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Feb 2014: Seminars, conferences and new grants

We have 8 SACHI seminars coming up. Our new participant database is online. The outcome of our logo contest is pending! In 2014, we are involved with the organisation of MobileHCI 2014, ITS 2014, UIST 2014, MobiSys 2014 and PerDis'14. Our newsfeed has details of these activities and research.

Apr 15 / Daniel John Rough

May 6th, seminar by Alan Dix: At The Edge

Speaker: Alan Dix, Birmingham University
Date/Time: 2-3pm May 6, 2014
Location: Maths Lecture Theatre B, University of St Andrews

From buying plane tickets to eGovernment, participation in consumer and civic society is predicated on continuous connectivity and copious computation . And yet for many at the edges of society, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, and those in rural areas, poor access to digital technology makes them more marginalised, potentially cut off from modern citizenship. I spent three and half months last summer walking over a thousand miles around the margins of Wales in order to experience more directly some of the issues facing those on the physical edges of a modern nation, who are often also at the social and economic margins. I will talk about some of the theoretical and practical issues raised; how designing software with constrained resources is more challenging but potentially more rewarding than assuming everyone lives with Silicon Valley levels of connectivity.

Alan is Professor of Computing at University of Birmingham and Senior Researcher at Talis based in Birmingham, but, when not in Birmingham, or elsewhere lives in Tiree a remote island of the west coast of Scotland.

Alan’s career has included mathematical modelling for agricultural crop sprayers, COBOL programming, submarine design and intelligent lighting. However, he is best known for his work in Human Computer Interaction over three decades including his well known HCI textbook and some of the earliest work in formal methods, mobile interaction, and privacy in HCI. He has worked in posts across the university sector as well as a period as founder director of two dotcom companies, aQtive (1998) and vfridge (2000), which, between them, attracted £850,000 of venture capital funding. He currently works part-time for the University of Birmingham and is on the REF Panel for Computer Science. He also works part-time for Talis, which, inter alia, provides the reading list software used at St Andrews.

His interests and research methods remain, as ever, eclectic, from formal methods, to technical creativity and the modelling of regret. At present he is completing a book, TouchIT, about physicality in design, working with musicologists on next generation digital archives, envisioning how learning analytics can inform and maybe transform university teaching, and working in various projects connected with communication and energy use on Tiree and rural communities.

Last year he completed a walk around Wales as an exploration into technical issues ‘at the edge’, the topic of his seminar.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.

Apr 9 / Aaron Quigley

Man to Machine: Health and Technology Seminar Series April 14th

As part of the Man to Machine Health and Technology Series, Professor Aaron Quigley will be giving a talk on “Independent living now and in 2070 -  Information and communications technology and ageing” on April the 14th in Seminar Room 1 of the Medical School (location) from 5.15pm – 6.30pm. Further details of the event are here.


Man to Machine

Mar 27 / admin

Digging into Data: Trading Consequences launch

Congratulations to Uta Hinrichs and Aaron Quigley on the launch of their trading consequences project. Trading Consequences charts the commercial growth of the British Empire and it details the economic and environmental impact of shipping valuable commodities such as building materials, tea, fruit and spices. This is the culmination of two years of effort in which eleven million pages of text were processed, resulting in a 150 gigabyte database. People can explore our visualisations, generated from the data, which help to make the historical findings more accessible. Sources included British and Canadian Government documents, newspapers from around the world, books and journals.

The project has been led by the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the Universities of St Andrews and Saskatchewan and York University, Canada. The EDINA national data centre at University of Edinburgh has stored information garnered in the study. The two-year project forms part of Digging into Data, a wider initiative by Jisc, the UK’s digital information body. The work is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

To find out more, please go to:



Mar 27 / admin

Per Ola awarded RSE/Makdougall Brisbane Medal

Congratulations to Per Ola who has been awarded the RSE/Makdougall Brisbane Medal by the Royal Society of Edinburgh in their Royal Prizewinners list for 2014. The Prize was founded in 1855 by Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, for particular distinction in the promotion of scientific research.

Professor Aaron Quigley said “We are all delighted at the rightful recognition of Per Ola and his world-leading achievements. Last year he was the only UK member of the TR35, the most prestigious annual list published by MIT Technology Review. And now the Royal Society of Edinburgh has recognised his research. Per Ola is an excellent colleague who brings real enthusiasm, insight and dedication to whatever he does. Be it supervising an honours student, teaching, leadership in SICSA or working with industry. His work in intelligent interactive systems is laying the ground work for how the world will interact with computation in the future.

RSE Medal Winners (Per Ola on the right) – credits


Mar 6 / Aaron Quigley

April 8th, seminar by Johannes Schöning, Highly Deformable Mobile Devices & Future Mobile Phones

Speaker: Johannes Schöning, Hasselt University
Date/Time: 2-3pm April 8th, 2014
Location: Maths Lecture Theatre B, University of St Andrews

Title: Highly Deformable Mobile Devices & Future Mobile Phones

In the talk I will present the concept of highly deformable mobile devices that can be transformed into various special-purpose controls in order to bring physical controls to mobile devices ( I will present different interaction techniques enabled by this concept and present results from an in-depth study. Our findings show that these physical controls provide several benefits over traditional touch interaction techniques commonly used on mobile devices. In addition we will give insights on a large-scale study that logged detailed application usage information from over 4,100 users of Android-powered mobile devices.

Johannes Schöning is a professor of computer science with a focus on HCI at Hasselt University, working within the Expertise centre for Digital Media (EDM) – the ICT research Institute of Hasselt University. In addition, he is a visiting lecturer at UCL London within the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Cities.

His research interests are new methods and novel mobile interfaces to navigate through spatial information. In general, he develops, designs and tests user interfaces that help people to solve daily tasks more enjoyable and/ or effectively. This includes the development of mobile augmented reality applications, interactive surfaces and tabletops and other “post desktop” interfaces. His research and work was awarded with several prices and awards, such as the ACM Eugene Lawler Award or the Vodafone Research Award for his PhD.  In addition, Johannes serve as a junior fellow of “Gesellschaft für Informatik”.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.

Mar 3 / admin

The digital tourist: HCI and new forms of interaction

Later this month, Aaron Quigley has been invited to present at two conferences on digital tourism. The first is the signature conference of the Scottish Tourism Week in Edinburgh on the 12th of Mar 2014. And the second is a conference on Meeting the needs of the modern visitor, hosted by Interface – The knowledge connection on the 25th of Mar 2014 (see newspaper item).

Each talk will address the question of how to support the interaction between a visitor before, during and after their tourist experience. Some aspects are simply pointers to what we currently have with services and application in desktop or mobile computing. Some parts touch on what is possible with data science and data analytics. An finally, what the future might hold with new forms of human computer interaction which take us away from eyes down mobile interaction with “apps” and instead refocuses us on the world around us.

During these talks Aaron will discuss SMART, LADDIE and Palimpsest (website  | announcement), projects funded under the SFC Horizon (Smart Tourism) and AHRC: Big Data calls.

You can see a video from a similar talk Aaron gave in 2013 with Interface below.

Feb 26 / Daniel John Rough

March 11th, Seminar by Yvonne Rogers: Should Technology be More Mindful?

Speaker: Yvonne Rogers, UCL
Date/Time: 2-3pm March 11th, 2014
Location: Maths Lecture Theatre B, University of St Andrews

We are increasingly living in our digital bubbles. Even when physically together – as families and friends in our living rooms, outdoors and public places – we have our eyes glued to our own phones, tablets and laptops. The new generation of ‘all about me’ health and fitness gadgets, that is becoming more mainstream, is making it worse. Do we really need smart shoes that tell us when we are being lazy and glasses that tell us what we can and cannot eat? Is this what we want from technology – ever more forms of digital narcissism, virtual nagging and data addiction? In contrast, I argue for a radical rethink of our relationship with future digital technologies. One that inspires us, through shared devices, tools and data, to be more creative, playful and thoughtful of each other and our surrounding environments.

Yvonne Rogers is a Professor of Interaction Design, the director of UCLIC and a deputy head of the Computer Science department at UCL. Her research interests are in the areas of ubiquitous computing, interaction design and human-computer interaction. A central theme is how to design interactive technologies that can enhance life by augmenting and extending everyday, learning and work activities. This involves informing, building and evaluating novel user experiences through creating and assembling a diversity of pervasive technologies.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.

Feb 12 / Daniel John Rough

Feb 25, Seminar by Benjamin Cowan: How human-human dialogue research can lead us to understand speech behaviours in human-computer dialogue: The case of lexical alignment

Speaker: Benjamin Cowan, University of Birmingham
Date/Time: 2-3pm Feb 25, 2014
Location: Maths Lecture Theatre B, University of St Andrews

Dialogue is a dynamic social activity. Research has consistently shown that our dialogue partners impact our speech choices whereby we converge (or align) on aspects such as lexical choice and syntax. With the development of more natural computer dialogue partners and the increase of speech as an interaction modality in many devices and applications, it is important that we understand what impacts how we behave linguistically in such dialogue interactions wth computers. My talk will focus on my current work looking at how design choices and computer partner behaviours affect alignment in human-computer dialogue and how this can inform the theory-based debate over what leads to such a behaviour.

Dr Benjamin Cowan is a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham’s Human-Computer Interaction Centre, based in the School of Computer Science. His research is at the juncture between Psychology and Computer Science, studying how interface design affects user perceptions, emotions and behaviours in human-computer based interactions. Specifically he studies how design and system actions affect user linguistic behaviours as well as the causes and predictors of user anxiety towards social system contributions.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.

Feb 12 / admin

AVID’14 – Advanced visual interface display ecosystems

AVID 2014 logo

In May of 2014 Aaron Quigley of SACHI, Victor M. R. Penichet of the Interactive Systems Everywhere research group (ISE), University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain and Harald Reiterer of the HCI Lab in the University of Konstanz, Germany are organising AVID’14 an AVI 2014 workshop on roadmapping advanced visual interface display ecosystems. Victor and Harald were both visitors to SACHI in 2013 and each has a long track record in display ecosystem research and in leading workshops, symposia, Dagsthul seminars, grants and other activities in the field.

The website for the workshop is: and position papers are due in one month, on March 12th, 2014.

Advanced visual interface display ecosystems are physical environments, rooms or ad-hoc settings for co-located collaborative work that are augmented or supplemented with ubiquitous computing technology. However, there are significant challenges in the research, design, development and deployment of these types of ecosystem. The purpose of this research road-mapping workshop is threefold. Firstly, we will consolidate information, technical details and research directions from the diverse range of academic and industrial projects currently available. Secondly, based on visions of future ecosystems we will identify gaps in the current state of the art. And thirdly, we will identify new areas of research which require funding and support along with new areas for collaboration outside the field.
The aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers and practitioners who are avid to contribute to and aid in the development of a research roadmap. This roadmap can be used to inform, influence and disseminate ideas to funders, the wider research community and the general public. Based on submitted position papers and existing research it will describe the current baseline of display ecosystems and what research gaps need to be filled to allow us to achieve our research and developments ambitions.
Feb 11 / Jakub Dostal

Presenting SpiderEyes at IUI 2014

IUI-2014 logoAt the end of February, Jakub Dostal and Per Ola Kristensson will be attending IUI 2014 in Haifa, Israel.

Jakub will be presenting the full paper SpiderEyes: Designing Attention and Proximity-Aware Collaborative Interfaces for Wall-Sized Displays by Jakub Dostal, Uta Hinrichs, Per Ola Kristensson and Aaron Quigley. This paper introduces the concept of collaborative proxemics: enabling groups of people to col- laboratively use attention- and proximity-aware applications. To help designers create such applications we have developed SpiderEyes: a system and toolkit for designing attention- and proximity-aware collaborative interfaces for wall-sized displays. SpiderEyes is based on low-cost technology and allows accurate markerless attention-aware tracking of multiple people interacting in front of a display in real-time. The paper discusses how this toolkit can be applied to design attention- and proximity-aware collaborative scenarios around large wall-sized displays, and how the information visualisation pipeline can be extended to incorporate proxemic interactions.

You will soon be able to read more about this work on its on designated project page: SpiderEyes.

Jakub is also a Student Volunteer for the conference. Per Ola is a member of the Senior Programme Committee for IUI 2014.