Workshops - Panels

Exploring Opportunities of Tabletop Interfaces for Promoting and Analysing Collaboration

Organizers: Hoorieh Afkari, Valérie Maquil, Dimitra Anastasiou

Shared interfaces such as multi-touch tables and tangible tabletop interfaces were found to mediate and support collaboration. With this work, we present an interactive tabletop mediated environment called Orbitia, which induces participants’ face-to-face collaboration in the context of a joint problem solving activity. We discuss how interactive tabletops can elicit users in applying and progressively refining their collaboration strategies

This workshop aims to provide opportunities for learning about the design details and rationale behind different features and elements of such applications. 

Participants, after knowing about the fundamental aspects of collaboration in such context, will develop and reflect their ideas through crafting and prototyping. They will further learn how to test and evaluate the data collected in the context of tabletop mediated joint problem-solving activities.

A Workshop on Embodied Vocal Tangible Conversational Agents: a Human Computer Interaction Approach

Organizers: Mira El Kamali, Marine Capallera, Omar Abou Khaled, Leonardo Angelini, Elena Mugellini

In order to design a tangible interface, we need to design the digital aspect but also most importantly the physical aspect that will eventually become the new challenge for design and HCI. On the other side, vocal conversational agents are becoming very popular since the development of NLP and the richness of known vocal assistants such as Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Google Assistant. 

This workshop focuses on combining the vocal interaction with tangible interaction and thus exploring different embodied vocal conversational agents with tangible aspects and see the different tangible designs and challenges of a vocal conversational agent.

During the workshop, the participants will engage in practical application. The objective of the activity is twofold:

  • Identify the necessary characteristics that a conversational agent must possess in order to qualify as tangible
  • Design a tangible embodied and vocal conversational agent according to a predefined situation

Participants will be asked to brainstorm in groups about the concept of having a vocal conversational agent embedded in a physical device with tangible capabilities. The workshop consists of designing the form of the physical device, the tangibility aspect and properties of the vocal assistant and the kind of interactions users can have with this embodied conversational agent.

In order to center discussion around concrete cases, participants will be divided into two groups where each group will have a different situation to tackle. The first situation will concern the use of an agent in daily life at home. The second situation will concern the use of the agent in a semi-autonomous car.

Crafting Tangible Interactions

Organizer: Erica Vannucci

As Tangible Interaction (TI) is a research field working at the intersection of the physical and the digital, seems valuable to have a close look at domains that are trying to negotiate their place between these two fields such as, for example, the one of digital craftsmanship.

This workshop suggests that looking closely to craftsmanship practices and unpacking the values craft practitioners have over materiality, techniques and processes, could enrich our knowledge on human-values providing useful nuances that could be used when designing future tangible interactions.

While today the digital is ubiquitous and many interaction designers focus on designing manual or digital processes faster, more precise, ascribed, repeatable and replicable, there is a strong counterposing standpoint looking for site-specific, volatile and unique interactions, that aligns more with hand-making, crafting values. 

During the workshop, participants will collectively reflect and discuss on how craftsmanship characteristics and sensitivities could be valued and included more in the design of future tangible interactions. The participants will produce a prototype or a creative concept throughout the workshop therefore they will be encouraged to use paper, colours, videos, pictures or any creative material in a broader sense that could convey their ideas.

The concluding bit will revolve around the following question:

Did thinking through the eyes of a craftsperson bring any added value to the way in which we can think of tangible interactions and human values in relation to craftsmanship?

Tangible interactions in Virtual Reality environments

Organizers: Matteo Sirizzotti, Flavio Lampus, Simone Guercio, Patrizia Marti, Alessandro Innocenti

Virtual Reality (VR) provides opportunity for immersive experiences in several fields of application, in particular in training and entertainment. Integrating tangible interaction with virtual environments that mimic real world situations can provide a tremendous enrichment to the user experience. Indeed, one of the main barriers to VR immersion is the use of fixed controllers with poor affordance. Touching, grasping, pushing, squeezing, if executed with common controllers are unnatural, impractical and sometimes frustrating. 

This workshop aims to engage a reflection on possible ways to integrate tangible interactions in virtual reality scenarios. Specifically, the workshop includes a bodystorming session and rapid prototyping to ideate new concepts of controllers and tangible objects to be used in VR applications to enhance and enrich the interaction possibilities.