Blog Archive: 2010

A User’s Special Touch


Yesterday Volker Roth came back for a visit and to give us a preview of the talk he will give next week at UIST 2010 on his work with Philipp Schmidt and Benjamin Güldenring on The IR Ring: Authenticating users’ touches on a multi-touch display. The work supports multiple users interacting with the same screen at the same time with different access and control permissions. For example, you may want to show me a document on a multi-touch display, but that does not mean you want me to be able to delete that document. Similarly, I may want to show you a particular e-mail I received, without giving you the ability to access my other e-mail messages, or to send one in my name. Roth et al. implemented hardware and software add-ons for a multi-touch display that restrict certain actions to the user wearing the IR ring emitting the appropriate signal. Users wearing different rings have different access and control privileges. In this way, only you can delete your document, and only I can access my other e-mail messages.

Roth and his coauthors frame their work as preventing “pranksters and miscreants” from carrying out “their schemes of fraud and malice.” To me, the work is most compelling as a means to avoid mistakes and to frustrate human curiosity. Continue Reading

Securing the identity of a past FXPAL researcher

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Volker Roth left FXPAL last year to become a professor at Freie Universität Berlin. There he leads the Secure Identity Research Group, which takes a user centered approach to addressing security and privacy issues related to mobile devices, cloud computing, and the internet.

He and his group have gotten press recently due to a well-publicized celebration of the opening of their new building. There are some great photos of Volker at this opening on the  Bundesdruckerei web site (Bundesdruckerei endowed the position Volker filled and provides other support for the group).  On the same site is a picture of Volker hobnobbing with Horst Köhler, the president of Germany, and his wife! It is great to see Volker thriving.