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Otto Hans-Martin Lutz

Former Doctoral Researcher

Otto Hans-Martin Lutz is a researcher in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI). Before joining Weizenbaum institute, he worked in research on eye-tracking, gaze interaction and virtual reality therapy systems for stroke patients. He holds a MSc. in Human Factors (TU Berlin) and a BEng. in telecommunication engineering (DHBW Ravensburg). His current research focus is using sonification to raise awareness for online privacy issues.

Privacy Sonification

Online privacy threats are mostly invisible to the user. There are few opportunities in the life of an average person to directly experience the consequences and impact of online privacy and security incidents. This is due to the concealed nature of these incidents and the delay between privacy-critical event and consequence (e.g., fraud, price discrimination, targeted influencing). We design interventions which allow an experience of the characteristics and magnitude of privacy issues. Instead of purely cognitive explanations, we use sound as an affective medium which triggers an emotional reaction and call to action.
Sonification is an interdisciplinary research on the use of sound (usually non-speech audio) to convey information or perceptualize data. An illustrative example of sonification is the Geiger counter which transforms imperceptible events of radioactive decay into observable sound events. In HCI, sonification is useful to perceptualize background processes as it provides an additional modality. Users can keep their visual attention at their primary task while simultaneously obtaining supplemental information through the auditory domain.

Our research focuses on examining how sonic feedback on privacy-related concerns during user interaction can increase privacy awareness. A major challenge of this research is translating the complexity and richness of privacy-related data into meaningful sonic events which can be understood by the user without costing too much mental effort. We develop and study diverse sonification artifacts which transform data into sound, combining computer science with psychology and an artistic approach.

Current Research Projects are:

  • Mobile phone data leakage sonification (how often does my mobile phone "call home")
  • Password strength sonification providing a playful, exploratory way to learn about password strength and usage
  • Web tracker sonification providing real-time feedback of data exchanged with third-party hosts while surfing. This allows interactive comparison of different websites, browsers, tracker-blocking add-ons and apps

More details can be found here:

If you are interested in writing your Master's thesis in the field of privacy or security sonification, get in touch with us!



Positions at Weizenbaum Institut

Former Doctoral Researcher:

Research Group "Digitalisation and Networked Security"

Until December 2021

Fraunhofer FOKUS
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