Seminar: AI & HCI in Furniture Retail

The mandatory-to-attend kickoff meeting will take place November 3rd, 12.00pm via Microsoft Teams. All accepted students should have received an email with the access link to the kickoff meeting. If you are assigned but did not receive an email, please write an email to


In this seminar, we will explore how artificial intelligence (AI) and interactive technologies in the area of Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI) can augment on- and offline shopping experiences in furniture retail. This seminar will be conducted in collaboration with the large furniture retailer Möbel Martin. During the course of the winter semester you will identify problems within one of several broader topics using user research methods, develop a concept and implement a working prototype that can be showcased to potential users (customers as well as employees/management of Möbel Martin).

General areas / topics of interest:

  • “Bring your home” - Having exact dimensions of your floor plan is essential when planning a new kitchen for example. However, it might also be useful when shopping online to find pieces of furniture that fit in both style and space.
  • “Gamification” - Incentivise the exploration of the store and reward the customers with augmented reality cookies that can be redeemed in the restaurant.
  • “Multichannel” - How to bring people from online in the store and vice versa, how to identify them etc.
  • “Offline Bookmarks” - Take a picture of a product in the store and save both location and additional information like price, … for later or a future visit.
  • “Style consulting” - After scanning a product (e.g. bed), the customers are suggested products that harmonize well on their way to the store. Can also be extended so that people can transfer their furniture to the app at home and then the app tells you in the store what fits your style at home.

After you are admitted to this seminar, you will be matched with two to four other students (depending on the overall number of students that want to attend this seminar) and your group gets assigned to one of these areas. You will be able to express your preferences (for group members and topics) after the seminar's kickoff.


Tasks to complete during the seminar

Please note: Based on the nature of this seminar (see below) you will have additional workload in the lecture-free period (February/March).

Every group is required to do the following tasks for their assigned area/topic:

  • Brainstorming: Brainstorm potential issues as a group: What can be aspects that are problematic for people in an online or physical furniture store? Which opportunities do you see? 
  • Internal Validation: You will be paired with one/several group(s) to discuss your idea in a focus-group-like setting (potentially as a virtual group meeting) and write down the results in a report.
  • Prototyping: Come up with a solution for this chosen aspect and create a working prototype for it. The idea is that the prototypes can be showcased to interested customers/employees. Prototype designs should also take care how they could be used (in theory) in-the-wild.

Every group is assigned one advisor for discussing the different tasks. 


Hand-ins during the seminar

The following hand-ins / presentations need to be done:

  • Hand-in of the brainstorming results as report [graded] 
  • Hand-in of the internal validation results as report [graded]
  • Presentation of chosen future prototype [not graded, but compulsory to pass the seminar]
  • Mid-project presentation of the prototype [not graded, but compulsory to pass the seminar]
  • Hand-in of the (documented) prototype as well as a description why the prototype is able to solve the issue that your group wanted to target and an outlook on what needs to be done to use this prototype idea in a productive environment (i.e., the furniture store) [graded].
  • Final Presentation of the prototype [graded]


Important dates

All meetings must be attended (potentially virtual, depending on the format of the event) by all group members (exceptions require an official document, e.g. a doctor’s certificate), otherwise, you won't pass the seminar.

 03.11.2020 Kickoff meeting 
 04.11.2020 Group assignments
 15.11.2020 Hand-in of brainstorming report 
 17.11.2020 Presentation meeting for brainstorming results
 03.01.2021 Hand-in of internal validation report 
 05.01.2021 Presentation meeting for internal validation results / future prototype
 23.02.2021 Mid-project presentation meeting 
 31.03.2021 Hand-in of final prototype 
 13.04.2021 Final presentation meeting 

All hand-ins will be graded on the basis of what is available at 23.59 German time on the respective closing date.
All meetings will take place on the respective dates, 12-2pm (c.t.).



Maximilian Altmeyer, Frederic Kerber, Felix Kosmalla, André Zenner