Laκsa: Mobile App for Intelligible Control of Interruption

March 1st, 2012 § 0 comments


Mobile phones allow people to keep in touch with others and be easily reachable. However, the increasingly intimate use of smartphones also risks more social disruptions (e.g., in meetings and movie theatres) and work interruptions. This is because current smartphones are not smart enough to comprehensively understand the context of where its owner is, what he is doing, what is socially appropriate, and with whom he can be connected to then, etc.

Therefore, we have developed Laκsa, a mobile app to automatically infer the user’s context for social availability. It uses the rich sensors in smartphones (e.g., GPS, microphone, accelerometer, calendar) together with sophisticated machine learning algorithms to infer contextual cues, such as whether the user is in an impromptu conversation at the office, on an evening run outdoors, or at home listening to music. With this, Laκsa can provide contextually relevant features such as automatically silencing or activating the phone’s ringer in an intelligent and appropriate manner.

Laκsa is also intelligible to communicate with users. Using algorithms to provide explanations, Laκsa helps users to understand what it knows and how it makes inferences, and enables users to share such situational and social understanding with friends and family. Hence, Laκsa uses location and activity to connect (κ) users for social awareness.


We have published several research papers on using Laκsa to investigate the design of intelligible visualizations of context-awareness and to evaluate the usefulness of intelligilibility.

  1. Lim, B. Y., Dey, A. K. 2012.
    Evaluating Intelligibility Usage and Usefulness in a Context-Aware Application
    CMU-HCII Technical Report.
  2. Lim, B. Y., Dey, A. K. 2011.
    Investigating Intelligibility for Uncertain Context-Aware Applications.
    In Proceedings of the 13th international conference on Ubiquitous computing (UbiComp ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 415-424. DOI=10.1145/2030112.2030168
  3. Lim, B. Y., Dey, A. K. 2011.
    Design of an Intelligible Mobile Context-Aware Application.
    In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI ’11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 157-166. DOI=10.1145/2037373.2037399

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