Use of computers and media is in constant change. For the time being, we observe more and more use of mobile computer systems. Users at least in the industrialized world have often access to more than one computer system. Data is stored in the cloud. At the same time, users expect a safe and secure as well as ubiquitous and constant access while respecting their privacy.

We can also see that the state of technology allows ambient and ubiquitous computer systems to migrate from research labs to everyday life. Innovative forms of interaction, from tangibles to 3D-gestures to disappearing and behavioral interfaces pose new challenges and opportunities to the development of computerized systems.

Our goal is to research and shape such innovative computer systems. Our main assumption is that, for the foreseeable future, we will be dealing with a mixture of ambient, contextualized and more traditional systems. In this context, we want to strengthen the view that the human users with their knowledge, abilities, preferences, dislikes and emotion stays at the center.

Our ambition is to make the whole socio-technical system, consisting of technical artifacts and humans, work better. Here, "better" can mean that problems between human and machine are minimized, that the performance is optimized, or just that using computers is more fun.

Research Topics in Media Informatics

We are interested in contextualized (context-aware or context-sensitive) systems. These are systems that perceive context parameters, distinguish between different contexts and adjust their behavior accordingly. Contextualized systems adapt to the situation the user is in.

We work on ambient intelligent systems. These are systems that are embedded in the environment or even disappear. They can recognize the environment, the human users in the environment and their activities, classify different situations into contexts and influence the environment accordingly.

We research explainable systems. Such systems can make their inner working and reasoning transparent to the user or justify their actions, thereby increasing trust in computational systems. In this context, we have a general interest in understanding ethical design principles and promoting responsible use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

We investigate user- and event-centred learning and teaching technologies that help students develop academic literacy. We make use of natural language understanding and multi-modal interaction to support learners and teachers in their everyday tasks. 

We look at mobile systems and how they are used in different settings in work and everyday life. We work on situation- and location-centric integration of different mobile and stationary, public or private computers.

We research and develop cooperation platforms that support the multimodal communication of participants and whose user interfaces support human work processes unobtrusively.


Research does not usually happen quietly and alone, but in teams where different members contribute with their own competences and ideas. A transdisciplinary work practice helps to think outside the box and transgress the borders of one's own discipline.

A short and incomplete list of partners with whom we have recently or are currently working in this sense:

  • With Prof. Dr. Michael Herczeg (University of Lübeck) and his team, we work on user-centered development of ambient and mobile interactive systems.
  • With Prof. Dr. Martin Christof Kindsmüller (University of Applied Sciences Brandenburg), we have an ongoing cooperation on personal knowledge management and mobile systems.
  • With Adjunct Associate Professor Dr. Anders Kofod-Petersen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway and Alexandra Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark), we research methods for the development of contextualized and ambient intelligent systems.
  • With Dr. Rebekah Wegener (University of Salzburg, Austria und Audaxi Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia), we look at the semiotics of contextualized and ambient systems as well as personalized learning management solutions.