Portrait of Abigail Sellen

Abigail Sellen

Principal Researcher

About

Abigail Sellen is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge in the UK and manager of Human Experience & Design (HXD), an interdisciplinary group with a focus on the human perspective in computing. As a group, HXD is interested in learning from everyday life to inform the design of systems which are both useful and compelling, and in designing technologies which work in partnership with people.

Abigail joined Microsoft in June 2004 from Hewlett Packard Labs, Bristol. She spent 6 years at HP researching many different kinds of topics ranging from appliance design to Web use to mobile technologies. Prior to HP, she spent 7 years at Xerox’s research lab in Cambridge UK (EuroPARC), was cross-appointed to the MRC Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge, and was a Research Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge. Before moving to England, she also worked for other corporate IT labs such as Xerox PARC, Apple Computer, and Bell Northern Research.
Abigail has a doctorate in Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego where she was supervised by Don Norman. She also has an M.A.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto. She spent some formative years as a post doc working with Bill Buxton, Ron Baecker and Marilyn Tremaine at the Computer Science Research Institute at U of Toronto. Her other main academic influence was her stepfather, John Senders, one of the pioneers of Human Factors Engineering.

Abigail has published on many topics including: computer input, help systems, reading, paper use in offices, videoconferencing design, search, photo use, gesture-based input, human error and computer support for human memory. This includes two books, “Video-Mediated Communication” and “The Myth of the Paperless Office” (with co-author Richard Harper), which won an IEEE award for distinguished literary contribution to engineering. She is an inventor with over 50 patents pending or granted. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Women’s Engineering Society, an Honorary Professor of Interaction at the University of Nottingham, and a member of the ACM SigCHI Academy.  In 2014 she was made an Honorary Professor at UCLIC, University College London.

Projects

Touchless Interaction in Medical Imaging

Established: November 16, 2011

This project explores the use of new touchless technology in medical practice. With advances in medical imaging over the years, surgical procedures have become increasingly reliant on a range of digital imaging systems for navigation, reference, diagnosis and documentation. The…

Things We’ve Learnt About…

Established: August 3, 2011

"Things We've Learnt About.." is a regular publication from the Socio-Digital Systems team that summarises our work around a specific theme in a way that we hope is interesting, insightful and inspirational. And most importantly, succinct. The magazine is available…

A Memory Making System

Established: May 10, 2010

This system, created in the Socio-Digital Systems group, examines the issue of family archiving and presents a system designed to enable families to capture, manage, create and store new kinds of digital memorabilia. The system, using Microsoft Surface as its hub,…

Medical Image Analysis

Established: January 1, 2010

InnerEye Our mission To increase the productivity of doctors and improve patient outcome by applying state of the art machine learning to the automatic analysis of medical images. Project description Analysis of medical images is essential in modern medicine. With the ever…

Publications

2016

2015

2014

Quantifying Progression of Multiple Sclerosis via Classification of Depth Videos
P. Kontschieder, M. DSouza, C. P. Kamm, J. Burggraaff, P. Tewarie, T. Vogel, M. Azzarito, P. Chin, F. Dahlke, C. Polman, L. Kappos, B. Uitdehaag, A. Criminisi, J.F. Dorn, C. Morrison, R. Corish, D. Zikic, A. Sellen, Darko Zikic, Abigail Sellen, Antonio Criminisi, Peter Kontschieder, in MICCAI 2014 - Intl Conf. on Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention, Springer, September 1, 2014, View abstract, Download PDF

2013

2012

2011

2010

Opening Up the Family Archive
Dave Kirk, Shahram Izadi, Abigail Sellen, Stuart Taylor, Richard Banks, Otmar Hilliges, in Proceedings of ACM Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW 2010), Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., February 1, 2010, View abstract, Download PDF

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

Other

Patents

Apparatus and methods for compiling digital communications, United States Patent 20050097081
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB)  and Marsh, Paul John (Bristol, GB)
Abstract: Apparatus for processing digital communications, comprising: input means arranged to receive input specifying an interrogation criterion; interrogation means arranged to interrogate a database of digital communications sent and/or received by a user, to produce a subset of digital communications in accordance with the interrogation criterion; and compilation means arranged to produce a compilation of the subset of digital communications, the compilation having the form of a human-readable document. Preferably the compilation has the visual appearance of a scrapbook. The digital communications may be inter alia e-mail messages, images and attachments; mobile text and picture messages; and instant messages.

Electronic record storage, United States Patent 20020052888
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB) and O’hara, Kenton Paul Anthony (Bristol, GB)
Abstract: An electronic record storage system has a plurality of stored records. Each record includes its content (such as a word processor document, spreadsheet, or drawing) which may be changed from time to time. In addition, each record has a record identifier (such as its filename or URL) which is not normally changed when the record content is changed. The content of each record can be printed out as and when required.In order to facilitate synchronization of the stored records and the printed records, advantage is taken of a version identifier (such as a timestamp) which is changed when the content of that record is changed. A marking (50) from which the respective record identifier (32) and version identifier (38) can be derived is included in the print (48) of the content (34) of a such record. Subsequently, a user can scan the marking on the print (preferably with a hand-held scanner) to produce marking image data. A scan-derived record identifier and scan-derived version identifier are then derived from the marking image data. The scan-derived record identifier is used to access the respective current record and obtain the respective currently-stored version identifier. The scan-derived version identifier is then compared with the currently-stored version identifier, and the result of the comparison is given to the user.

In the case where the version identifier is a timestamp, the timestamp which can be derived from the marking on the print need not be the timestamp of the record, but instead may be a timestamp indicative of the time of printing.

Diary system, United States Patent 20040093380
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB) and Morgan, Andrew Dudley (Bishop Bristol, GB)
Abstract: A method of sharing diary events between electronic diaries involves a first electronic diary on a first computing device and a second electronic diary on a second computing device. A collection of diary events is formed on the first electronic diary as a representation of the first electronic diary. Sharing is accomplished by establishing communication between the first electronic diary and the second electronic diary and sending the representation of the first electronic diary from the first computing device to the second computing device for comparison with the second electronic diary.

Data communication system, method and personal article, United States Patent 20050007337
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB); Murphy, Rachel Lucy (Bristol, GB); and Bijsmans, Jeroen Geert (Taipei, TW)
Abstract: Devices exist that can access and retrieve data from the Internet. These devices use a web-browser of some form to achieve this end. To retrieve a-rid render web-pages using a web-protocol, such as, for example, HTTP or WAP, requires a relatively sophisticated client device. Such a client device requires large amounts of memory and a relatively powerful processor to run the web-browser to access data sources such as, for example, the Internet directly. However, often users are only interested in specific, small volume, data such as a current share or stock price, exchange rate or temperature, for example. Hence, using such a relatively sophisticated device as described above to achieve a relative simple aim is unsuitable. Therefore, embodiments provide a data communication system comprising data specification means for a user to specify at least one data item and preferably a number of items of data, data capture means for capturing specified at least an item of specified data from data sources and a data display device for downloading, wirelessly, at least one item of data from the data capture means, wherein the data display device is incorporated in a personal article.

Data acquisition and processing system and method, United States Patent 20030019939
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB)
Abstract: A data acquisition and processing computer system (10) includes a data acquistion device, which may be a scanner (12) for acquiring data (20) relating to an audio/visual/audio-visual product (22). A network element typically a PC (14) or a server (16) contains records relating to a plurality of audio/visual/audio-visual recordings. A network connection, such as a wireless connection, (38) connects said data acquisition device (12) to said network element (14,16). A processor identifies a record that relates to said data (20) and outputs information relating to said identified record via a screen (28) or a loudspeaker (29).

Electronic record storage, United States Patent 6718351
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB) and O’hara, Kenton Paul Anthony (Bristol, GB)
Abstract: An electronic record storage system has plural stored changeable records including its content (e.g., a spreadsheet). Each record has a record identifier (e.g., its filename) which is not normally changed when the record content is changed. To facilitate synchronization of the stored and printed records, a version identifier (e.g., a timestamp) is changed when the content of that record is changed. The content of a such record includes marking from which the respective record identifier and version identifier are derived. A user scans the print marking to produce marking image data. A identifier and identifier are derived from the marking image data. The record identifier accesses the current record and obtains the currently-stored version identifier. The scan-derived version identifier is compared with the currently-stored version identifier. Version identifier timestamps need not be the record timestamp but can indicate printing time.

Electronic reminders, United States Patent 20030002390
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB); Murphy, Rachel Lucy (Bristol, GB) ; and Bijsmans, Jeroen Geert (Oegstgeest, NL)
Abstract: A method of reminding a user of a forthcoming event, the method being performed by a processor and comprising the steps of: (a) acquiring the time when the forthcoming event is due to occur; (b) acquiring a user-selected digital image associated with the said forthcoming event; (c) storing the digital image in a digital image storage device; and (d) displaying the said digital image before the user a predetermined time period in advance of the said time when the said forthcoming event is due to occur, in order to remind the user of the said forthcoming event.

Generating and logging reminders whilst mobile, United States Patent 20010029175
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB) and I’anson, Colin (Frenchay, GB)
Abstract: A mobile user wishing to quickly generate a reminder note for him/herself, does so by activating a special “reminder” function of the user’s mobile phone. This results in a voice path being set up through the mobile phone infrastructure to a service system to which the user then dictates the desired reminder note. The service system puts the reminder into an e-mail and sends it through an e-mail system to a special “reminder” e-mail box of the user from where the user can subsequently collect it. In an alternative embodiment, the reminder is temporarily stored in the mobile phone before uploading, possibly over a data bearer service offered by the infrastructure. In another alternative embodiment, the reminder is converted into e-mail in the mobile phone and then sent as such to the user’s reminder e-mail box without being further handled by a service system.

Hand-held image capture apparatus, United States Patent 20020067520
Brown, Barry Allen Thomas (Bristol, GB); I’anson, Colin Stephen (Bristol, GB); Loh, Weng Wah (Bristol, GB); Morgan, Andrew Dudley (Bristol, GB); O’hara, Kenton Paul Anthony (Bristol, GB); Romans, Christopher Gwyn (Cleredon, GB); and Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB)Abstract: An image capture apparatus (1) comprises: a combined electronic camera (2) and swipe scanner (4), the electronic camera (2) having an associated optical system (8) and detector array (12) for remote capturing of a first image (46) and the swipe scanner (4) having an associated optical system (28) and detector array (34) for swipe capturing of a second image (38); and a data storage means arranged to store the first image (46) and the second image (38) in association with each other. The electronic camera (2) may be a moderate resolution color camera, and the swipe scanner (4) may have a grey-scale detector (34) array capable of scanning an object at a higher resolution than the camera (2). A display (6) is provided so that both images (38,46) can be viewed separately in association with each other, or combined into a combination image, which has color information from the camera (2) to colorize higher resolution pixels from the scanner (4).

Hand-held image capture apparatus with scanning arrangement, United States Patent 7015969
Brown, Barry Allen Thomas (Bristol, GB); I’anson, Colin Stephen (Bristol, GB);  Loh, Weng Wah (Bristol, GB); Morgan, Andrew Dudley (Bristol, GB); O’hara, Kenton Paul Anthony (Bristol, GB); Romans, Christopher Gwyn (North Somerset, GB); and Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB)
Abstract: An image capture apparatus has a combined electronic camera and swipe scanner. The electronic camera has an optical system and detector array for remote capturing of a first image. The swipe scanner has an optical system and detector array for swipe capturing of a second image. The image capture apparatus further has a data storage arranged to store the first image and the second image in association with each other. The electronic camera may be a moderate resolution color camera, and the swipe scanner may have a grey-scale detector array capable of scanning an object at a higher resolution than the camera. A display is provided so that both images can be viewed separately in association with each other, or combined into a combination image, which has color information from the camera to colorize higher resolution pixels from the scanner.

Method and associated apparatus for providing digital rewards associated with physical products, United States Patent 20060031119
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB); Squibbs, Robert Francis (Bristol, GB); and Lawrence, Richard Anthony (Chipping Sodbury, GB)
Abstract: A method of providing a digital reward involves providing products with an attached digital memory. One digital content part from a set of digital content parties is downloaded to the digital memory of each such product. The digital content parts of the set together define the digital reward. The digital content parts of a set uploaded to a computing device are used by an application to make the digital reward available to a user of the computing device. The products may be collectable cards or game cards, or any consumer products.

Method and system for creating ad-hoc links from free-form ink, United States Patent 6766494
Price, Morgan N. (Palo Alto, CA); Schilit, William N. (Menlo Park, CA); Golovchinsky, Gene (Palo Alto, CA); O’hara, Kenton P. A. (Cambridge, GB); Sellen, Abigail J. (Cambridge, GB); and Mont-reynaud, Bernard M. (Mountain View, CA)
Abstract: The reading and writing system enhances free-form ink annotating and note taking by creating links between passages in response to free-form ink. The reading and writing system generates links between free-form ink anchors and also generates links between documents in different windows when a free-form ink stroke extends across window boundaries. The reading and writing system also removes a link when the free-form ink stroke representing the link is erased. The reading and writing system will display the ink anchors in a display showing all related linked anchors with their surrounding context when a corresponding link is selected.

Method of creating a subset of images from a library of images, United States Patent 20060034518
Mcdonnell, James Thomas Edward (Bristol, GB) and Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB)
Abstract: A method of creating a subset of images from a library of images is provided. There are a set of image prints of the images in the library and associated with each print is a memory tag with the digital data of the image stored within. The method includes the steps of locating the required images, using a reader to read the digital data of each of the images to be included in the subset from the relevant memory tags and downloading the selected subset of image data to a desired location.

Method of sending digital photographs, United States Patent 20030011682
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB) and Morgan, Andrew Dudley (Bristol, GB)
Abstract: A method of specifying the delivery of a digital photograph from a digital camera via a digital communications network provided with delivery means, the digital camera having a processor communicatively connectable to the digital communications network, the method comprising: supplying the processor with a digital photograph; supplying the processor with input to enable delivery coordinates for the digital photograph to be determined; supplying the processor with input specifying a delivery format in which the digital photograph is to be delivered.

Physical multimedia documents, and methods and apparatus for publishing and reading them. United States Patent 7290715
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB); Waters, John Deryk (Bath, GB); Adams, Guy De Warrenne Bruce (Stroud Gloucestershire, GB); and Lawrence, Richard Anthony (S. Glos, GB)
Abstract: A published document comprises a printed document and at least one memory attached to the printed document, wherein said at least one memory comprises an electrical circuit without an integral power source but may be powered wirelessly so that it may transmit information wirelessly, wherein at least a portion of the information stored in the published document for display to the user is provided in said at least one memory. A method of viewing information in such a published document comprises viewing information printed in the printed document, powering the memory circuit with a reader device to transmit information stored in the memory circuit to the reader device wirelessly, and displaying the information stored in the memory circuit by means of the reader device for viewing by the user. An appropriate reader device and method for publishing the document are described.

Physical representational objects with digital memory and methods of manufacture and use thereof, United States Patent 20060030410
Stenton, Stuart Phillip (Berkeley, GB); Adams, Guy De Warrenne Bruce (Stroud, GB); Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB); Dickin, Fraser John (Bristol, GB); Lawrence, Richard Anthony (Chipping Sodbury, GB); and Mcdonnell, James Thomas Edward (Bristol, GB)
Abstract: A representational object contains a visual representation of a character and a memory tag comprising a digital memory adapted to be read from when inductively powered. The digital memory contains digital content relating to the character represented visually on the representational object. At least a part of the digital content relates to function of the character in a game carried out by a gaming application and comprises executable code for execution in connection with operation of the gaming application.

Projector, United States Patent 20030002016
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB) and Morgan, Andrew Dudley (Bristol, GB)
Abstract: A digital image projector comprising projection means, a processor arranged to process digital images, and input means, the input means being electrically coupled to the processor and operable to supply digital images to the processor without the projector needing to be connected to a personal computer, and the processor being electrically coupled to the projection means to supply digital images to the projection means, the projector being configured to enable the image being projected to be rotated and/or translated to describe a trajectory around the surface on which the image is being projected.

Remote worker’s display device, United States Patent 20040088356
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB) and Tofts, Christopher (Acton, GB)
Abstract: A device for positioning in the workplace of a worker, the device being operable, in the worker’s absence from said workplace, to provide a visitor to the workplace with information specifying the remote location of the worker and to enable the visitor to communicate with the absent worker; the device comprising processing means, memory, a digital display and a user interface; the processing means being coupled to a database, the database comprising data representative of a remote location and corresponding data representative of at least one possible mode of communication between the device and the remote worker at the said remote location; the processing means being electrically coupled to the digital display and the user interface; the memory being operable to store data specifying the remote location of the worker; the digital display being operable to display information specifying the remote location of the worker; the processing means being operable to interrogate the database to obtain the possible modes of communication corresponding to the said specified remote location of the worker, and then to cause the said modes of communication to be displayed for selection by the visitor; the user interface being operable to enable a visitor to select a mode of communication; and the processing means being configured to effect communication with the worker using the selected mode of communication.

Shopping assistance method and apparatus, United States Patent 20020059266
I’anson, Colin (Bristol, GB); Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB); and Murphy, Rachel Lucy (Bristol, GB)
Abstract: A shopping assistance method and apparatus is provided in which a shopper captures information about an item of interest and either stores it in a handheld device or sends it over a mobile radio infrastructure to a service system for storage. When the shopper returns home, the shopper either downloads the captured data to a home PC or uses the latter to access the service system. In either case, the captured data is presented to the user as a personal shopping catalogue (80) showing, by shop visited (81), the items of interest (82, 83). The captured data can then be used to retrieve additional information, for example, from the websites of the shops concerned.

Shopping assistance service, United States Patent 7069238
I’anson, Colin (Bristol, GB); Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB); and Murphy, Rachel Lucy (Bristol, GB)
Abstract: A shopping assistance method and service system is provided in which a shopper captures information about an item of interest (90) and sends it over a mobile radio infrastructure (10) to a service system (40). At the service system, the information is processed to identify at least the type of item of interest. A determination is also made of a location associated with the information, this location will generally be that of the store (92) where the shopper captured the information, but could also be the shopper’s home location. The service system next carries out a specific task (72) relating to the identified item (90), such as obtaining comparative prices, and then provides a report back to the shopper, the contents and/or organisation of the report taking account of the location previously determined as being associated with the information.

Text processing system, United States Patent 20020062326
Sellen, Abigail Jane (Newbury, GB); Thomas Brown, Barry Allen (Bristol, GB); and Morgan, Andrew Dudley (Bristol, GB)
Abstract: An auxiliary screen unit is provided in conjunction with a desktop personal computer, for use in connection with editing a reading operations. The auxiliary screen unit has a touch-sensitive screen and stylus by means of which a user may operate a graphical user interface to select, highlight or otherwise edit text; edits may be performed on text displayed on the computer screen in the normal way using a mouse and a graphical user interface. The auxiliary screen unit and the computer are connected directly to each other so that text selected on one screen may be imported directly onto the other screen. Such an apparatus thus provides similar functional capability to that of paper, which is still the medium of choice for formulating edits.