The Challenges of Using Biodata in Promotional Filmmaking @ TOCHI


After quite a significant lead time, we’ve finally published some of the results from the Vicarious project in the ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), in a paper called The Challenges of Using Biodata in Promotional Filmmaking. This paper draws on a lot of the work already seen here in this blog to unpack what is interesting and challenging about trying to apply the use of recorded biodata to film making – particularly to advertisements or promotional films. If you’d like to read the paper, you can find it here.

On Becoming A Counsellor @ CSCW15


Building on the work done with pubsense, Petr Slovak, Anja Tieme, Patrick Oliver, Geraldine Fitzpatrick and I have published “On Becoming a Counsellor: Challenges and Opportunities to Support Interpersonal Skills Training” at the 18th ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW15). This time we addressing the teaching of interpersonal skills for counsellors. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Vancouver in BC, Canada, CSCW this year was… well actually I wasn’t there, so I’ve no idea, but I imagine it was lovely, interesting, filled with fascinating papers etc. This project has been a lovely mix of international and interdisciplinary collaboration and one I’ve been thrilled to be a part of.

Pubsense @ NordiCHI


After a silly amount of Time, Petr Slovak and I have finally published our Pubsense study at NordiCHI this year. In this work we explored how empathetic people were when talking with their friends in pubs, by looking at skin conductance synchronisation. We were able to conclude that there was at least reactivity even if we couldn’t be sure it was empathy – though the context may suggest it. If you’d like to read the paper, it’s available here. It’s nice to see vicarious being used for something other than measuring thrill, and any research that can be done in a pub certainly scores points in my book. Shout out to The Johnson Arms for hosting us.


Vicarious @ KICSS2014


Today I presented Vicarious at the 9th International Conferences on Knowledge, Information and Creativity Support Systems, KICSS 2014 in Limassol Cyprus. Not the busiest room, but I raised some eyebrows. Lovely community though – met lots of nice and interesting people and saw some very interesting papers. Also, I had never been to Cyprus before. Good Food and still sunny in November? that’s a yes from me.

You can read the paper in the proceedings here if you’re interested, while I wait for its LNCS publication.

Mobile Interaction Does Not Exist @ Alt.CHI


Joe Marshall and I have just published a somewhat controversial paper at Alt.CHI 2013 (Part of CHI2013) in Paris. In it we suggest that there really is no such thing as mobile interaction, and that a whole school of interaction design needs to adjust to account for the fact that when people are actually moving, its incredibly difficult to interact with computing systems (see the picture above). Alt CHI is a great place to put discussion generating pieces, and this year was no exception. If you’d like to read it and see if you agree with us, you can find the paper here.

The presentation will go down in history as probably the only one in which the presenter (Joe) gaffer taped himself to the desk.

The Experiment Live @ alt.chi – “The Machine in the Ghost”

Just been giving my talk at alt.chi in the “physical love” session. This seems rather odd for a paper that’s essentially about fear, distress, anger and dead people and manages to mention both aliens and vampires…

I’m talking about our experience of broadcasting biodata and in particular ‘the experiment live’ from the mayhem horror film festival. I’ll be covering areas like how people react to biodata on screen – the differences between fake and real biodata, the fictional precedent for biomontoring as part of narrative (only allowed if you’re a marine apparently), and whether or not one can reliably “act” biodata.

This is a bit of an odd talk because I’ll be covering the technical problems we had on the night as well as the fabulous concept that it actually was. I’ll post up a link to the paper itself once they go online in the ACM digital library.

Anyway the presentation is available here

The talk seemed to go down well – lots of positive tweets about my references to Buffy and Aliens. Thanks to everyone who came.

The Experiment Live @ CHI 2012 Liveness Workshop

Today has been the first real external academic discussion of the work we did  with “the experiment live.” We published a work-in-progress paper to one of CHI’s workshops. The workshop is on ‘exploring CHI’s relationship with liveness” something apparently relevant since the experiment was indeed live. Interesting that most of the talks have been about live events/performances but the workshop activity is about “capturing” the live experience. This was instigated by giving us some cameras and sending us to CHI’s now legendary Geordie Party at a pub in downtown Austin, TX, giving us a frankly astonishing amount of free drink then asking us to video the thing we though would help to characterise the liveness of the event.

I suspect the result of this is likely to be a lot of shaky video of the early acts, which we will be editing together in the workshop. he party itself was pretty good, good bands, good people, tasty booze and a nice sense of camaraderie. Certainly that was there this morning as we all filtered into the workshop nursing a variety of states of hangover.

Anyway, the experiment talk seemed to go down fairly well, which is nice. Lots of other interesting stuff including Xth sense bio sensors (microphones to pick up muscle noise and turn it into music. That was Marco Donnarumma from U.Edinburgh’s sound tech lab and I’d very much like to get my hands on some of those sensors. Loads of people here from culture lab with an interesting mix of experience design and theory approaches.

Here’s a link to the paper.