Participation at the DIS conference 2019

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Professor Alma Leora Culén and PhD candidate Jorun Børsting from DIGENT together with Assistant Professor William Odom from Simon Fraser University, wrote the paper entitled “Mediating Relatedness for Adolescents with ME: Reducing Isolation through Minimal Interactions with a Robot Avatar”. Jorun and Alma presented the work at the ACM conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2019, in San Diego this June.

The paper explored strategies for technology design to support relatedness and reduce the sense of isolation among adolescents suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. This health condition reduces normal functioning severely, including the ability to be social. More on the condition, for interested readers is here. A robot avatar was placed in the lives of ill adolescents for about a year, which provided an incredibly rich set of data and insights. Based on the findings, the authors propose a set of strategies to design technologies that support relatedness with a minimal level of interactivity and engagement. The paper is available online.

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The paper presentation at DIS (photo: Will Odom)

DIS is the premier international and interdisciplinary conference encompassing a wide range of issues related to the design and deployment of interactive systems. The conference brings together researchers, designers, artists, systems engineers, and anyone involved in the design of interactive systems to debate and shape the future of interaction systems research, design, and practice. The theme for DIS 2019 was Contesting Borders and Intersections, aiming to explore the frictions, separation and margins in conjunction with opportunities and imaginaries of possible alternatives.

The conference had a number of very interesting workshops and Jorun and Alma had joint papers on two of them. One of the workshops had the theme Exploring, Defining, & Advancing Community-Driven Design for Social Impact and was organized by Eric Hekler, Jennifer Taylor, Steven Dow, M.C. Schraefel, Sayali Phatak, Don Norman, Faren Grant and Dana Lewis. Their position paper was entitledCommunity Involvement in Social Innovation for Health”. The second workshop was on A sample of One: First-person Research Methods in HCI and was organized by Andrés Lucero, Audrey Desjardins, Carman Neustaedter, Kristina Höök, Marc Hassenzahl and Marta Cecchinato. Their position paper was “SlowBreath: First-Person Research for Self-Management of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis”.

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The Community Building Workshop (photo: DIS staff)