Tag Archives: human computer interaction

Leading figures in human computer interaction converge in Lincoln

The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta is the inspiration for this year’s British Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2015), hosted by the University of Lincoln, UK.

HCI 2015, which takes place from 13th-17th July, will focus on our ever-evolving digital society and the role interactive technology plays in mediating and communicating political views. A total of 220 delegates from 18 countries will be in attendance.

Organised by Lincoln’s Social Computing (LiSC) research centre, the conference is inspired by the anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215, an event viewed as an international cornerstone of liberty and one that challenged society’s relationship with authority

Director of LiSC, Professor Shaun Lawson said: “Lincoln is home to one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta and will take a major role in the 800th anniversary celebrations coinciding with our hosting of HCI 2015. The theme reflects the increasing public consciousness of how interactive technologies fundamentally affect our privacy, rights, and relationships with authority, government and commerce.

“This conference will set the agenda in the UK and internationally around the design of future interactive digital systems. The research community used to be interested in the use and design of a device, but now it’s more about the experience and the way digital technology affects our lives, including our political and democratic lives.”

The keynote speakers, Chris Csikszentmihalyi, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Cristina Leston-Bandeira and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, will discuss how Magna Carta is more relevant than ever in an age where interactive digital technology constantly shapes our lives and our relationships with each other, as well as those in authority.

Assange, for instance, has recently spoken about the Wikileaks’ claim that “top secret intelligence reports and technical documents” from the US National Security Agency (NSA) state it spied on communications by successive French Presidents from 2006-12.

Linda the robot stars on TV’s Gadget Man

A robot called Linda developed by computer scientists at the University of Lincoln, UK, has appeared on Channel 4’s Gadget Man.

In the fourth series of the technology show, presenter Richard Ayoade test-drives new technological devices designed to make life easier.

In an episode exploring the theme Health and Safety, aired at 8.30pm on Monday 22nd June, Ayoade tests security devices with actor Keith Allen and comedian Bill Bailey, including a post-apocalypse survival kit that also works at festivals.

Fearing that the world is a dangerous place for Gadget Man, Ayoade employs the services of Linda the robot to guard his home.

Linda, who is based in the School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln, is named after the city’s Roman roots as Lindum Colonia. The specialist mobile robot is currently being programmed to act intelligently in real-world environments, with the ultimate aim of being able to support security guards or staff in care homes.

She is one of six robots involved in the £7.2 million collaborative STRANDS project aimed at creating mobile robots that are able to operate independently, based on an understanding of 3D space and how this space changes over time.

Funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework programme (FP7), the research project involves six academic partners, a security company and an Austrian care home provider, where the technology will be tested.

The robots have just finished a month-long deployment at Haus der Barmherzigkeit care facility in Austria, as they continue to develop an understanding of how the world should appear and be able to identify deviations from their normal environment.

The trial tested how long the robots could autonomously complete simple tasks in a real-life hospital environment without human support. Beside frequent patrols through the corridors, the robots also guided visitors, residents and members of staff to offices or seminar rooms, and accompanied physio-therapeutic walking groups twice a week.

Linda’s TV debut is not her first high profile public appearance. The robot was also chosen to be part of Universities Week 2014 which aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities. She greeted and interacted with visitors to the Natural History Museum in London during the week-long event in June 2014.

Dr Marc Hanheide, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, who is working on the STRANDS project with colleague Professor Tom Duckett, said: “It’s fantastic that Linda is still getting out and about, as a key aim for this project is to show people how this sort of technology could help us in our everyday lives.”

To view the episode click here.

Linda on Gadget Man set

linda-on-gadget-man

 

Video games in care homes: connecting older adults, or exposing age-related vulnerability?

Introducing video games as a means of bringing older adults in long-term care together may not always be an easy task, according to new research.

Previous studies have shown the positive effects of motion-based video games, such as those available on the Nintendo Wii or Microsoft Kinect systems, on the cognitive, physical and emotional well-being of older adults in long-term residential care. However, offering stimulating and accessible leisure activities such as this can be difficult for care providers as the impact of age-related changes and impairments on residents grows.

A new study has for the first time examined the practical challenges and opportunities that arise when games are integrated into activities for different groups of older people living in long-term care facilities.

Dr Kathrin Gerling, from the School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln, UK, led the project, which was carried out in collaboration with Dr Regan Mandryk at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and Dr Conor Linehan at University College Cork, Ireland.

The study involved weekly gaming sessions over a three month period at two long-term care facilities: A senior residence offering independent and assisted living apartments for older adults, and a care facility that specialises in individuals with special needs, including older adults who experience age-related changes and impairments such as dementia or mobility disabilities. Games used in the study included custom-designed motion-based casual games along with Xbox 360 games mimicking the real-world, for example, bowling.

Dr Gerling said: “We were interested in the potential of games to engage older adults in long-term care in group activities. We looked at how people approached video games, to see if they stuck with it and found it enjoyable, and also to find out if this stimulated group activities and resulted in friendships. Players at the senior residence quickly understood how the games worked and it became an actual group activity. People formed relationships, took more ownership and adapted games to fit in with how they wanted to play. We found it more difficult to bring people together at the care home, mostly because of different age-related impairments. In some cases, players needed a lot of support from staff, and depended on them being able to attend gaming sessions.”

The findings suggest that older adults enjoyed playing video games, and that games can be a challenging and appealing activity that allow people to experience the feeling of accomplishing new skills later in life.

However, the extent to which people experience the benefit of gaming is determined largely by whether they have developed any disabilities linked to ageing. These changes may impact a person’s ability to engage with games for reasons beyond simple game accessibility, such as how much assistance they need to play, and whether they feel comfortable playing games in a group setting.

Dr Gerling said: “You always have a split of people who like playing video games and those who don’t, no matter what age. But older people learning to play new games in public may feel particularly uncomfortable if they are experiencing vulnerability over their age-related changes and impairments. Some older adults require extensive support, both to gain access to gaming sessions and throughout play.

“We need to make sure that video games created for older adults in long-term care are adaptive – there’s a fine line between challenging people and giving them something meaningful to accomplish, as opposed to doing harm. To be successful games need to engage players of all abilities and be tailored towards specific groups. It’s really important to be mindful of the context in which games will be played and be understanding of the individual abilities of the player. This is particularly important when evaluating the value of games for improving the quality of life, and when creating games with a purpose beyond entertainment, such as therapy and rehabilitation.”

The full research paper is being presented at CHI 2015 – the world’s leading conference in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) – which takes place in Seoul, Korea, from 18th to 23rd April 2015.

Dr Gerling’s future research will explore further how communities of older adults playing video games on a regular basis over prolonged periods of time evolve; and also focus on the benefits that video game play can have on well-being in late life.

The research has already featured in Nursing Times and GamePolitics.com


Wikileaks founder to speak at conference

Controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been invited to speak by the organisers of this year’s British Human Computer Interaction Conference to be held in Lincoln.

The previous editor-in-chief of the website WikiLeaks, which Assange also co-founded in 2006 after an earlier career in hacking and programming, will appear by video link on 17th July, 2015.

Organised by the University of Lincoln’s Social Computing research centre in conjunction with the BCS Interaction Specialist Group, the British Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2015) is inspired by the anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215, an event viewed as an international cornerstone of liberty and one that challenged society’s relationship with authority.

Taking place on the University’s Brayford Campus from 13th-17th July, the conference will focus on our ever-evolving digital society.

Director of Lincoln’s Social Computing research centre, Professor Shaun Lawson said: “The conference has invited Julian Assange to speak to delegates as he has a range of views, experiences and knowledge relevant to the conference themes of digital civics, online democracy and citizens’ relationships with authority and government.

“Experts in the field of human computer interaction who are investigating the role interactive technology plays in mediating and communicating political views will be joining Assange to discuss the topic. Researchers wanting to be involved or submit papers can find more information on the conference website.”

Lincoln is home to one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta and will take a major role in the 800th anniversary celebrations, coinciding with the city hosting HCI 2015.

Professor Lawson added: “The overarching conference theme reflects the increasing public consciousness of how interactive technologies fundamentally affect our privacy, rights, and relationships with authority, government and commerce.

“This conference will set the agenda in the UK and internationally around the design of future interactive digital systems. The research community used to be interested in the use and design of a device, but now it’s more about the experience and the way digital technology affects our lives, including our political and democratic lives.”

Lincoln’s Social Computing research centre is focussed on the social aspects of human-computer interaction (HCI). This includes investigations into how people engage with mobile and social platforms including online social networks, micro-blogging services, and social and pervasive games. Much of the group’s recent work is built upon the hypothesis that such technology can provide a compelling platform to deliver serious messages about societal issues, as well as interface between computing and the arts.

The centre’s grant income in the last five years totals around £1.5 million. Professor Lawson is currently leading a new research project that will investigate how social media can play its part in both inciting discrimination against and building understanding of marginalised communities. The CuRAtOR (Challenging online feaR And OtheRing) project, funded by a £750,000 grant from the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Empathy and Trust In Communicating ONline (EMoTICON) call, will focus on understanding how empathy and trust are developed, maintained, transformed and lost in social media interactions.

For more information on HCI 2015 please e-mail hci2015@bcs.org or visit the website