presence to be acknowledged, and of being included in the system. The team considered designing a technology to provide a fast immediate service to the patient when entering the waiting room.

In the data gathering phase, many patients refused the idea of trying a new device that was alien to them, as a result the team decided to use a system that is completely embedded in the environment and displays results in a user friendly manner to satisfy the patients’ sense of being welcomed and at the same time will not scare patients off.

The design is based on the principle of calm technology. The system doesn’t require much attention from system users. The “Health Mirror” is a two-way mirror designed to be installed as part of the decoration of the entrance of waiting room. Markers on the floor will guide the patient to stand in front of a mirror. When the patient stands in place the system will measure the patient’s height (using a webcam) and weight (using a scale embedded in the ground). The patient then will be encouraged to play a one-button game for 15 seconds. The heart rate is measured using a sensor planted in the button and is measured while the patient plays the game. Having the three measurements, the system will provide them on the mirror the patient faces, and will suggest the patient the best seat for the patient’s age, mood, and previous visits to the hospital/clinic.

[1] L. Mann, “The social psychology of waiting lines.,” American Scientist, vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 390–8.

Team11-4 Team11-2 Team11-6 Team11-5

MooDy: Interactive Emotion Monitoring for Improving the Mundane Waiting Experience at Pediatric Clinics

Students: Ahmed Korayyem, Mahmoud Gawad, Mohamed Mosaad, Omar Hussein, and Roaa Hashem


Long waiting experience at pediatric clinics is usually a tiresome experience for both children and their parents. The majority of the health facilities in Egypt do not provide a convenient waiting space for children, where they play while waiting. This project helps children spend a less boring time at clinics by using technology to engage them in a funny activity. Inspired by MIT’s Mood meter [2], MooDy is an interactive game that uses computer vision principles to recognize emotions through facial expressions. MooDy displays a live feed for the waiting room on a large display. Children’s faces are replaced by happy or sad smiley faces according to their facial expressions.  If a smile is detected, a meter appears on the smiley face and keeps upgrading while the child smiles. We hypothesize that the meter would encourage children to keep calm and smiling during the waiting time. The longest smile in a game round is rewarded.

[2] J. Hernandez , M. Hoque , W. Drevo , R. Picard, “Mood meter: counting smiles in the wild”, Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, September 05-08, 2012, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Team12-2 Team12-3

X-Stress: A Haptic Device for Stress Monitoring and Reduction at Dental Clinics

Students: Ghada Ibraheem Fahmy, Mostfa Gaber, Omar El-Weely, Reem Nasser Mohammed, Waleed Adel


Waiting in dental clinics is stressful because patients usually hear equipment’s sounds and imagine what would happen when their turn comes. Inspired by MIT’s glove (the Galvactivator) [3], the team proposes a solution for this problem. X-Stress is a device that let the patients know their stress level and perform a palm massage to comfort them.

The device is designed to be embedded in the arm of any chair. It has the shape of a computer mouse with two electrodes are placed at holes in the right and left buttons to measure the skin conductance. There is a stress meter that indicate your stress level and deal with it using vibrator motor that makes soft palm massage.

[3] R. Picard and J. Scheirer, “The galvactivator: A glove that senses and communicates skin conductivity,” Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of Human-Computer Interaction, 2001.

Team13-2 Team13-3

Food Avalanche: Alternating Children’s Diet Habits Using Gamification while Waiting at Pediatric Clinics

Students: Abd El Mohsen Quritum, Khaled Zamzam, Omar Attia, Omar El-Tobgy, and Osama Moharam


Waiting experience in health facilities can be very boring especially for children. The project uses this time to teach children something useful in an interesting way. According to the WHO statistics issued for 2010, Egyptians are the fattest Africans and the 14th fattest country in the world with nearly 70% of its adult population and 15% of (school-age) children overweight or obese.

The team interviewed 26 children from the age 4-12 years old and their parents to define the health knowledge of the children at that age and evaluate their ability to distinguish healthy food they never seen before from visual experience. Based on the survey findings, an interactive game was designed to fight obesity in its infancy in children. The game helps them to adopt healthier diet while waiting in health facilities. The player (The child) is rewarded for choosing the healthier food over the junk food.


Helping Band: A Wearable Device to Reward Helping Behavior During Interaction with Public Information Displays

Students: Ahmed Saeed, Asmaa Shoa’la, Kamal Basuony, Mohamed Ahmad, Mohamed ElKielany


Long waiting time in health facilities is extremely boring. People in the waiting room are of different ages and of different literacy levels. If an interactive public display is installed, it’s unlikely that anyone can use it. Helping Band is a wearable device that aims at encouraging people to interact with public technologies installed in the waiting room. The band rewards those who seek help in dealing with the technology.

[4] M. Kanis, N. Winters, and S. Agamanolis, “Toward Wearable Social Networking with iBand,” CHI’05 Extended Abstracts, pp. 47, 2005.


Quick Guide: Low-Cost Guided Navigation Technique for Indoors Emergency Situations Using RFID’s and Pathfinding Algorithms

Students: Ahmed Saeed, Asmaa Shoa’la, Kamal Basuony, Mohamed Ahmad, Mohamed ElKielany

Patients in their rooms may need emergent help based on their physical state. A sudden low heart rate or glucose level, for instance. Due to the insufficient number of doctors and nurses in public hospitals, help may be delayed or arrive too late.

Quick Guide is a low-cost guided navigation system that sends a help request from the patient with a single button press; the request is displayed on information displays in the hospital. Anyone can respond with a help of a handheld navigation device. The navigation device reads RFID tags installed in every junction point at the hospital. The right direction will be displayed on the navigation device. The path is determined using an algorithm that detects all possible routes between the requester and the responder and determines the shortest path as well.

Team22-3 Team22-5 Team22-4

Sensorama: Calm Ambient Technology to Alleviate Patients’ Anxiety in Chemotherapy Rooms

Students: Aly Tarek Mohamed, Hisham Raslan, Jihad Ismail Ibrahim, Khaled Elaish, Mohamed Galal, Mohamed khedr


The team assignment was to design and implement an ambient visualization of the waiting room, a complete picture of how a waiting room should be. When thinking about waiting areas, all that comes to mind is a boring experience of waiting for your turn or expecting to hear bad news from your doctor; and as young researchers, the team’s goal was to decrease perception of this waiting time using the concept of calm technology and making use of ambient information systems.

The team decided to tackle a much more crucial issue in the waiting experience; the painful waiting.

Cancer patients treated with chemotherapy, have sessions as frequently as once a week, with a waiting time of 30 Minutes to 48 Hours. This time does not pass easily, as it’s not just waiting around, you have to sit in a chair taking your dose for that amount of time, and it’s a discomforting and somewhat painful process.

We gathered and analyzed interview data about chemotherapy rooms and based on our analysis we proposed an ambient system that consists of several calm integrated technologies that work as a unit to alleviate patients’ pain.


During the visit of Prof. Ramzy Astino, Minister of Scientific Research.



Open House Photos

FinalDemo-1Demo is Over 🙂


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