Tecnologías de la Información y de Redes

Human-Computer Interaction

Proposta de tesi Investigadors/es Grup de Recerca

User-centered interaction design

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is organized around three main elements: design, technology and people. It mainly focuses on the definition, design and evaluation of interactive products, tools and systems from a user-centered perspective. Interaction design researchers explore, design, build and test interactive products and systems with user-experience goals in mind. HCI provides a set of models, methods and techniques to user centered interaction design research that take into account the design process and key activities such as user research, ideation, interaction definition, prototyping and user testing. This line explores research around interaction design processes and methods, interaction co-design, conversational interfaces, gesture interfaces or tangible interaction.

Dr Enric Mor

Mail:emor@uoc.edu

Dr Joan Soler-Adillon

Mail: jsoleradillon@uoc.edu

 

DARTS

Human-Computer Interaction and e-Learning

This research proposal is focused on the relationship between HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) and TEL (Technology-Enhanced Learning): how design and technology impact students and their learning. Interaction design and human-centered design can transform learning experiences and provide e-learning environments, learning resources and educational tools that take into account learners’ needs, wants and limitations. Therefore, this research proposal focuses on design, technology and learning in order to provide interactive and user-centered technology-enhanced learning. 

This research topic includes:

  • Interactive learning tools. CodeLab is an ongoing project that provides a laboratory learning tool for non-STEM students to learn to code where students learn by doing: they have a learning itinerary, explore how to solve problems, complete activities can discuss solutions and problems with peers or with teachers.
  • Conversational interfaces and chatbots for teaching and learning. How to design conversational interfaces for educational contexts? What should be the chatbot anatomy and behavior for teaching and learning settings? 
  • Embodied interaction in technology enhanced learning. How to design embodied interactive learning experiences in the context of e-learning and asynchronous and distance learning?

Dr Ana Elena Guerrero

Mail: aguerreror@uoc.edu

 

Dr Enric Mor Pera

Mail:emor@uoc.edu

 

TEKING

 

DARTS

Augmented and Virtual Reality
 
Augmented and Virtual Reality are more and more present in our personal and social lives. They define a new media, requiring real-time technologies where the interaction is essential, but also where the interface plays a key role, allowing 3D interaction in Immersive Virtual Environments. 
 
This research aims to focus not only on the technological aspects, but also on other aspects such as usability, ethical issues, or human factors. It intends to encompass all areas related to virtual reality (VR), including augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and 3D user interfaces (3DUIs).
 
Moreover, it focuses on advances and novelties in theories and methods but also on applying existing ideas to solve interesting problems with an innovative approach or on the experience learned from developing effective systems integrating such techniques and technologies.
 
Keywords: 3D User Interfaces, Augmented Reality, Avatars, Diversity and gender issues, Embodied agents, virtual humans and (self-)avatars, Ethical issues, Human factors and ergonomics, Immersive / 360° video, Immersive games, Immersive Virtual Environments, Perception and cognition, Presence, body ownership, and agency, User experience and usability, Virtual Reality. 
 
 

Dr Piere Bourdin

Mail: pbourdin@uoc.edu

GAME

Digital Making

Digital making’ is a keyword that is used regularly in discussions about technology education and it has a twofold meaning: “making digital things” and “making things using digital tools”.

Although the term is descriptive, creating artifacts with digital technology, the focus of its use encompasses everything from creating software and hardware using, through to designing and constructing physical objects using digital fabrication tools – CNC machines, 3D printers and laser cutters.
 
This research proposal pays special attention to the relationship between digital making and technical education for no STEM students, exploring the potential of digital making tools in order to nurture technical knowledge for digital creation such as creative coding, generative art and design and digital fabrication.
 

Dr Susanna Tesconi

Mail: stesconi@uoc.edu


 

 
Mussol

Use of new display technologies for eHealth applications

The phones and tablets that fit in our bags and pockets include technology that only a few years ago was not available to everyone. Technology such as digital cameras or high resolution displays are becoming more and more sophisticated, and have a great potential to be used in clinical applications. We are aiming to explore the possibilities to use these novel and affordable technologies as an alternative to some medical tests. At the moment, ophthalmologists need specific equipment for some common tests. This equipment may not be available to everyone, depending on socioeconomic factors.

In particular, in this project, we are interested in the use of immersive displays and pupil tracking technologies as an alternative for conventional ophthalmic equipment.
 

Dr David Merino

Mail: dmerinoar@uoc.edu


Dr Pierre Bourdin

Mail: pbourdin@uoc.edu

 

GAME

AIWELL Lab

Critical Interaction Design, Artifacts and Interactive Art

This research proposal focuses on critical interaction design in order to explore functional, non-functional, aesthetic, cultural, speculative and political dimensions of interfaces. 

Speculative, critical and discursive design constitute the methodological approaches to explore critical interaction design. The research in this area includes discursive, contextual and analytical research and also prototyping, development and building artifacts as means to test ideas and validate hypotheses.

This research topic includes interactive media archaeology; interaction for social good and justice vs. dark patterns and surveillance capitalism; measuring agency on interactive artifacts and/or conversational interfaces; user-centered interaction design in interactive media art.

Dr Enric Mor Pera

Mail:emor@uoc.edu

Dr Joan Soler-Adillon

jsoleradillon@uoc.edu

 

DARTS
Games, choices and fiction: Teaching ethics through interactive experiences
 
Fictional narratives are powerful tools that can evoke a plethora of genuine emotions in their audience --both positive, like engagement and joy, as well as negative, like sadness and anger. Beyond their purpose as entertainment products, fictional narratives in books, movies, or theatre plays have been used, among other things, as a way of exposing certain historical and social injustices, or as a way of giving visibility to certain experiences that would be otherwise hard to grasp by the general public. In this sense, fictional narratives can use the audience's empathy and attachment to the fiction (and the characters that live in it) to foster reflection on those topics.
 
Interactive narratives like digital games have an important difference, with regards to other forms of media: they allow participants to make choices that can affect how the narrative evolves. In this sense, interactive narratives allow the appearance of the so-called "moral emotions", such as pride, or guilt, which do not appear in other forms of media where the participant plays a passive role. When moral emotions appear, ethical reflection can be prompted in order to evaluate and make sense of a choice, their consequences, or the principles underlying that decision. Some examples of games that are often praised for being able to trascend the fictional setting and prompt for the player's own ethical reflection are the Fallout series, Papers, please, or Undertale, to name a few. In this sense, interactive narratives featuring choices that feel meaningful to the players, and in which players form attachment with their fictional characters, can be used as a powerful way of prompting reflection and training ethical competencies that would be hard to convey otherwise.
 
Some features are key in order for this kind of subjective reflection to appear in the player: meaningful choices and attachment. On the one hand, choices available within the interactive experience must feel meaningful to the player (that is: they should not feel arbitrary, or irrelevant), and they must bear consequences with them; otherwise, the players feel they have no control, and so they detach from their active role. On the other hand, the players should feel some kind of attachment towards the fictional world and the characters inhabiting it; otherwise, why care about what happens to them? Nevertheless, and although these features are necessary, they are often not sufficient to prompt genuine ethical reflection to the players. While, in some cases, players do "care" about the fictional world, and thus ethical sensitivity and learning can occur in them, in other cases they do not become engaged enough to reach this layer of personal ethical reflection. Exploring and understanding what distinguishes those cases is also paramount in order to design interactive experiences aimed at prompting ethical sensibilization and reflection to their users.
 
This research line will study how digital games (be them purely digital, or complemented by some sort of physical support) and interactive narratives can be used as a tool to foster and enhance ethical reflection and sensitivity, thus promoting and complementing the learning and training of ethical competencies. This study can accommodate different projects related to the way interactive narratives can be used with this aim, and can be more focused on establishing design considerations around these kind of experiences, on exploring the role of the player within them, or on comparing different approaches in an experimental setting.
 
[1] Casas-Roma, J., Arnedo-Moreno, J. (2019). Characterizing Morality Systems through the Lens of Fallout. DiGRA’19 – Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix, pp. 1-16.
 
[2] Casas-Roma, J., Nelson, M. J., Arnedo-Moreno, J., Gaudl, S., Saunders, R. (2019). Towards simulated morality systems: Role-playing games as artificial societies. Proceedings of the International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence (vol. 1), pp. 244-251. ISBN 978-989-758-350-6.
 
[3] Heron, M., & Belford, P. (2014). ‘It’s only a game’—ethics, empathy and identification in game morality systems. The Computer Games Journal, 3(1), 34-53.
 
[4] Sicart, M. (2013). Moral dilemmas in computer games. Design Issues, 29(3), 28-37.
 
[5] Zagal, J. P. (2009). Ethically Notable Videogames: Moral Dilemmas and Gameplay. In Proceedings of the DiGRA conference.
 
 
Mail: jcasasrom@uoc.edu
 
 
Mail: jconesac@uoc.edu
 
 
Mail: scaballe@uoc.edu
 
 
Co-design of open source educational material
 
La proposta de tesi s'emmarca en l'àmbit del digital making i cerca generar investigacions finalitzades al disseny i fabricació de materials educatius de codi obert mitjançant l'ús de tecnologies CAD/CAM.
 
Les investigacions s'iniciaran en col·laboració amb el professorat de centres educatius i es duran a terme amb dinàmiques de co-disseny. El codi font dels productes i tota la informació necessària a la fabricació estaran publicats en obert i podran ser descarregats per a la seva fabricació per qui hi estigui interessat.
 

Dr Susanna Tesconi

Mail: stesconi@uoc.edu

Mussol
Artistic Research in Interactive and Immersive Media
 
Digital art is not only ideally placed to explore these new spaces, but very necessary in order to have approaches, strategies and responses to it that go beyond established and commodified practices, and offer alternatives that aim at pushing these possibilities not for commercial profit but for creativity and towards a more positive impact on society. Currently focusing on the liminal territory between the virtual and the real created by digital technologies, the DARTS research group is invested, through this research line, in looking at the potential of practice-based and artistic research.
 

Dr Joan Soler-Adillon

jsoleradillon@uoc.edu

DARTS