Keynote talks

iHCI 2015 will feature keynote talks by four leading, international HCI researchers:

Further details of each speaker and talk are given below.

Sriram Subramanian: The Shape of Things to Come
SriOne of the visions on Sriram’s research is to deliver novel experiences to users without instrumenting them with wearable or head-mounted displays. His team has been exploring various technical solutions to creating systems that can deform and transform into new objects or shapes while still supporting the display of visual content. For example, they have created shape-changing tablets that can show maps with topographical information and morphing mirrors that can enable new forms of augmentation. In this talk, Sriram will present some of our recent projects on this topic and conclude with the use of acoustic radiation forces to create shape-shifting atoms.

About: Sriram Subramanian is a Professor of Informatics at the University of Sussex where he leads a research group on novel interactive systems. Before joining Sussex, he was a Professor of Human-computer Interaction at the University of Bristol (till July 2015) and prior to this a senior scientist at Philips Research Netherlands. He holds an ERC Starting Grant and has received funding from the EU FET-open call. In 2014 he was one of 30 young scientists invited by the WEF to attend their Summer Davos. Subramanian is also the co-founder of Ultrahaptics a spin-out company that aims to commercialise the mid-air haptics enabled by his ERC grant. In 2015, Ultrahaptics won the CES 2015 top pick award for Best Enabling Technology. Prof. Subramanian’s research has been featured in several news media outlets around the world including CNN, BBC and Fox-News.

Anna Cox: Managing multi-tasking through the use of micro-boundaries
140828-154609Digital technologies are ubiquitous for many . Not only do we find these technologies in work & home settings but we now carry our personal devices from one location to another. A consequence of the ubiquity of our devices is that we are frequently tempted by the huge range of interactions that our technologies offer us. But the resulting multitasking behaviour not only manifests as frequent switching between work tasks on a laptop or smartphone, increasingly we switch between tasks for work & tasks related to our home or personal lives. Some argue that the increase in the number of switches between the different roles we assume in our lives results in a blurring of the traditional boundaries between these different life spheres. In this talk I will describe my research on interruptions and multi-tasking at both the micro and macro levels.  This includes lab based experiments that demonstrate that the use of forced micro-boundaries can positively impact interruption management, and survey and qualitative research that demonstrates that people create their own micro-boundaries with technology in order to manage the blurring of work-life boundaries.

About: Anna L Cox is Deputy Director at the UCL Interaction Centre [UCLIC] and Reader in Human-Computer Interaction.  Her research interests are in HCI for Health & Wellbeing: this includes work on reducing human error in the use of medical devices; exploring the ways in which technology can influence digital practices that may affect wellbeing; and immersion and engagement in digital hobbies.

John McCarthy: Participation in HCI
Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 2.20.02 p.m.In this talk, John will develop a critical discourse on participation in HCI. In one form or another, participation is deep in the DNA or culture of HCI, from the very earliest pragmatic commitments to have computer users involved (even indirectly) in the design of the systems that they would be expected to use to the more overtly political commitments of approaches such as Participatory Design. Moreover, participation is considered to be a ‘good thing’ in many areas of life e.g. international development, local politics, social media, digital civics, and art. It suggests equality, engagement, and democracy. In some of these areas, the claim that a project is participatory carries with it a political promise to be inclusive, to ensure that all voices are heard and responded to. But participatory projects – in development, regeneration, political decision making, and art – can be tokenistic in fulfilling obligations while ignoring participants’ real concerns. This presentation refers to a number of participatory HCI projects to explore how participation is currently positioned in HCI practice and theory, specifically how they address participants’ real concerns. Along the way some underlying assumptions about participation will be questioned: whether participation is an unqualified good; how participants are positioned in participatory projects; how participation is negotiated; the implications of different logics of participation for innovation and creativity. This questioning will encourage a slightly unconventional take on participation that emphasises the politics and aesthetics of engagement better to understand relationships between researchers, designers, and users (participants?).

About John McCarthy is Professor of Applied Psychology at University College Cork, Ireland, where he leads the People and Technology Group (PAT). PAT is a collection of human-computer interaction (HCI) researchers engaged in experience-centred and participatory design of digital technology to understand and enhance people’s lived experience and to ensure their voices are heard in developments that matter to them.

John has over 20 years experience working in HCI research with about 100 publications including three books with Peter Wright on theoretical and methodological foundations of experience-centred HCI Design. The most recent reflects on some design projects that they were involved with, to think about the politics and aesthetics of taking part in HCI design projects. His current research projects are concerned with further developing understanding and practice of participation in HCI. These projects focus on:

  1. The potential to develop dementia friendly research communities to do experienced centred design of technologies and services with people with dementia and their carers in order to understand and enhance their experience and wellbeing;
  2. The emergence of digital communities and publics as expression of civic engagement in e.g. information, support and advocacy around dementia care and sustainable energy.

Aaron Quigley: Trapped in AppLand: Archipelagos of Interaction
a_quigTechnology underpins the human experience and digital technologies in the form of devices, computers and communications are weaving themselves into the fabric of life. Of course, our use and indeed reliance of technology is not new. Indeed, it is one of the defining characteristics of humans and society, our fashioning of tools, instruments and technologies to help shape our world and lives. The digital technologies we have fashioned rely on our data, our understanding of various interaction paradigms and often our choice of apps. However, the question we must ask is, are we now trapped in AppLand?

AppLand consists of silos of interaction, walled gardens of device ecosystems, one off specialised devices and new interfaces. We are forced to travel across an archipelago of interaction as we attempt to navigate AppLand. Each island of interaction serves its purpose but transporting our data, interaction knowledge and experiences around AppLand can be a challenge. While no man is an island, some devices and applications certainly are as they maliciously attempt to keep their users, their data and hence their focus trapped. However, what was once a complex archipelago of dozens of islands, is about to become thousands for each of us as the waters of device fabrication, personalisation and the much discussed IoT rise.

What would it take for us to break the hegemony of Apps in AppLand? Perhaps our best approach is to simply help travellers move painlessly across the fragmented interaction landscape? Escaping AppLand won’t be easy,  today for many people digital technologies form the substrate of their existence and living without their mobile phone, social media apps and streaming music services seems unimaginable. In this talk we will discuss the visions of computing that have brought us to AppLand and what this means for HCI today and what it could mean in the future.

About: Aaron Quigley is a Professor and chair of Human Computer Interaction in the University of St Andrews in Scotland. His appointment is part of SICSA, in which he has served as deputy director for knowledge exchange and theme leader for multimodal interaction. Aaron is co-founder and director of SACHI (, the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group. Aaron has published over 140 internationally peer-reviewed publications including edited volumes, journal papers, book chapters, conference and workshop papers and holds 3 patents.  His research interests include surface and multi-display computing, human computer interaction, pervasive and ubiquitous computing and information visualisation. The AHRC, JISC, SFC, NDRC, EU FP7/FP6, SFI, Smart Internet CRC, NICTA, Wacom, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and MERL have all supported his research. In the previous five years before joining St Andrews he was an IBM CAS Visiting Scientist, UCD director of ODCSSS, coordinator for the EU FP7 support action CAPSIL, a researcher in Lero the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, a collaborator in CLARITY the Centre for Sensor Web Technologies and the UCD PI for Vizi (Dviz). In addition he was the principal investigator for the technology platform strand of the Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) Centre an Intel/IDA funded project. He is currently the ACM SIGCHI adjunct chair for specialised conferences and board member for ScotlandIS.