Spring semester 2021

Dark-mode or night-mode in real settings

It is known that screen luminance settings affect health and productivity. However, screens are being used in specific environments that can consist in differing lighting conditions, such as daylight or artificial light, or have changing illuminance levels. The topic will focus on how screen interface settings come in interplay with environmental lighting conditions to affect comfort, productivity and health.


Benedetto et al (2014). Effects of luminance and illuminance on visual fatigue and arousal during digital reading. Computers in Human Behavior, 41, 112–119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.09.023

Cajochen et al (2011). Evening exposure to a light-emitting diodes (LED)-backlit computer screen affects circadian physiology and cognitive performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 110(5), 1432–1438. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00165.2011

Pedersen et al (2020). User Interfaces in Dark Mode During Daytime – Improved Productivity or Just Cool-Looking? In Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (Vol. 12188, pp. 178–187). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-49282-3_13

Reference person :

  • Dr Julien Nembrini
  • Michael Papinutto

Dark & Night Modes: In Combination with Light Environment - Karim Aebischer

full paper

The impact of digital displays on visual fatigue and on our sleep through short wavelength have been demonstrated in many studies. Moreover, in recent years, the screen time per individual has been increasing. In order to avoid sleep disturbance and visual fatigue, Big Tech companies have popularized solutions called "Dark Mode" and "Night Mode". Through this small systematic review of the literature, we aim to find out whether the claimed beneficial effects of these two modes are actually supported by research studies. The main relevant papers were extracted and synthesized to find the actual parameters involved in achieving the benefits from the two modes. However, the lack of appropriate research material from the point of view of Human Computer Interaction is rapidly becoming a limitation. In addition, a new controlled experiment has been described to show the way forward for further research studies in this topic. Inspired by the selected papers, this new experiment attempts to address the interaction of two modes in low light environment.

The Dark Mode: Psychological Impacts and Influences on Productivity - Dimitri Gurtner

full paper

This article is a literature review of the psychological and productivity impacts of dark mode interfaces. The dark mode consists of presenting light-colored text on a dark screen. We have chosen to focus on the effects of the dark mode on perception and productivity and have selected articles accordingly. The articles we considered suggest a potential impact on productivity when the dark mode is used in a low-light environment but no impact on productivity in daylight. Moreover, the black color associated with the dark mode might influence our perception. Notably, we might interpret messages more negatively when using the dark mode. More work needs to be undertaken in this area, as tiny differences in our perception can significantly impact our daily lives, and how we make crucial decisions. Therefore, we have proposed an experiment to determine the impact of the dark mode on our perception in the specific context of fiction reading, which is intrinsically subject to emotions.

Space usage tracking methods for Human-Building interaction

The analysis of space usage is of particular interest for new office typologies such as co-working or hot-desking offices. In these contexts, workplace is dynamically chosen or assigned, displaying differing patterns of space usage depending on qualities such as access to daylight, noise, wifi or electricity plugs availability, etc. The topic focuses on mapping the different methods applied in research to acquire space occupancy and their respective advantages and drawbacks.


Alavi, H. S., Verma, H., Mlynar, J., & Lalanne, D. (2018). The Hide and Seek of Workspace: Towards Human-Centric Sustainable Architecture. Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3173649

Chen, Z., Jiang, C., & Xie, L. (2018). Building occupancy estimation and detection: A review. Energy and Buildings, 169, 260–270. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.03.084

Oppermann, M., & Munzner, T. (2020). Ocupado: Visualizing Location‐Based Counts Over Time Across Buildings. Computer Graphics Forum, 39(3), 127–138. https://doi.org/10.1111/cgf.13968

Reference person:

  • Julien Nembrini

Human tracking: Behaviour modification based on the awareness of being observed - Jazmin Fernandez

full paper

Human tracking inside a closed-space can be done following different methods. From body-centric devices to wireless sensors, there is a wide offer of alternatives to understand how individuals interact with their environment. But technology is not enough, there is also a human factor behind those methodologies that has an impact on the results and need to be considered. This article analyses how the acknowledgement of being observed could modify the behaviour of humans under observation inside a commercial building, while they are carrying out work activities. This work proposes an experiment to identify the influence that different methods could have on people under observation and how these variables could modify the observation results. An integral solution is proposed, where concepts as privacy and data security are considered, reducing the inference that some devices could have on humans.

Occupancy tracking: Can the right kind of people increase space usage? - Zanfina Gashi Sadriu

full paper

The use of occupancy tracking methods to reduce energy consumption has been at the forefront of many occupancy tracking solutions in buildings. But, a gap has been seen in the Human-Building Interaction. Can the same methods be used to detect interactions and other human-related activities? In this paper, an experiment has been proposed to evaluate if the presence of Multitasking Knowledge Workers in the Collaboration Room will increase the usage of this collaboration space and if Bluetooth Low Energy is the appropriate tracking method for people counting in the Collaboration Room and for detecting interactions between participants and Multitasking Knowledge Workers. A concise number of tracking methods and possible purposes of occupancy tracking have been reviewed before choosing Bluetooth Low Energy as the method to be used in the proposed experiment.

Visual fatigue management during teleconferencing

The coronavirus pandemic led an unprecedented number of people to work from home which also caused to an increasing number of online meetings. Several surveys in Switzerland and around globe has shown that the home-office option will persist after the pandemic. In an ongoing survey we conducted with 40 participants (so far), 92.5% of the participants reflected that teleconferencing can make their eyes  slightly to extremely tired. Among which, 27.5% of the participants reflected the condition is worse than when they do individual work on screen. While it has been advised to follow the 20-20-20 rule to limit eye constrain from computer use, in reality this is hardly achived (our survey indicated that 65.85% of the participants only take a break after more than 60 minutes computer usage). Sensing technologies which could capture human visual fatigue could assist user to manage their visual comfort. The motivation of this review is to understand the acceptabable and effective ways to notify users during (long/consecutive) teleconference and discover measures to predict eye fatigue condition.



Pfleging, Bastian, et al. "A model relating pupil diameter to mental workload and lighting conditions." Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems. 2016.

Hirzle, Teresa, et al. "A Survey of Digital Eye Strainin Gaze-Based Interactive Systems." ACM Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications. 2020.

Reference persons :

  • Dr. Hamed S. Alavi
  • Sailin Zhong

Videoconferencing Visual Fatigue - Mounir Khouja

full paper

The videoconferencing technologies has brought to office workers huge possibilities for collaboration. This has been confirmed during crisis times such as COVID-19. However, visual fatigue and discomfort are very common consequences of excessive usage of such technologies. The aim of our article is to study videoconferencing related visual fatigue in order to find healthy habits to persevere intellectual, psychological and biological capacities of the users. In this paper we report insights from our literature review of articles of different domains and disciplines. We explore various concepts and techniques with the goal of supporting users’ health and productivity in using video-conferencing technologies. This article addresses those issues and proposes a design model for assessing and reducing visual fatigue caused by videoconferencing usage.

See-through smart glasses for visually impaired individuals

With the latest technological advancement, see-through smartglasses devices have the potential to improve the daily life of millions of visually impaired individuals. Smartglasses devices can notably support visually impaired individuals for mobility, social interactions and reading. As a new domain of research, many questions remain open in terms of optimal functionalities, human-computer interaction design and potential of feedback modalities. We want to investigate the different types of feedbacks that have been used in literature.


M. Hu, Y. Chen, G. Zhai, Z. Gao, and L. Fan, “AN OVERVIEW OF ASSISTIVE DEVICES FOR BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE,” Int. J. Robot. Autom., vol. 34, no. 5, 2019.

S. Azenkot and Y. Zhao, “DESIGNING SMARTGLASSES APPLICATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH LOW VISION,”, ACM SIGACCESS Accessibility and Computing. Issue 119, Nov. 2017.

Reference persons :

  • Dr. Simon Ruffieux

Real-time hazard detection using smart glasses for visually impaired individuals - Stefan Stojkovski

full paper

This article presents an explorative study with an overview of existing papers in the area of AR smart glasses with object detection that help visually impaired individuals. We propose a novel hybrid audio and video AR smart glasses application, with priority object detection, to help people with peripheral vision loss not to get harmed while navigating in space. The priority on the object is determined based on the situation with the potential to harm the visually impaired individual. The solution is using a lightweight powerful architecture based on ResNet-50 with a dynamic data reconciliation filter (DDR). The proposed solution is tested in a laboratory experiment with 20 visually impaired individuals. The experiment contains an initial problem-determined survey, an intersection-like testing laboratory environment where users can test to pass an intersection, and a result evaluation.

Automatic handling of office lighting

The biggest source of energy consumption in modern office environments is lighting. Lighting automation in office spaces has been proven over the years to be an effective way of reducing energy consumption considerably. However, most existing lighting automation techniques do not allow for personalisation and are cumbersome for office workers. The important advantages in terms of energy consumption reduction are thus often counterbalanced by user discomfort, leading to consequent development of techniques to bypass lighting automation. Viable, customisable and human-centred lighting automation strategies are thus researched in order to provide at the same time energy efficient and productive office environment.


Christel de Bakker, Myriam Aries, Helianthe Kort, Alexander Rosemann. Occupancy-based lighting control in open-plan office spaces: A state-of-the-art review, Building and Environment, Volume 112, 2017, Pages 308-321, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2016.11.042.

H. Burak Gunay, William O'Brien, Ian Beausoleil-Morrison & Brent Huchuk (2014) On adaptive occupant-learning window blind and lighting controls, Building Research & Information, 42:6, 739-756, DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2014.895248

Reference person :

  • Moreno Colombo
  • Dr Julien Nembrini

Automatic lightning in the SCOTT headquarter - Valeria Schmidt

full paper

In this paper we look at ways to implement automatic lightning with the goal of reducing energy consumption without lessening user comfort. We first look at different implemented methods and the procedures to test their efficiency, concentrating on both aspects, energy consumption and user comfort. In a second time we analyze the automatic lighting system in the new SCOTT headquarter Building in Givisiez. Finally we present a test method for the building focusing on three aspects :m visual lighting parameter measurements, energy savings and user satisfaction.