Publishing in an HRI Journal

I just published a new HRI Podcast episode on publishing in HRI Journals. Here is the summary:

Publishing your human-robot interaction study in a journal is an excellent way to share your insights. But in which journal should you publish and what do the journals expect? In this episode, we talk to editors from the three dedicated HRI journals, Agnieszka Wykowska (International Journal of Social Robotics), Selma Sabanovic (ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction) and Bilge Mutlu (Frontiers in Robotics and AI | Human-Robot Interaction). We talk about Open Access publishing and what the future of scientific publishing might look like. Besides the three dedicated journals, there are also some journals that encourage HRI topics without focusing completely on them. I talked with Kerstin Dautenhahn from the Interaction Studies journal and Ramanarayan Vasudevan from the IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

Peer Review Review

Please come and join me for a Nerd Nite on October 4th (6:30pm) at the Little Andromeda theatre. I will be ranting about about the peer review process. Here is a short summary of the talk:

The peer review process is essential to modern science. Researchers conduct studies and submit their results to a journal. An editor manages a review process involving external experts. But what happens when you study the peer review process itself. How do scientific organisations react when they become the subject of an experiment? Not well, to say the least.

Drawing LEGO Bricks in LaTeX

Sometimes the star align and bring together several of your passions. I love LEGO and I love LaTeX. Thanks to Sam Carter and his TikZbricks package, you can now draw LEGO bricks directly in LaTeX. Let’s start with a simple example of drawing a single 2×4 brick:

\documentclass[a5paper]{article}
\usepackage{tikzbricks}
\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}
   \brick{4}{2}
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}

This will be rendered as:

TikZbricksLEGOLaTeX01

It is possible to build whole models with this package. The LEGO company created its first augmented reality puzzle game that used a mobile app in 2011. It was called Life Of George. This seems like a perfect example for putting TikZbricks to the test.

\documentclass[a4paper]{article}
\usepackage{tikzbricks}
\definecolor{lego-white}{rgb}{0.95, 0.95, 0.96}
\begin{document}

\begin{wall}
    \wallbrick[color=black]{2}{1}
    \addtocounter{brickx}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=black]{2}{1}
    \newrow
    \wallbrick[color=blue]{1}{1}
    \addtocounter{brickx}{2}
    \wallbrick[color=blue]{1}{1}
    \newrow
    \wallbrick[color=blue]{4}{1}
    \newrow
    \addtocounter{brickx}{-1}
    \wallbrick[color=lego-white]{1}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=red]{4}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=lego-white]{1}{1}
    \newrow
    \addtocounter{brickx}{-1}
    \wallbrick[color=red]{1}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=red]{2}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=black]{1}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=red]{1}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=red]{1}{1}
    \newrow
    \addtocounter{brickx}{-1}
    \wallbrick[color=red]{3}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=black]{1}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=red]{2}{1}
    \newrow
    \wallbrick[color=lego-white]{4}{1}
    \newrow
    \addtocounter{brickx}{-1}
    \wallbrick[color=lego-white]{2}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=black]{1}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=lego-white]{1}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=black]{1}{1}
    \newrow
    \addtocounter{brickx}{-1}
    \wallbrick[color=yellow]{1}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=lego-white]{2}{1}
    \wallbrick[color=yellow]{3}{1}
    \newrow
    \wallbrick[color=yellow]{4}{1}
\end{wall}

\end{document}

This will be rendered as:

TikZbricksLEGOLaTeX02

There are many more options, such as chaning the perspective and size of various components. But we will leave this for now and simply enjoy this moment.

Automatic cross referencing in LaTeX

In technical and scientific writing it is common to references figures, tables and equations in the text. The figure, for example, would have a caption that reads “Figure 1: Robot at the beach”. In the text we then want to reference this figure as (see Figure 1). For far too long I made my own life too difficult by not taking advantage of some of the more advanced featurs of LaTeX. Here are some leasons I learned.

It would be possible to hard code the reference in the text by writing (see Figure 1), but this is not recommendet since the numbering might change when you add more figure or tables . Hence we use dynamic referencing by giving each figure or table a label which we reference using the \ref{label} command. In the text we would write (see Figure \ref{fig:robot}). Here is a complete example:

\documentclass[a5paper]{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\begin{document}

\lipsum[2] (see Figure \ref{fig:robot})

\begin{figure}[h]
\includegraphics[width=0.5\linewidth]{robot.jpg}
\caption{Robot at the beach}
\label{fig:robot}
\end{figure}

\end{document}

This will be rendered to PDF as:

Cross_referencing_documentation_01

The first, and possibly most effective time safer, is to use the \autoref{label} feature of the hyperref package. You should probably always use this package anyway for other reasons by adding \usepackage{hyperref}.

\documentclass[a5paper]{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage{hyperref}
\begin{document}

\lipsum[2] (see \autoref{fig:robot})

\begin{figure}[h]
\includegraphics[width=0.5\linewidth]{robot.jpg}
\caption{Robot at the beach}
\label{fig:robot}
\end{figure}

\end{document}

This will automatically add the appropriate type of reference. For the figure type, it will add “Figure” to the text for you. This will be rendered to:

Cross_referencing_documentation_02

This also works for tables and equation. I wished I had know this little feature much earlier.