Various enterprises and personal interests, such as Man-Machine Interaction (MMI), gesture studies, signs, language, social robotics, healthcare, innovation, music, publications, etc.

Month: October 2009

A ‘young doctor’ was born

Well, it’s official.
I have shed my fur and emerged with a newfound dignity.
My PhD days have come to an end last monday.
You are reading a weblog by dr. ir. Arendsen.

I suddenly don’t know what to blog anymore…

Ah yes, some pictures of the day are here and you can also listen to an audio recording of the layman´s talk and the defense itself.

DWDD about our ‘computer die kinderen helpt gebaren te leren’

So, how did ‘De Wereld Draait Door’, a big Dutch TV news show, interpret our press release?
Watch it at roughly a minute into the clip…

Press release and media attention for PhD defenses

The TU Delft sent out a press release about my PhD work and PhD defense next monday and that of Jeroen Lichtenauer, who is defending this afternoon, 15:00u Aula TU Delft. And Gineke ten Holt is the third promovenda who is still working on the project (having started later).

TU Delft nieuwsbericht: Computer helpt dove kinderen met leren gebarentaal
The english press release: Computer helps deaf children learn sign language
In het kort op de TU Delft EWI website

Search google for Dutch news: here
Search google for English news: here
Search google for German news: here

Nederlands nieuws
TU Delta (goed achtergrondverhaal)
Onderwijs Nieuwsdienst
De Telegraaf
De Wereld Draait Door
Kennisnet / Speciaal onderwijs
Omroep West – Westonline (telefonisch interview)
Blik op het nieuws
Delft Nieuws
Gevoelloos (met vergelijk spraakherkenning)

Engelstalig nieuws
Science daily
eScience News

German / Deutsch
Pressetext (good story, email contact, revisions)
Innovations report

Galton on fidgets and boredom

Gaël sent an interesting reference:

Hi Jeroen, Have you heard of Galton’s measurement of boredom with fidgets?
“Many mental processes admit of being roughly measured. For instance, the degree to which people are bored, by counting the number of their fidgets. I not infrequently tried this method at the meetings of the Royal Geographical Society, for even there dull memoirs are occasionally read. […] The use of a watch attracts attention, so I reckon time by the number of my breathings, of which there are 15 in a minute. They are not counted mentally, but are punctuated by pressing with 15 fingers successively. The counting is reserved for the fidgets. These observations should be confined to persons of middle age. Children are rarely still, while elderly philosophers will sometimes remain rigid for minutes altogether.”
The text apparently comes from his “memories of life” but many references to it can be found on the web and on Google Books. Kind regards, Gaël

Here is the fragment quoted in the book ‘Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind’ by Patricia Meyer Spacks.

Apparently, I was not the first to use the word ‘fidgets’ in a scientific context. How sad and how wonderful. I think I should read a bit more about Francis Galton. Hmm, first impressions: what a giant of a man… As far as interest in fidgeting goes, I seem to be in good company 🙂

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