Research

Pearls of Wisdom (POW)

This project researches on the different types of motivation according to Self Determination Theory and their effect on physical activity. POW puts in place a technological intervention that help us understand how people react to economic incentives or motivational messages when they are ask to attain a goal of 10K steps a day. This project initiated in June and is still ongoing, we expect to publish results on fall of 2018.

Personality and social characteristics of non-technology users during life changing events

In our life we live specific moments which are important and lead to changes. We name them “major life changing events” (e.g. death of a close relative, expecting a baby, changing residence, starting a new job). During these periods, we need support which may be found nowadays in new technologies, Internet and interactive services (e.g mobile app, online service, forum, blog, …). However, a segment of the population prefer to avoid these means of support.

The aim of the study is to conduct an ethnography towards these people, that we named “new techno-critics”, in order to better understand them. We want to observe if similarities exist in their behaviors, their opinions, their personality traits or in their reasons to not use these technological means during a major life changing event. Moreover, we want to discover which percent of the Swiss population is corresponding to this “new techno-critics”.

With our findings, we want to provide requirements to the interactive services designers in order to provide a stronger support to this population during these difficult times.

Surveying persuasive apps

There is an abundance of persuasive apps available to us to help us to change our behaviours. For instance, there are apps that help us to stop smoking, to exercise more, to learn a new language or even to go green.

This project consists of a survey of persuasive applications from different categories in relation to the Self-determination theory (SDT). It comprises of an analysis of the different features that cater to the three basic needs (autonomy, competency and relatedness), highlighted in SDT.

The aim is to provide a series of components derived from the features in order for developers to strategically implement them or omit them when creating their applications. This project will also provide a basis for researcher who would like to conduct further studies on this thematic.

Project Checksum

In often cases software companies or independent developers distribute the binary files of their software using sources different than the original website. This creates a risk of making the original binaries corrupted, making the computer used to download them corrupt.

For instance, versions of popular programs (e.g., BitTorrent clients) corrupted and disseminated by hackers include malware that turns the victims’ computer into so-called bots, injects spyware and ads or even mine Bitcoins, thus generating profit for the hackers.

Trying to reduce this risk, developers use a cryptographic check-sum or hash, corresponding to the binary file of their program. The functions used to generate such check-sums are built in a way that it is not tractable to generate another file with the exact same check-sum. Therefore, if the binary file of a program is corrupted, the corresponding hash will be different from that of the original file, thus allowing the users who download it to detect the corruption and cancel its installation.

Persuasive Expertise Management System

This problem is particularly important for the tools to evade censorship or provide anonymity in dictatorships as installing corrupted versions of the original software program could put at risk the lives of their users. Usability has become a critical aspect of computer security and information security: This project will make an important contribution to this field.

A well-known problem of every organization lies with the accumulation and retrieval of knowledge [Schein, 1978]. Over time, members of the organization develop specialized competences that are extremely valuable. However, most of this knowledge is not captured through the artifacts that are typically produced during the course of business. Members of the organizations tend to accumulate competences and experience over time and slowly become experts.

Unfortunately, when members move to a different organization, or elsewhere, the knowledge they have accrued goes with them with a consistent loss for the organization. Hence the problem of retaining this value for the organization. This loss of expertise can be particularly damaging in organizations that conduct investigations, potentially resulting in mistakes or missed opportunities. We propose a system named pEMS (Persuasive Expertise Management System), that goes beyond traditional Knowledge Management Systems by leveraging search results to infer expert knowledge by creating connections between entries of a given Information System (or IS in short).
This solution will be developed in a modular way that can be added onto an existing IS. The goal of this project is to study the efficacy of this system through applied research in the context of the Fire Investigation Unit of the Cantonal Police of Fribourg. Our business idea is that once validated in the context of the Fribourg Police, the pEMS module could easily be applied to other IS in the case of private / public investigations (a notable example is cybercrime investigation).