Insights into the world of media informatics

January 25, 2024

Media informatics technology is embedded in all kinds of everyday products, from smartphones and cars to kitchen appliances and services such as Netflix and TikTok. Once a year, Open Lab Day gives anyone who is interested a chance to ‘peek under the hood’ of this fascinating discipline. “We give visitors a better understanding of the interactive, digital world of media informatics and arouse their curiosity about future developments,” explains Jesse Grootjen, research associate at the Media Informatics Group and a member of the team organizing the event. “There is obviously also the chance to talk to the people behind these projects,” Grootjen adds. Encouraged by the tremendous response from visitors, the Open Lab Day has been going strong for more than 15 years.

Media informatics technology is embedded in all kinds of everyday products, from smartphones and cars to kitchen appliances and services such as Netflix and TikTok. Once a year, Open Lab Day gives anyone who is interested a chance to ‘peek under the hood’ of this fascinating discipline. “We give visitors a better understanding of the interactive, digital world of media informatics and arouse their curiosity about future developments,” explains Jesse Grootjen, research associate at the Media Informatics Group and a member of the team organizing the event.

One of the projects presented at Open Lab Day 2024 is an active voice assistant, initiated by AI, which is able to actively address and understand people.

This year, the venue at Munich’s Frauenlobstraße 7a will once again showcase exciting prototypes that visitors can try out for themselves. New interactive systems will be on display, and there will be new user experiences too. “There is obviously also the chance to talk to the people behind these projects,” Grootjen adds.

The projects on show span a variety of interaction concepts developed by doctoral researchers and undergraduates. This year, the spectrum covers everything from virtual reality experiences, mixed reality, robotics, haptics, interactive gaming, generative artificial intelligence (AI) and interactive machine learning to human-centric AI, to name but a few of the subjects addressed. And Grootjen’s personal highlight? “Everything is a highlight,” he laughs.

Encouraged by the tremendous response from visitors, the Open Lab Day has been going strong for more than 15 years. Besides providing an insight into research and term projects in the media informatics and human-computer interaction courses, another objective was to get students, potential students and professionals in this field talking to each other – to get schoolchildren excited about these courses and put future graduates in touch with potential employers. Companies such as BMW, Google, Siemens and Airbus will be among those present at this year’s event.

Ines Trautmannsheimer can’t wait to present her master’s thesis. “This is a tremendous opportunity to share my work on mixed reality and the effect on cognitive resources with a keen audience,” the 25-year-old says. In staging this event, she adds, LMU provides a great way for her to engage in face-to-face dialogue with other students, lecturers and the general public. “I hope the visitors enjoy it as much as I do, and I am looking forward to seeing how they react.”

Guests from industry and the research community will be there, of course. But the students always take this opportunity to also invite family and friends and give them a live demonstration of what they actually spend their time doing. “Every year, we also see people coming back to the university they themselves attended to see what today’s students are preoccupied with,” Grootjen notes.

From 6:00 till 9:30 p.m., visitors can look around the exhibition for themselves. To give them a clearer overview, a site plan detailing all the projects on display will be available at the entrance to the laboratory. They then get the chance to see exhibits from current research, try things out for themselves and talk to the inventors. “It is a very open setting,” Grootjen stresses, “leaving plenty of room for discussions and questions. It’s a lot of fun!”

One of the projects presented at Open Lab Day 2024 is AMELIE. It helps understanding the inner learning processes of machines with the help of object recognition. The video, which was made during an exhibition at the Deutsches Museum, explains the exhibit.

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1:42 | 24 Jan 2024