MSc thesis topic available

Our team is exploring novel interaction methods based on magnetic fields. Last year, we combined a digital compass and a magnet, and got a magnetic joystick for mobile gaming. Early results were published at a conference and the thesis was successfully defended.

This year, we got more compasses to play with…


Your thesis will explore a new interaction method based on full 3D magnetic tracking, where several digital magnetometers track the position of a wearable magnetic ring and it’s orientation in space. The work will involve experimental evaluation of the method’s performance and limitations. The resulting prototype will then be used for gesture recognition, data visualization, gaming or other use case depending on your background and interests.

Required skills

Basic maths and geometry (familiarity with linear algebra would be beneficial, but not compulsory). Knowledge of Python, or R, or Matlab for data processing/visualization; JavaScript or Python or Unity3D for demo application.

Expected outcomes

  1. an algorithm for 3D localization of a magnet and its orientation (there are a few, but they can be improved)
  2. a working prototype of the 3D controller (minimal hardware skills beneficial but not required)
  3. experimental evaluation of the prototype’s performance and its limits
  4. a workshop or conference publication of the above
  5. a successful thesis defense!
Sounds interesting? Then contact Dr. Andrei Popleteev for further discussion.

Commutastic study starts in June 2015

Enough being stuck in traffic jams? Rather engage in wellness and relaxation activities (drink a coffee, read a book, visit an exhibition, do some sports activities or enjoy a massage) for free!  And reduce your own CO2 footprint!

Participants receive free access to sports (Ellipse, d’Coque ) and culture places (MUDAM, Utopolis) etc.
Please confirm  your participation to Martin Kracheel  at or by phone +352 46 66 44 5235.

Saeed Afshari Successfully Defends MSc Thesis

Saeed Afshari has successfully defended his MSc thesis entitled “Evaluation of Interaction Methods for Mobile Games”.

His supervisors were: Prof. Thomas Engel, Dr. Rod McCall and Dr. Andrei Popleteev . The reviewer was Prof. Ulrich Sorger. The work was conducted within the IGNITE which is part of SECAN-Lab at SnT, University of Luxembourg.

A publication from early work in the thesis appear at NordicCHI 2014 and is available.

Please note the above video also contains some work undertaken outside of the specific MSc thesis.

This thesis compares different interaction methods for three genres of games on current generation buttonless mobile phones. As the mobile technology evolved, smartphone manufacturers removed the tangible physical buttons in favor of larger touchscreens. Since most of the traditional game genres were designed around the tangible directional keys and action buttons scheme, adapting traditional genres to these buttonless devices is a usability concern.

This thesis evaluates the performance and usability of the following interaction methods: Virtual Thumbstick (an on-screen widget with directional buttons), Swipe (which is triggered by dragging a finger on the touchscreen), Tilt (which works by rotating the device), and Magnetic Joystick (a novel interaction method that uses a permanent bar magnet like a joystick).

Moreover, this thesis proposes four methods to recognize the changes made in the magnetic field around the device into game interaction commands. The key properties of magnetic interaction methods are being affordable, wireless and available in various forms and sizes.

Three full-featured games (i.e. Snake, Drones and Raid) were developed specifically for this study, each representing a traditional game genre. After analyzing the data collected from thirty participants, some of the findings of this thesis are: i) Touch-based interaction methods lead to a better gameplay performance in all of the three studied genres, ii) As a novel interaction method, the Magnetic Joystick was well received and rated as highly pleasant and interesting compared to the other methods, iii) Tilt interaction is obstructive and cumbersome to use in games similar to Snake and Drones, and iv) Direct emulation of buttons is the most efficient method in certain genres, despite experts’ advice against providing this interaction method.
Detailed comparisons and rankings between the objective and subjective variables are provided in the third chapter, showing which interaction method performs better in which variables for each genre.

IGNITE@NordiCHI 2014

NordiCHI 2014 Logo

NordiCHI 2014 Logo

Saeed Afshari and Rod McCall will be attending this years NordiCHI Confence in Helsinki.  Saeed will be presenting his work which explores among other things different interaction techniques for mobile games. One technique using magnets..  Saeed is an MSc student and the work forms part of his thesis.

Saeed Afshari, Andrei Popleteev, Rod McCall, Thomas Engel. Magnetic interaction with devices: A pilot study on mobile gaming. Proceedings of NordiCHI–2014, Helsinki, Finland, October 2014.

Other work is in partnership with colleagues at Glasgow Caledonian University who undertook work on soundscapes in autonomous vehicles. The work forms part of David Beattie’s doctoral studies.

Beattie, D., Baillie, L., Halvey, M., and McCall R. Sound Spatialisation as a Means of Auditory Presentation in Autonomous Vehicles. In the Proceedings to NordiCHI-2014, Helsinki, Finland, October 2014. 



Two new projects

The IGNITE team is pleased to annouce that it has received (subject to contract) two new research grants as part of the annual FNR CORE funding programme. First is INDOORS which is a CORE Junior project that was devised by Andrei Popleteev, this will explore indoor navigation techniques. The second project MADSAV is in partnership with the University of Salzburg and explores the challenges faced by drivers in semi-autonomous vehicles.  Both projects are scheduled at start in 2015. More news about both projects will follow in due course.

Attracting grants is proving increasingly challenging across Europe and within Luxembourg with the number of submissions rising, increasing quality and declining funding all conspiring against researchers. IGNITE is therefore delighted to be on the successful end of the spectrum.

Founded in 2012 the IGNITE research collective has attracted around €3m in contracts from the European Commission, FNR and industry. The total value of the projects is in the region of €8.6m. The team has seven funded projects.


Korok Sengupta successfully Defends MSc Thesis

Korok Sengupta has successfully defended his MSc thesis which was on the Comparative Analysis of Real World Driving vs Simulator Driving. The event took place on the 1st of September at the University of Luxembourg Kirchberg Campus.

His supervisors were: Prof. Thomas Engel, Dr. Rod McCall, Dr. Nicolas Louveton and Dr. Raphael Frank. The reviewer was Prof. Ulrich Sorger. The work was conducted within the IGNITE and VehicularLab teams at SnT, University of Luxembourg.

His thesis is available for download.

Images from the Driving Performance Studies conducted at Colmar-Berg. Skoda supplied by Garage M. Losch, Berledange