FIT Lab News Archive

Summer Fun

31 July 2017

After another busy few months of travel for many, we are all enjoying the start of the summer by attending graduation last week. This year, during the run up to the CHI deadline, we will be super busy organising Mobile HCI in Vienna. As well as charing many of this year's events, we have also had good success with papers; one full, one short and a DC contribution. We've been so busy organising that we forgot to report on our activities and successes over the past few months, including two honourable mentions and the best case study award at this year's CHI, and our talk on the future of screen displays at the Hay Festival!

CHI 2017 Win!

14 February 2017

After our successful run of CHI papers last month we are happy to announce further success in the form of a Case Study and several Late Breaking works :-) See you in Denver in May!

New Year - New Adventures!

01 February 2017

Hello all! Happy new year to everyone! Just as we are beginning to get ready for the new academic semester we are also planning for a very busy year in the FIT Lab. This month we have said goodbye to Parisa who has left to join the software academy in Cardiff and are getting used to many new members who are settling in to our little FIT Lab family: Deepak, Alena, Tom and Thomas. We have had some success at CHI 2017 with several papers and have our fingers crossed for the work-in-progress' and case study we have under review. In other news, the Maker Space is in its final stages of health and safety and should be open very soon! Exciting times! Keep checking back for more news from the FIT Lab - bye for now!

It's been a while

24 November 2016

So it turns out we've been so busy in the last few months that we haven't even had time to tell you all about it! There has been a lot of action over the summer in the FIT Lab including a lot of international fieldwork and plenty of paper writing. We are pleased to announce several journal and conference acceptances and are keeping our fingers crossed that our CHI paper rebuttals do their job! In the last few months we have started new grants, welcomed new lecturers and had some of our deformable devices work covered on BBC Click and Reuters, amongst others. We can't slow down now though, as the run up to Christmas is also conference season - this year the FIT Lab will be represented at the first annual AfriCHI conference in Nairobi, Kenya and this year's IndiaHCI in Mumbai, India. And all before the year is out!

Off to CHI

25 April 2016

We’ve had another very busy few months here as always - most of the lab will be attending CHI 2016 in San Jose, USA to present 2 papers (one of which won an honourable mention), a course and a workshop. Hope to see you there!

Merry Christmas!

16 December 2015

Merry Christmas from the FIT Lab! As we are getting ready to take some time off for the festive season, we are quietly reflecting on our achievements over the last few months. While some of us have been jetting off to far away places to conduct field research, others have been here getting stuck in to the new teaching year. November saw the 33rd annual Gregynog Colloquium with a record number of third year students in attendance and we were pleased to run the Maker competition again - this year opening it to the whole of the College of Science. Well done to all the winners. And last, but not least, no end of year post would be complete without a report on our CHI success: we are pleased to announce the acceptance of two full papers and a course on interaction design for life at CHI 2016 - see you in San Jose!

Busy busy!

30 September 2015

We’ve had another very busy few months here - with most of the lab attending CHI in Seoul, South Korea to present 3 papers, 2 work-in-progress, 1 course and 1 workshop. Since then we’ve been working hard writing papers for next year’s CHI in San Jose, as well as heading out to Copenhagen for MobileHCI and being awarded £1million from EPSRC for a new project on deformable displays. We’ve also, sadly, said goodbye to several FIT Lab members over the past few months, as we’ve seen Liam and Tom graduate, and the CHI Med project come to an end, waving off Patrick, Karen, Huawei and Gerrit to brighter shores elsewhere. Good luck to all!

Back-to-back hack week!

01 April 2015

Plant Hack winners and organisers
Ready, set, HACK! The FIT Lab have organised and attended two hacks last week! Last Monday kicked off with a Plant hackathon held in Emmanuel College, Cambridge which was all about encouraging richer, physical interactions with social media to promote sustainability. Not only did we run this hack, but we also submitted a team who won a runner up prize for the best story.

After this great event, Patrick, Gerrit and Jen then accompanied 10 undergraduate students to the Chapter Art centre in Cardiff for a BBC run newsHACK. The two teams (Oxwich and Rhosilli) comprised of: Stuart Watson, Priya Patel, Cameron Steer, Matheus Fernandez-Torquato, Riza Gulsen, Kristoffer Page, Peter Jenkins, Mathew Lloyd, Kajal Grant-Hindocha and Jonathan Bailey. We are also pleased to announce that our two teams won 3 out of the 4 prizes available, including the prize for overall best hack! The lucky winners won a trip to London to visit the BBC connected studios! Well done teams!

Teams Rhosilli and Oxwich at the BBC news hack in Cardiff

Liam Appears on BBC Radio Wales

20 February 2015

Liam Betsworth competed in The Big Welsh Idea Innovation Challenge yesterday. The Dragons Den style contest was hosted by Jason Mohammed as part of BBC Radio Wales's "The Big Welsh Idea" day. Well done Liam! Check it out!

So much news!

09 February 2015

So it's been a very busy couple of months! Lots of research being done - this year's CHI acceptance in the lab is at a high with full papers from Karen/Patrick and Jen/Simon/Matt, a note from Tim/Matt, a course from Jen/Simon and WIPs from Cameron and Liam. The 2nd annual Maker competition was a success as was this year's undergraduate colloquium at Gregynog. And last, but not least, we are celebrating Mat Wilson's successful viva defence! Phew! The excitement continues, though, as we wait on viva dates for Jon, Emma and Liam over the next few months...

ThingsCon Win!

03 August 2014

Gerrit, Callum, Lewis and Cameron at ThingsCon in Berlin
In May Gerrit and three of our undergraduate students, Callum Dicker, Lewis Edwards and Cameron Steer (who is currently one of our intern students!) attended the Things conference in Berlin. The universitys media centre just published their travel report.

Summer is here

15 July 2014

Gil and Jake Marsden visit the FIT Lab
Yesterday we were delighted to welcome --- all the way from South Africa --- Gil and Jake Marsden to the FIT Lab. Gil is visiting Swansea for a week with her two lovely children Holly and Jake while on Sabbatical here in the UK. The weather has not been perfect, but we are have really enjoyed hosting the family of the dearly missed Gary Marsden and wish them well as they prepare for the next stage of their 3 month trip. In other news, we have been making connections with the University of Grenoble in France this week after a visit by Matt, Jen, Simon and Parisa to Laurance Nigay's team. And we are currently in last minute preparations for the Digital Democracy workshop being held in Cardiff on Monday. See the eventbrite page for more information on this event!

Another Dr? Are we great or what?!

30 June 2014

Dr. Tom Owen celebrating his viva success!
Yet more congratulations are due today as Tom has passed his PhD viva! Thanks to all that came out to celebrate with us last night - congratulations Dr. Owen!

Congratulations to all!

26 June 2014

This month sees some exciting news in the FIT Lab. First off, we are happy to announce that the CHI Med team has won the GE Healthcare Award for Outstanding Impact in Health and Wellbeing --- Well done Harold and everyone else involved. We are also very happy to accept several substantial grant incomes, including an 80,000 Welsh government grant for local business big data work, a 15,000 EPSRC sustainable network grant for a hackathon and a 892,000 EPSRC grant on blue skies mobile interfaces. More congratulations to come though as we welcome Gerrit back from LeadIn's User Experience in Life Science Seminar in Finland where he won the most influential presentation prize! Finally, we would like to welcome our new 2nd year intern students Cameron and Jos to the FIT Lab. It's sure to be a fun summer ahead - keep checking back for more exciting news!

Busy Busy!

22 May 2014

Matt announcing the start of CHI 2014 in Toronto, Canada
There has been a lot going on this month in the FIT Lab. Last week Matt, Simon, Jen and Liam returned from CHI 2014 in Toronto where Matt was the general chair. The whole event went very well - we presented two papers, wrote the website and met Margret Atwood! Meanwhile, Tom, Tim, Matt Roach and Phil attended a BBC hackathon in Dublin, Patrick attended a NASA conference in Houston and Gerit presented at ThingsCon in Berlin! Its not even the end of the month and we are already saying another farewell - this time to Liam who is off to Manchester to do an Internship at the BBC for 2 months.

13 April 2014

IIT Bombay
Over the last week we have welcomed back Matt, Jen and Simon from a research visit to India that involved meetings at Microsoft Research, Xerox and IBM. They also held several user study sessions in IIT Bombay as part of evaluations with their AudioCanvas application. While welcoming the India group back, we said farewell to Patrick, who is visiting Stanford Research Institute for 2 months. Patrick will be continuing his work on the CHI-Med project, which involves formal verification of interactive devices. He will be visiting SRI with one of our colleagues from Queen Mary University, London. We can also congratulate Harold on his recent success with his EPSRC funded project Discipline Hopping into Healthcare. More about this grant can be read here.

Swansea Raspberry Pi Jam

18 March 2014

The Raspberry Pi Jam at the Techhub in Swansea
At the first Swansea Raspberry Pi Jam on 8 March 2014, Gerrit gave a talk on how to connect a Rasberry Pi to an Arduino using two wireless modules. The event took place at the TechHub and was open to members of the public. There is a full write-up of the event by the event organiser, Douglas Gore

BBC User Experience Research Partnership

11 March 2014

Post-lunch beach walk
As part of our User Experience Research Partnership, we hosted several members of the BBC R&D staff. Some notable outcomes were a summer internship for Liam, a BBC co-supervised PhD for Tim and potentially exploring the use of formal HCI in user experience modelling and evaluation at the BBC.

User Experience Workshop

19 February 2014

Jen demonstrating the Audio Canvas app
Today, Swansea's TechHub hosted a half-day workshop on the importance of user experience to local developers and technology start-ups in Swansea. Tom, Matt, Simon and Jen gave presentations and highlighted our research on user experience in the developing world. Tom will be running a series usability workshops for software developers later this year.

In Memory

03 February 2014

Gary Marsden at CHI 2011
Everyone in the FIT Lab was deeply saddened to learn of the news of Gary Marsden's sudden death just after Christmas. Gary was an inspirational figure in the area of ICT4D and HCI, co-author of Matt's book Mobile Interaction Design and a good friend. We are all going to miss him greatly. Last week, Matt, Simon and Jen went to Cape Town to visit his family and attend his memorial. For more thoughts about Gary, please see Susan Dray's blog on Remembering Gary Marsden.

Maker Competition Exhibition

16 December 2013

Team Note Cube, 2013 winners
This year, on October 9th, the Computer Science Department at Swansea University launched the Maker Competition. The competition challenged our undergraduate students to explore the future of interaction using computing elements like Arduinos, Raspberry Pis and Makey Makey kits. After two months of tinkering, making, coding and soldering, our students exhibited their work last Thursday 12th December. Congratulations the teams behind Note Cube, Tweety Pi and Wobble Wire who won the top three prizes.

Startup Weekend

27 November 2013

Two of our FITLab members, Gerrit and Parisa, attended the first Welsh Startup Weekend from 22 to 24 November 2013 at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea. A total of 10 teams spent 54 hours building their ideas into products and business models to pitch to a panel of judges on the Sunday evening. Gerrits team developed a surfing diary mobile app called Johnny on the Spot (2nd place) and Parisas team developed an educational video game called BubblEd (3rd place). The top 2 teams from each Startup Weekend are invited to the Global Startup Battle Champions Circle, so Johnny on the Spot will compete against the top international teams in the next round.

Scaling the Rural Enterprise - Indian Visitors

27 November 2013

StRE Visitors - November 2013
Today we hosted some important visitors from India and Nottingham as part of the Scaling the Rural Enterprise project. After spending all yesterday visiting a rural community in Cardigan, we are making a fleeting visit to Swansea before heading off to learn about the edible flower market in London!

Viva time!

21 November 2013

Another cause for congratulations this week as we see Dan Craggs pass his MPhil viva - well done Dan! Also this week, members of the FIT Lab have been working hard writing rebuttals for CHI 2014 in Toronto. Good luck everyone! Don't forget to keep using the FIT Lab charity tuck shop - thanks to everyone's support we were able to donate 100 to the Philippines typhoon appeal.

Exciting new book available now!

13 November 2013

The latest book to add to the FIT Lab's publication list is "Designing for Digital Reading" by Jen, Harold and our former member, George. If you're a student, interaction designer, or just fancy reading about how reading has evolved from primitive stone tablets through to modern slate eReaders, then this is the book for you. Available to buy now from Amazon.

FIT Lab at BBC #newsHACK 2013

21 October 2013

Last week the FIT Lab attended the BBC Connected Studios and BBC News Labs #newshack "hackathon" in Shoreditch, London. The event saw 150 people, participating in teams, from many organisations, including: BBC, The Times, Financial Times, Independent, LondonLive, The Guardian, The Mirror, SKY News., Mozilla, Dennis Publishing plus several Universities. These teams completed 26 hacks (prototypes), and there were winners in 7 categories, judged by an independent panel. Although we didn't win anything - we had a great time participating and chatting with other groups at the event. FIT Lab's hack - which we named timevine, visualises storylines, people, places and links within BBC news articles over time. A link to the hack can be found here.

Travelling Again!

10 September 2013

It's been another busy month for the FIT Lab as conference season is upon us. Kicking off in style with Mobile HCI 2013 in Munich where Jen, Simon and Matt got an honourable mention for their full paper. Followed by INTERACT 2013 in Cape Town attended by Patrick, Liam, Jen and Parisa where the FIT Lab presented a total of 5 papers. Harold and Abi have been in Philadelphia for ICHI 2013 where Harold gave a keynote and Gerrit has been in LA for the mHealth training institute!

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. James

07 August 2013

Emma and Phil James
More congratulations were in order this week as many of the FIT Lab were in St. Donats castle celebrating the marriage of Emma Thom to Phil James from the theoretical computer science group!

Some Fun and Celebrations!

12 July 2013

Graduation 2013

There's been a lot going on in the FIT Lab recently. We've been lucky enough to spend some time with Chitra and her son Avy (right) when they came to visit Swansea this week. We've also all been busy making the most of the good weather. Last Thursday we had a charity picnic in the park (left) and we are pleased to report that we made 100 which - along with the proceeds from the tuck shop - makes a total of 350 for Singleton High Dependency Unit! Also this week we've been congratulating Simon and Helen on their graduation in the Brangwyn Hall (top) and next week some FIT Lab members will be heading north to Salford Quays to attend the launch of the User Experience Research Partnership (UXRP) organised by the BBC!


04 July 2013

A pleasant surprise for FITLabbers this week as we welcome Carlos back for a fleeting visit on his way to Wimbledon. Nice to see you Carlos! Also this week we extend our congratulations to Dan Craggs who has submitted his MPhil Thesis and to the FIT Lab's newest member Huawei Tu - Welcome Huawei :-). In other news, we engaged in some very interesting discussions about the future of the FIT group and the department as a whole at the research away day in the Marriott hotel today.

Cest la vie!

09 May 2013

Now that we have all had time to recover from all the excitement of CHI in Paris, we can share with you some of the highlights of the trip including Matts handover ceremony at the closing plenary (right) and Harolds interactive best paper talk (left). Theres no time to rest now though as most of us are already thinking about our next conference trips including MobileHCI in Munich and Interact in Cape Town! It will be a busy and exciting summer and dont forget if youre around the FIT Lab and fancy a snack pop in to our charity tuck shop!

Congratulations to Gerrit and Margriet

09 May 2013

Gerrit and Margriet
The FIT Lab would like to congratulate Gerrit on his marriage to Margriet on Wednesday! Lots of fun and awkward but enthusiastic dancing was had by all! Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Neizen!

FIT Lab at CHI 2013

21 April 2013

It will be very quiet in the lab next week as most of the FIT Lab will be attending CHI 2013 in Paris. Its our busiest CHI to date in fact Karen and the CHI med team are hosting a workshop with accepted papers from Tom and Gerrit while we are also celebrating Harold winning a CHI best paper! Liam and Emma are student volunteers; Matt will be sitting on a panel; Emma and Yukang have accepted WIP papers and, last but not least, we will watch as Matt takes the baton to become CHI 2014s general chair! Phew! Meanwhile, back at home, the undergraduate project fair will be taking place good luck to all our FIT Lab students!

Com-me Launch

21 March 2013

So we have been super busy over the last month organizing the launch of our com-me toolkit in Cape Town, South Africa. We are pleased to report that the workshop was well attended and spurred a lot of interesting discussion about community-generated media in low-resource rural settings. Go us! In fact, we have been so busy we almost forgot to report on our successful Beating Bowel Cancer donation last month we raised a fantastic 150 for the charity! Thanks to everyone for their support. This months charity will be the Singleton Hospital ITU watch this space for more information about upcoming charity events and dont forget about the FIT Lab tuck shop!

Bake Sale Win!

21 February 2013

This weeks FIT Lab bake sale has raised a fantastic 75 for the beating bowel cancer charity! Thanks to everyone for all their support. Remember that we have an on-going tuck shop in the lab for anyone who fancies a snack! All donations go to a good cause!

The Future of Research in Wales

13 February 2013

On the 1st of March the University is holding a "Future of Research in Wales" event in the Taliesin Arts Centre. Join Alyson Thomas, Head of Research, Innovation and Engagement and Linda Tiller, Senior Research Manager from HEFCW, together with Professor Noel Thompson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Professor Javier Bonet, Head of the College of Engineering and the Colleges Director of Research to consider and discuss the dynamics of the changing research climate. Highlights of this event include:

Monday 25 February: 11.00 12.30 Professor Andrew Blake, Microsoft Distinguished Scientist & Laboratory Director, Microsoft Research Cambridge, "Building a Machine that Sees": Taliesin Arts Centre

Tuesday 26 February: 18.30 20.00 Professor Harold Thimbleby, Swansea University and Professor Ross Koppel, University of Pennsylvania, "Unsafe in Any Bed": Taliesin Arts Centre

Wednesday 27 February: 10.00 12.00 DRI Masterclass, "Strategies for securing your first major research funding": DRI Seminar Room, Faraday Tower

Friday 1 March: 08.15 09.30 Siwan Davies, Tudur Hallam, Harold Thimbleby, Ness Burholt, Steve Conlan, Ceri Phillips, Heaven Crawley, "Porridge with the Professor": Council Chamber, Singleton Abbey

Friday 1 March: 11.00 12.15 HEFCW, Professor Noel Thompson & Professor Javier Bonet, "The Future of Research in Wales": Taliesin Arts Centre

More details about this event can be found at:

FIT Lab Charities

12 February 2013

The FIT Labs latest endeavor is to start organizing charitable events within the department to raise money for good causes. Each month we will be picking a new charity to support - there is a box next to the coffee machine in the FIT Lab if you want to donate. We will also be organising fundraising events throughout the year which we hope you will all consider supporting. We are kicking off in February with the charity Beating Bowel Cancer and a bake sale in the FIT Lab on February 18th. In addition to this, we also have a selection of sweets and snacks available in the FIT Lab all with a suggested donation all proceeds go to the charity of the month! We hope to count on your support! More information on the FIT Lab Charity Events can be found here

Happy New Year!

25 January 2013

Gregynog Colloquium 2013
Welcome to 2013! And we have started the new year off with a bang by attending our annual undergraduate colloquium in Gregynog! Lots of fun was had by all including some great presentations, a Dilbert inspired programming competition and extreme football in the snow! More photos from this event can be found on the FIT Lab flickr stream. Theres no rest now though as it is deadline time again with many of us getting ready to submit to INTERACT, MobileHCI and ICTD. Watch this space for more exciting news from the FIT Lab over the coming weeks! Happy New Year!

Visitor from IBM India

16 November 2012

Nitendra from IBM Research
Today we welcomed Nitendra Rajput- a visitor from IBM Research, New Delhi. Nitendra is an expert on the Spoken Web and has been working closely with us on the EPSRC funded Scaling the Rural Enterprise project. Although it was a fleeting visit, we hope to see him in Swansea again soon!

Distinguished lectures and Research Seminars!

13 November 2012

This month we are delighted to welcome Gregory Abowd from Georgia Tech who is going to give a distinguished lecture on Computing and Autism. More information on this can be found on the Seminars page. We are also excited about another famous face giving a talk in the department - Professor Alan Dix on November 19th!. Also this month Tom and Patrick are off to Bradford for the Balancing Creativity and Evidence for Patient Safety conference and some of us are busy writing our CHI rebuttals. Best of luck all!

Congratulations Helen

13 November 2012

Today we can add another of our group to the FIT lab alumni after celebrating Helens successful PhD defence! Congratulations Dr. Dodd.


15 October 2012

FIT Lab at Mobile HCI 2012
There has been a lot going on this past month with many FIT lab members returning from their travels. Earlier in September we welcomed Liam back from his 2 month internship at IBM Research, New Delhi where he was met by Simon and Jen who were out there on a similar project. Patrick was also away this month at Fun and Games 2012 in Toulouse, France and Tom and Karen have just returned from Beijing, China on a new research grant! Also in September, Matt, Simon, Jen and Emma attended Mobile HCI 2012 in San Francisco, USA! Its been a busy few weeks but its not over yet as the CHI Med team are already off again, this time for a research meeting in Winchester.

Back to School

03 September 2012

Its been a busy summer of visitors, conferences and travelling but now its time to settle back into teaching. With the new academic year fast approaching we will be welcoming new student recruits to the FIT lab as well as a new lecturer. Also this month we will be hosting ICD4D expert and co-author of Mobile Interaction Design, Gary Marsden! For more information on this event see our Seminars page.


13 August 2012

We are sad to announce that our resident Mexican, Carlos has left Swansea and returned home to start a new business venture. He will be missed. In other news this month we said a temporary goodbye to Liam Betsworth who is currently in New Delhi, India doing a 3 month work placement at IBM and we congratulate Harold who has become a grandfather for the first time!

More Celebrations

01 August 2012

This week we have had more celebrations in the lab after celebrating Simon successfully defending his thesis in his viva on Monday. Congratulations Dr. Robinson! In the last month several of us also attended the summer graduation ceremony as well as receiving good news on yet more paper acceptances keep visiting the notice board in the lab to read our recent publications!

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Loizides

20 June 2012

Fernando and Basia
Last weekend several of the lab were in Cyprus celebrating the marriage of our friend and ex-colleague Fernando to his beautiful fianc Basia. Lots of fun had by all. Congratulations Guys!

Community Generated Media Toolkit

18 June 2012

On July 3rd the Community Generated Media project (CGM) is holding a half-day workshop at the Royal Geographical Society in London where we will be launching two toolkits that provide innovative approaches to user-generated content. Spaces for this free event are still available, but limited so register to attend quickly to ensure your place! More information on this event can be found at the CGM website

Busy Busy

11 June 2012

Ben and Jenny
So this week we are very busy entertaining some HCI VIPs. Yesterday we were treated to a fantastic distinguished lecture by Ben Shneiderman and tomorrow Jenny Preece will be giving a research seminar in the Wallace Lecture Theatre. Chris Elsmore was good enough to write us a summary of Ben's talk for those of you who couldn't make it. Thanks Chris! Also this week the CHI+Med team have been running number entry workshops and we are welcoming members of the UK research council (EPSRC) to the lab. Theres also a lot happening in the weeks ahead including a research seminar by Ian Witten on June 28th and a fantastic community generated media workshop on July 3rd. More details on these upcoming events to follow!

Important Visitors

31 May 2012

Exciting times are ahead of us next month as we are lucky enough have not just one, but two very influential HCI researchers give talks here at Swansea! On June 11th we will be welcoming Ben Shneiderman to give a distinguished lecture in the Taliesin Arts Centre Dont forget to sign up for your free ticket. Then on Wednesday June 13th we will have another fantastic talk from Jenny Preece - author of Interaction Design: Beyond Human Computer Interaction. Both are sure to be great talks so make sure to put them in your diaries!

CHI+MED Summit

09 May 2012

Some exciting news from our largest research project CHI+MED this week as we prepare to hold the 1st Safe Interaction Summit at Fudan University in Shanghai China. The Summit, which takes place on Thursday 7th June, aims to build up a platform where academic and industrial researchers working in combined fields can come together to review their work and find ways to improve quality and impact in the design of interactive devices in safety critical field. For more information on this event, see the CHI+Med page.

Study Time

03 May 2012

Dan Thomas
So its that time of year again when our undergraduate students are submitting their dissertations and revising for exams. There is some cause for celebration at this stressful time though as Dan Thomas won the childrens vote for best poster at the 3rd year project fair! Also this week, we have had two papers accepted to Mobile HCI 2012 in San Francisco and have waved off Matt (J) and Matt (W) who are en-route to CHI 2012 in Austin Texas!

New Look for 2012!

22 April 2012

Welcome to FIT Labs new website! We have rebranded our logo and updated our research and teaching pages. There are also new ways for you to get involved via facebook, twitter and you tube. We have been very busy over the last 2 months - Patrick, Andy and Abi have just returned from a 3 week trip travelling around the US as part of the CHI+Med project, Emma and Jen have had papers accepted into DIS 2012 and JCDL 2012 and we said goodbye to our friend Max who has moved on to greener pastures in Nottingham. More exciting events are coming up though with the department getting ready to welcome the father of HCI Ben Shneiderman for a distinguished lecture on June 11th! More news on this unmissable event can be found on our Seminars page.

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! (Happy St Davids Day)

01 March 2012

Marianna Obrist

Its already March the first St. Davids day in Wales which seems like a good time to update everyone on the years news so far. We have been busy over the last few weeks with several conference deadlines make sure to check out the notice board in the FIT lab for new submissions. Simon and Matt have travelled to Seattle to present the fabulous PicoTales at CSCW and we have also been lucky enough welcome several visitors to the lab. Including Dame Wendy Hall who gave a distinguished lecture in the department and Marianna Obrist from the Culture Lab in Newcastle!

Merry Christmas

15 December 2011

Before we all leave for Christmas break we can reflect on a years worth of achievements which include countless research papers and conference trips. We have participated in numerous project meet-ups and have been involved in the organisation of several workshops including the all new workshop on NUIs 4 development at CHI 2012!

This year we have also seen Matt Jones become the new Head of Department and several FIT Lab students finish their degree schemes. We have said goodbye to a few members of our group and welcomed some new faces too.

We have also been successful in achieving yet another grant for the department Matts new 1.2 million grant on `Scaling the Rural Enterprise which involves collaboration with IBM India, Microsoft Research India and Nottinghams Mixed Reality Lab!

All in all it has been a good year for the FIT Lab Merry Christmas and all the best for 2012!

What's important?

18 November 2011

Chitra and Avy

There are lots of things that are important. Right now, most of our lab are gearing up for submitting to the biggest peer-review conference in our field: CHI2012. But today we stopped for a bit.

Today, we had a new visitor, who joined our extended FIT Lab family quite a while ago, but has this week been discharged from hospital! This exciting news means that Avy has been able to visit the lab and see where his mother had been working until sometime last year.

We are very pleased to see Avy improving and being discharged from hospital. We're also pleased to see Chitra again, and looking forward to welcoming her back to her studies sometime in the future.

An exciting and important visit, to help place all of our fast-paced urgent-deadline world-leading academic research into perspective for a bit.

Been Busy... Having Impact... kthxbye!

04 August 2011

So its been a busy couple of months, so apologies for being quiet. Unfortunately, having time to write exciting news updates presumes you're not busy changing the world, so its not like we've been lazing around and going on holiday in vancouver. OH WAIT - we did all (well nearly all) go to Vancouver for CHI2011! And we had a great time, running 2 workshops, teaching 2 courses, running panels with world experts, giving presentations, displaying posters, being on the conference organising committee, and running MADNESS! - as well as generally mingling with the worlds finest HCI experts around the world.

There's been plenty more exciting news too. Matt Jones has won another grant... again (see the numerous posts below). Matt's new 1.2M grant on 'Scaling the Rural Enterprise', with partners including IBM India, Microsoft Research India, and Nottingham's Horizon Digital Economy hub, is aimed at studying use of technology in the rural contexts of both the Himalayas and the Welsh mountains. The aim is to facilitate rural enterprises and encourage global growth outside of the city hubs. A truly exciting, global, and world changing project that due to begin shortly.

We've had many other exciting developments, such as international workshops (see euroHCIR2011 coming up and the recent PINC2011 workshop) and new people on the team. We are pleased to welcome Carlos who has finally been granted a work permit and joins the progressing CHI+MED project.

Its going to be an exciting summer ahead, while we finalise classes for next year, we're looking forward to launching a new MSC in Advanced Computer Science with a specialism in Web Science too. More details to come.

The first CHI+MED Swansea Summer Workshop

14 April 2011

CHI+MED will provide new techniques that UK (and international) manufacturers can acquire and apply for improving interaction design in product development, which will give competitive advantage in the marketplace. This will grow in importance as the critical role of device design becomes more widely recognized. Manufacturers will find the understanding and tools, that CHI+MED will deliver, helpful and valuable when they take account of designing for safety (including, but not limited to, interaction design). This will create a sustained and achievable change to both research and industry. To participate please visit the workshop website.

PhD Studentship Available

04 April 2011

Researchers caught in thoughtful pose.

We're always on the scout for excellent students to join our outstanding team of internationally renowned researchers. The majority of our HCI lab, including half a dozen PhD students, are off to the CHI2011 in Vancouver for the most significant ACM conference on HCI. This year, our lab has 12 accepted contributions and organisational committee. To be part of our team, the best thing is to read about our research papers, our PhD programmes, and apply here, so that you are on the system for us to look at.

One great new opportunity we have, for a fully-funded PhD studentship, is on a recent digital heritage project. The project is focused upon visualising the past, so that when you explore areas of cultural and national heritage, you can experience more about the space and its surrounding history. The project involves visualisation challenges, and mobile technology. The project is jointly supervised by Professor Huw Bowen from the College of Arts and Humanities and Professor Matt Jones from Computer Science.

Congratulations to Emma Thom

08 March 2011


We're always pleased for our graduates and successful students. Most recently, we are pleased to congratulate Emma Thom on passing her MRes under the supervision of Professor Matt Jones. Emma's research with Matt has, over time, focused on the rural and cultural divide, having worked on the Storybank project, for example. Her MRes work focused on augmenting physical artefacts with digital information, and this time focusing a little more locally on improving office spaces and shelves as a case study.

Even more exciting, is that Emma will be staying with us, now that she has begun a PhD on the PATINA project. The PATINA project is focused on adhoc projections of augmented spacial and social information for physical artefacts in the wild, and so her PhD work will build firmly upon her excellent MRes findings. We're looking forward to her progress, and the development of the PATINA project, which is in collaboration with Southampton and Bristol to name only two!

Prof Matt Jones to be Head of Department

22 February 2011

Professor Matt Jones

We'd like to say a big congrats to Professor Matt Jones, who will become the new Head of Department starting 1st of March 2011!

Matt has an established international portfolio in Mobile HCI (you can read the book about Mobile HCI that he wrote with Gary Marsden), as well as an outstanding record for winning research grants (we've lost track of how many millions...). It is somewhat not surprising that he has been chosen to lead our department forward as we develop as part of the new College of Science.

Matt is diplomatic, interested in the success of the whole department, confident, ambitious, and decisive. We look forward to seeing where he takes us all over the next few years. We are proud to have him in the Future Interaction Technology Lab!

Congrats again Matt!

Upcoming Events - Wins!

14 February 2011

Workshops are great!

Beyond having additional Work-in-Progress papers accepted to CHI2011. We've had more good news with respect to being active in the community. We're running lots of interesting events in different communities.

Prof Matt Jones, is of course, running tutorials, workshops, you name it at CHI2011 on Mobile Interaction Design. In fact - two tutorials - with Gary Marsden from the University of Cape Town. Together, of course, they wrote the book on Mobile Interaction Design, and you can learn from them on Tuesday 10th May and Wednesday 11th May. Matt is also helping to run a workshop on Mobile and Personal Projection on the 8th of May 2011, in the run up to CHI.

Prof Harold Thimbleby is running an exciting SIG at CHI2011 on: Interactive Technologies for Health, in collaboration with Microsoft Research, UC-Irvine, Penn State, and UDub. This focus on safety critical HCI is key for the medical domain.

Dr Parisa Eslambolchilar is hosting a workshop on Nudge at CHI, called PINC2011. I've seen the submissions (shhh) and they are _Totally_ exciting. She'll be announcing acceptances in the not-too-distant future, and we'll be looking forward to a grand discussion on the ideas of using pervasive mobile tech to help maintain better, healthier, more sustainable lifestyles every day.

Aside from supporting Parisa's workshop, Dr Max L. Wilson will also be running a Panel at CHI on replication of HCI research. RepliCHI will be a fascinating discussion of whether we should be recognising this more formally in our community, and whether it is even appropriate for our community. Max has got 2 future CHI chairs on board for this discussion. Max has also just had a workshop proposal accepted to run a European sister workshop for the increasingly popular HCIR series, that will likely run at HCI 2011 later this year.

Exciting (and tiring) times!

Awards and News Coverage

15 November 2010

Dr Max L. Wilson
Dr Max L. Wilson

A few weeks ago was the 2010 Annual Meeting for the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST2010). Although it still has the word American in the title, it is the world's leading conference on Human Information Seeking behaviour, and other related Information Science topics. As well as presenting work performed by one of our undergraduates last year, Max Wilson received the Best JASIST paper 2009, an award given to the top voted paper in their prestigious journal.

In other news, we're in the news again. Matt Jones's grant that aims to bridge the rural divide has been covered by the BBC. The project aims to understand use of mobile and other technologies for enriching more rural societies and connecting them to the developed world. As the interview says: "Bridging the Rural Divide will result in an openly available set of tools to allow people to capture experiences, represent rural experiences and share them"

Welcome new FITLabbers!

04 October 2010

FITLab People
Our HCI Group is growing!

We are very pleased to welcome an onslaught of new people to our team this semester. Our talented array of graduate students, postdocs, research assistants and research officers is growing, under the shadow and direction of our four academic staff: Prof Harold Thimbleby, Prof Matt Jones, Dr Parisa Eslambolchilar, and Dr Max L. Wilson. Our whole team can be seen on our people page.

In particular, we'd like to welcome Mark and Yukang onto the rural divide projects led by Matt Jones. Harold's CHI+MED project has Victoria Wang starting, with more hopefully arriving later in the month. We have new PhD students too. Mat Wilson, supervised by Max Wilson (don't even go there), will be looking at sensemaking technologies, and Abi Cauchi will be studying critical medical HCI under the CHI+MED project. We have additional students starting soon too. Ready and eager to start.

It's exciting to be growing - and there's only more to come. New projects are in the pipeline and that means more people and a more engaging and exciting HCI lab!

Elina Vartiainen: Welcome to the FITLab

12 September 2010

Elina Vartiainen
Dr. Elina Vartiainen

We are pleased to announce, as the first of many joining us this autumn, that Elina Vartiainen, a senior researcher in user experience at Nokia Research, is visiting us for a whole year!

Starting this very day, Elina is one of the many industry experts in mobile HCI that we know through Prof Matt Jones. Elina's doctoral research (you can read about it here) was in the design of mobile user interfaces for internet services. As example applications of this research agenda, she focused on both the social exchange of images and a mobile web browser, called Minimap, that facilitates both focus and context views of web pages. In both projects, she focused on the user needs evaluation, design, and development of these services. Her work has been published both in the International Journal of Mobile HCI and at CHI. We look forward to working with her on projects to come!

Elina, however, is not the only one joining our team over the next few weeks. We also have 2 new Research Assistants starting on Matt's mobile HCI grants on the rural divide. Another 3 Postdoc Research Fellows will be starting work on Harold's CHI+MED and associated grants, and 3 new PhD students working on various projects. All 8 will be starting in October. These are exciting times as we continue to grow our internationally renowned HCI group.

Our Research in the News

08 September 2010

Simon Robinson
Simon Robinson

Much of our work continues to be featured in the news. Some of our latest research, recently presented at Mobile HCI 2010, was recently covered by New Scientist!

Simon Robinson's work has been focused on engaging interactions with mobile devices, but this work in particular has focused on guiding people while not controlling them. His prototype allows people to explore areas freely while still being able to navigate towards a certain location. Vibrotactile responses are used to keep people aware of the direction of their target, as well as the route choices that are available. You can read more in the full paper.

Another project, focused on casual search behaviours, was covered by Technology Review, after being presented at the 4th International Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction with Information Retrieval. Max Wilson, along with David Elsweiler at Erlangen University, has been studying everyday search scenarios, as described by people on social networks like Twitter. Their findings indicate that there are many casual search and casual information behaviours that are not covered by the theories and models produced by Information Science research.

Conferences, Contributions, and Best Paper Awards

06 September 2010

Dr Max L. Wilson
Dr. Max L. Wilson

It's that most wonderful time of the year, where many of us are off on conference. Max Wilson has just got back from co-organising the IIiX2010 conference and visiting Google in New York. But, it is pretty quiet in the lab because most people are out at ECDL2010 and Mobile HCI 2010, or giving keynotes in Dundee...

Right now, Parisa Eslambolchilar is running the Nudge and Influence workshop at MobileHCI. Later in the week, Simon Robinson will be presenting his paper to the conference.

Similarly, Jen Pearson is in Glasgow to see her paper with George Buchanan (FITLab Alum) presented at ECDL2010.

And there's plenty more to come, Max Wilson, for example, is off to PKM2010, the Web Science event in London, and then off to ASIS&T2010 to present a paper and receive best JASIS&T article for 2009!

Studying the Impact of Tweets

28 July 2010

From one of our research agendas, on information seeking, we are proud to present our online beta of Tweempact. Tweempact (tweet-impact) tracks the global audience of a tweet, through followers and list subscriptions, including those who may see it through a RT.

Unlike other projects, which are typically person focused or trend focused, Tweempact focuses on individual tweets. Whether you are interested in a vanity check of your followers, or whether you want to see how far a notification travels, Tweempact can help you understand the global audience that you are working with on Twitter.

Have a play!

Carbon-Kettles for Eco-Tea

15 July 2010

Carbon Kettle
The Carbon Kettle
glows red when the national grid
is over-worked

One of our talented students has submitted an entry to the James Dyson Awards, and has been gaining some media coverage too! The James Dyson Awards looks for keen new inventors, and their inventions, around the world, and Chris Elsmore, one of our graduating MRes students, has submitted the Carbon Kettle, shown to the right.

The Carbon kettle, is a modified kettle that can connects to the internet to find out what type of energy it will be using. When the national energy grid is over-worked, it has to generate fast, in-efficient energy that is bad for the environment AND produces more emissions, in order to keep up. Believe it or not, millions of us boil the kettle during advert breaks in popular tv shows, for example, and the grid can get overloaded when the whole country decides to cook dinner. When the National Grid is not being over-stretched, it uses more efficient greener energy. And that's the energy we want to be using in our house!

To help us avoid using bad-energy, the Carbon Kettle checks the status of the national grid over the inter-webs, and can help us to find a good time make the cup of tea. It glows red when the national-grid is overloaded, and green when it's running fine. So, if you don't mind waiting a little while, your cup of tea can have a smaller carbon-footprint when the national grid is not overloaded.

Find out more here, and even watch the video. Do vote if you think its a great idea like we do! These types of natural feedback in our everyday lives help keep us aware of the impact we are each having on the world.

We're Hiring

30 June 2010

It's not normally perhaps news to talk about hiring new positions, but with the recent spate of grants coming in, we've got a whole bunch currently being advertised. We are currently looking for 5 different research officers to take part in projects on: Mobile HCI for International Cultures, Sustainability with teenagers, Medical Environments HCI, Medical Devices HCI and Cross-disciplinary engagement.

We are looking for independent, smart, and motivated researchers to join our current team. As well as working with some of the world's leading researchers in Mobile HCI, Information Seeking, and Medical HCI, you'd get to work in the beautiful surroundings of the Swansea Bay and the Gower. The water is shimmering today - and I can see it from the comfort of my office.... ahhh.

Conference Time Again

26 June 2010

Andy Gimblett (pre-hairy)
Andy Gimblett

Its the time of conferences coming up again, and to start it all off, several of us are off in Germany, Greece, and Croatia.

Andy Gimblett has literally just finished giving his talk at EICS2010 (ACM Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computer Systems) in Berlin. His work with Prof Harold has been to develop a generalisable way of automatically modeling the state-space complexity of a user interface. Unbelievably another colleague on the same project has identified significant redundancy in the design of a 2-button light-switch in the department that most people can't figure out how to use. A silly example, of course, but all the more important when you scale the problems up to safety-critical complex medical devices. Quite frankly the same problems apply to the software we have to use on a day-to-day basis too. Andy's work gets us towards the automatic analysis of such interfaces so that redundancy and poor design can be avoided.

From another one of our projects, Dr Parisa Eslambolchilar and Rich Byrne are at PETRA2010 (PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive environments) in Samos, Greece. Parisa is the lead on a large collaborative project focused on shaping consumer behaviour, called CHARM and is hosting the first international workshop on Nudge & Influence through Mobile Devices. Her work, with Rich in this case, focuses on taking simple reading about the walking patterns of users to track their current health status. The present tomorrow.

There's more to come of course. No time to rest when there's so much exciting internationally recognised research going on here.

Conference Award Time Again

22 June 2010

Tom Owen)
Tom Owen

Well just typical. Within hours of informing you all that we were all off at conferences giving papers, we get awarded best paper two events. Now I have to write ANOTHER news item.

Well, first the news came that Tom Owen, and his co-authors: Parisa Eslambolchilar, George Buchanan (City University) and Fernando Loizides (City University), won best paper at ICADL 2010. George, one of our Alum, is representing the paper over in Australia!

Sometime later, at the conference dinner, Andy Gimblett was notified that he also won best paper at EICS 2010 (discussed below). The paper was co-authored with Prof Harold Thimbleby - but I also commented on the paper - so I like to think that's a win for me too...

Well done us! Again

A whole load of bits and bobs

17 June 2010

We've had cause to celebrate a number of things recently. We had the FITLab's 5th Anniversary Party on the beach last week. Parisa organised an excellent BBQ which overcame even the small amount of rain we had.

We also managed to get rid of Simon! Nah - Simon is one of our excelling researchers who recently flew off to represent our lab at IBM Research Delhi for 3 months. It's an excellent opportunity for all involved and we're looking forward to Simon rejoining us later in the year. Further, however, our Prof Matt Jones was also awarded an "IBM Faculty Award" to work with IBM Research India.

We've had some more research wins too. The CHI+MED project with UCL had an amazing 2 day workshop in Oxwich Bay. Parisa and Max received a number of submissions to their MobileHCI workshop on Nudge & Influence through Mobile Devices, and have accepted 7 strong contributions. Max Wilson also recently won a competitive equipment grant.

There's been loads more little things, new book chapters, new publications, new summer interns, but we'll leave it there for now.


18 May 2010

Several of us have been at the UbiProjection 2010 workshop in Helsinki this week, despite all crazy airspace issues. One of our senior research assistants, Simon Robinson presented a research paper on HaptiProjection focusing on a combination of our work on haptics and handheld mobile projectors.

Other great work from our friends in Bristol, Glasgow, Lancaster, and (the sponsors) Nokia Research was presented throughout the day, and then throughout the main Pervasive 2010 conference. The workshop sparked lots of new ideas and collaborations, and we are sure to see a lot more mobile projection work in forth-coming conferences.

We hope everyone gets home alright this time!

Congratulations - Mr and Mrs Oladimeji

04 May 2010

FITLab at Patrick and Wende's Wedding

Amongst all the exciting research going on - we are pleased to recognise the exciting news going on in the rest of our lives. One of RAs, Patrick Oladimeji, got married at the weekend to his beautiful wife Wende. Many of the FITLab were there, and it was a wonderful and beautiful day, with people traveling thousands of miles to attend.

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Oladimeji!

CHI2010 - almost over

22 April 2010


While the last of us finally get back from Atlanta, having had our conference trip to CHI2010 extended by the Volcano, there's news to report on the event itself. This year Dr Max L. Wilson and Professor Matt Jones were on the organising committee, helping to run CHI Madness. Madness is a fast-paced overview of the whole day ahead, where everybody giving a talk that day gives a 25s pitch. The events went almost entirely without a hitch (was it even Madness then at all?), even in front of the entire 2469 people on the first day.

Swansea had 6 people present at the conference. Simon and Jen both got into the Doctoral Consortium, for which there were far fewer places than submitting institutions. Their work is world leading and has now had the world's best senior HCI academics comment and help to improve it. Simon and Matt's work with Glasgow was presented, and Matt ran his annual course on Mobile Interaction Design. Max, Simon, Matt and one of our new recruits Dan Craggs were also in the Work-In-Progress sessions and Harold was also present for the Workshop on Interactive Systems in Healthcare (I WISH we had thought of such nice acronyms!) to present a paper with Ann Blandford on the CHI+MED project.

Lots happened in the event, and Max has summarised at least the bits he saw in his HCI and Information Seeking blog.

Selected News

21 April 2010

Life has been a bit hectic, what with CHI2010 (with news to come) and the volcano keeping half of us in Atlanta! But in the mean time, we have had some exciting news updates.

Professor Harold Thimbleby has been in the Royal Society news recently, discussing his latest work on Safety Critical HCI and minimising human error. This topic is essential in hospitals and other domains, where even basic interactions can make the difference between life and death. His recent paper, published in Interface, discusses this topic in depth, and goes hand in hand with the multi-million pound CHI+MED project.

Dr Parisa Eslambolchilar's million-pound CHARM project has also just gone up online too. The work, which has already begun, aims to support us in living sustainable lives. Focusing on our lives and our planet is crutial, as recognised as one of the UN Millennium goals. Her work should help us all to do our bit!

Professor Matt Jones probably won another grant too - but we've all lost track...

1M for Collaboration!

24 March 2010

Harold Thimbleby

The head of our research group and FITLab founder, Prof Harold Thimbleby, has got a busy season ahead. The latest, and perhaps most exciting news is that Harold and his Co-Is have been awarded nearly 1M, by the EPSRC to stimulate collaborative research within Swansea University. The funding will allow 2 or more departments to apply for small stimulus grants to setup larger future collaborations. We're look forward to seeing what this 'Bridging the Gaps' grant will turn out!

Beyond bringing yet more money into the department, he's also off to give keynote talks at two conferences. Shortly, he'll be keynoting at The 36th Annual Convention of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB2010). Then later in the year, he's off to Croatia to give a keynote at 32nd Conference on Information Technology Interfaces (ITI2010).

It's hard life.

MobileHCI Workshop on Nudge and Influence

15 March 2010

Mobile HCI 2010

Our Dr Parisa Eslambolchilar has had a workshop accepted to the Mobile HCI 2010 conference later this year in Lisboa. The workshop, entitled Nudge and Influence Through Mobile Devices (NIMD'10), is being co-organised with colleague Max L. Wilson and Andreas Komninos from Glasgow, and is focused on how mobile technology can have the influence to subtly nudge and affect our behaviour.

Parisa already has a large grant focusing on tracking and monitoring lifestyle and health with the CHARM project, and so part of her on-going focus is on how technology can further influence our behaviour. And what better technology to do so than the phones and other mobile technology that we already carry with us on a day to day basis?

Papers are due mid may, and more information can be found at the workshop website.

We look forward to seeing you at the workshop and to what comes out of it!

Happy New Year! Its CHI Time

06 March 2010

We'll be Attending CHI2011
in Vancouver

Happy New Year!

We're pleased to kick it off by reporting on the exciting CHI2011 news we had last year. The annual ACM CHI conference on human-computer interaction is _the_ international peer-reviewed venue in our field and of the 9 things we have so far submitted, we've had an exciting 7 accepted. Not bad! Professor Matt Jones had two courses accepted - you can take those during the week. We've also had two workshops accepted. First Dr Parisa Eslambolchilar, along with colleagues Max Wilson, Ian Oakley, and Anind Dey (CMU), will be running the PINC2011 workshop on Persuasion, Influence, Nudge, and Coercion through mobile technology. Further, Matt Jones will also be co-organising a workshop on mobile and personal projection with colleagues around the world. Dr Max L. Wilson will also be running a panel with Wendy Mackay of INRIA. The exciting panel (news to come) will be called RepliCHI - and will fundamentally question the way we treat replication in our novelty-focused HCI community.

We, of course, have also had half of the notes we submitted accepted. Simon Robinson had a CHI-note accepted based on the work he carried out while at his internship at IBM in India. Our very own Jen Pearson will also be presenting on her work on her prototype document navigation software.

And that's only the beginning, there are still workshop, Work in Progress, Video, alt.chi, and competition submissions open. Also - Max Wilson is also contributing to the HCI community by completing his 2nd year as CHI-Madness Chair, along with his colleague in Southampton - Paul Andre. Exciting times!

Projecting Ideas across the world

22 February 2010

Professor Mounia Lalmas

We're celebrating the award of yet another grant! This time, our Professor Matt Jones is embarking on an 18 month project with Professor Mounia Lalmas (pictured), at University of Glasgow, and Professor David Frohlich of University of Surrey worth 500k.

Where as a previous news item was announcing the grant success investigating the future use of handheld projection technology, this grant will investigate social-media sharing communications in parts of the developing world. Working with Transcape NPO, and building on their previous digital storytelling projects, the team will investigate how these social-media communications will support education, healthcare, social decision-making, and more in these developing communities. Such research holds even more value in these cultures, where mobile phone networks are often more prevalent than landline telephones.

The project begins in May 2010, and we are looking forward to seeing the project take off!

This week, we are Going Forth

17 February 2010

FIT Lab Away Day 2009

Its not unusual for us to be heading off to various places around the country or world, but right now the majority are on the road. Our million-pound-grant-winning lecturer Parisa is off at the ExICTe workshop in Birmingham today. Matt Jones is at research meetings in London at the moment, and then off to visit colleagues in Glasgow later this week. Max is on the way to London to give a talk at UCL. And Harold... well who knows!? Further, several of our students are on the road.

Maybe next week we can bring all the excitement home, but it wont be long before, so far, a good 6 of us head off to Atlanta for CHI2010!

Projecting Ideas into the Future

31 January 2010

Pico Projection
Photo by Danny Choo

Congratulations to Professor Matt Jones, who this week was awarded a sandpit grant with our esteemed friends and colleagues at Bristol, Southampton, Brighton, and more! The grant, worth around 1.5M, was awarded for the study of how people may end up augmenting life with multiple mini hand-held projectors; a topic that is gaining increasing energy with the imminent release of the new generation of mobile projector phones.

In the proposal's terms, the project, called Patina, "will develop theory, techniques, prototypes and deployments that re-conceive research spaces as synthesised patterns defined by subtle interfaces that are enacted by our interactions."

The grant, in particular, is focusing on the use of these hand-held (or smaller) projector devices in research environments, to see how they may be used to augment our working spaces to make them more effective.

Its exciting times ahead in this project, and the team is looking forward to beginning the project in June 2010.

Our Imagine Cup Project:

20 January 2010

Our previous news item highlighted the recent progress of our Swansea team in reaching the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2010 UK Final. Despite taking exams, the team is excitedly diving into the next phase of the competition, and have already begun detailed planning.

Their exciting concept, called Frenigy, aims to leverage the popularity of social networks, and influential technology to make people more aware of their energy consumption. What is good energy consumption? and how can you be proud of actively making changes that might help sort out the world's energy problems?

Over the next few months they'll be developing, testing, and trialling their new system and you can track their progress through their project website or through twitter.

Swansea Team reach Microsoft's Imagine Cup 2010 UK Final

12 January 2010

Imagine Cup 2010 Logo

After submitting to the Microsoft's Imagine Cup 2010 Software Design competition in December, our Swansea team has made it through to the UK Final. Of all the submissions, only 6 were picked for the final round.

The theme this year is:

Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.

In more detail, the competition is encouraging teams to help reach the UN's Millennium Development Goals, such as ending poverty, creating education for all the world's children, getting rid of HIV, and reaching global energy sustainability. Its a great theme, and it fits in closely with the mission of the FIT Lab here of targeting Grand Challenges.

The creative and exciting team is made up of: Abigail Cauchi, Jonathan Hurlock, Steven Welti, and George Jones. Their team mentor is Max L. Wilson.

Lets change the world!

One of our new recruits reviews for Times Higher Education

08 December 2009

Rich Snow

Being an academic, and grad student, involves more than focusing on your research agenda. Staying ahead of the game involves broadening your understanding of related work and contributing to the wider community. Having only started a few months ago, one of newly recruited PhD students, Rich Snow, has already begun doing so by reviewing Schneider and Gersting's latest edition of 'Invitation to Computer Science' for Times Higher Education (THE).

Providing a view from having recently graduated from an undergraduate computer science course, Rich discussed the book's suitability as a companion beyond the first year of study. The review (available here) was recently published on the THE website, and we look forward to hearing more from Rich in the future.

Prof Matt Jones gives Keynote at AmI2009

19 November 2009

Professor Matt Jones

As this news is being posted, the 2009 Ambient Intelligence conference is taking place in Salzburg, Austria. Focused on understanding a world where technology surrounds, senses, and reacts to us, our very own Professor Matt Jones was asked to give a keynote based on his years of experience with mobile pervasive technologies.

His talk, scheduled for Friday afternoon, has been entitled "From Bystander to Performer - Ambient Intelligence in a Digitally Extravagant Era". Building on the research being performed here in the FITLab in Swansea, Prof. Matt will talk about how such ambient intelligent technology lets us react and engage with the world, where we can augment, annotate, and contribute to life and entertainment.

Some of our own research in this field is into the growing trend of hand-held Pico Projectors, and their imminent introduction into our mobile phones. What will life be like when we can overlay Matt's keynote slides with our own perspectives of such research, using our mobile phones? What will be the social norms? and how what challenges will we face to adopt socially acceptable behaviour and deal with socially inappropriate behaviour. Sharing, communication, instruction, and even bullying could all be affected. The implications are exciting, unknown, and being researched here in the FITLab.

Inspiring Guests and Speakers

28 October 2009

Virpi Roto tells the FITLab about the pioneering work at Nokia Research

We've had a recent run of inspiring visitors here at the FITLab. This week we had the Pro-VC of student experience, Rob Macredie, come to tell us about how they engage with students and education at Brunel. The talk was great, and the visit: shorter than we'd of course like. Always true.

Before that we were pleased to have Virpi Roto, a principal scientist at Nokia Research in Helsinki. In between engaging with our research and ideas, she spoke to us over 2 talks. First, she reviewed the interesting research performed and novel methods used (slides), over the last few years as part of their mobile search research agenda. As well as showing us some exciting ideas that are in progress.

Virpi also spoke to us about industry and academic relations (slides), and the different modes and scales in which they can work. Overall, she advocated the experience of internships and collaboration to our research students - advise that we thoroughly encourage too, through our existing ties with Nokia, Microsoft, and more.

Looking forward to future!

CHI+MED Kick-off meeting

16 October 2009

CHI+MED Project Logo

It's been a successful year for the FITLab, with everyone winning grants coming to around 10M! Now the work begins of course. Parisa's CHARM project, in collaboration with colleagues at Kingston and West England, has been making exciting progress, with more to tell soon. Matt's grants also led us, in part, to engaging with our future innovators at the British Science Festival. And now, the CHI+MED Project has begun!

Over the last 2 days, the kick-off meeting for the 6.7M CHI+MED Project has been taking place in London. The exciting collaboration, between UCL, Swansea, Queen Mary in London and more, was awarded the funding earlier this year, and now all the planning and hard work is on the way. The project is studying the important HCI issues with medical interactive systems for patient healthcare, making sure that you and me are safe in the hands of technology when we need it most! With many-a-plan being actioned during the kick-off meeting, it's sure to be an exciting next few months, and indeed the next few years!

twittering conferences twittering conferences...

27 September 2009

Microsoft Research sponsored PhD Student Jen Pearson

As the new teaching term begins, I was just scanning the tweets about ECDL2009 currently happening in Corfu, and right now, the majority are about the work that our Microsoft-Research-sponsored PhD Student, Jen Pearson, our beloved ex-fitlabber George Buchanan, and solid leader Harold Thimbleby, are presenting. George, and various members of our crew, are giving 4 presentations this week at ECDL2009!

And thats not it. Professor Matt Jones, celebrating his recent chair, and best paper award at MobileHCI2009, is off to speak at Ubicomp2009 in Disneyworld Florida! Along with Gary Marsden, Matt will be running a workshop called Globicomp, dedicated to studying the growing use of ubiquitous and mobile technology in the developing world.

There's plenty more too, Max Wilson is off to Washington DC in October, to present at 2 specialist workshops focusing on human computer interaction with search, and the use of semantic technologies to design user interfaces. More about that later.

Another best paper award for the FITLab shelf!

17 September 2009

Negotiated Interaction with haptic feedback

We got news from Germany late last night at the MobileHCI2009 Award Ceremony, that Simon Robinson, Parisa Eslambolchilar and Matt Jones won best paper! Well done guys.

Simon gave the presentation yesterday, about the work they've been doing with colleagues at Glasgow University, including Stephen Brewster and Roderick Murray-Smith, on Negotiated Interaction with mobile technology. The prototype, called Sweep-Shake (PDF, Slides (PDF), Video (MOV)) lets you find out what types of information you can get about buildings or places as you walk around. By simply pointing the mobile device top-left, top-right, bottom-right, bottom-left, you can tell if you can get pictures, videos, etc. It lets you know what there is to know, so you can decide if you want to boot up your mobile web browser to learn more. Find out more here.

All over the British Science Scene

07 September 2009

The storybank stand at the British Science Festival 2009
Photo by Adam Creen

Over the last week or so, many of the FITLab were at both the BCS HCI2009 conference in Cambridge, and the British Science Festival 2009.

The annual BCS HCI conference was hosted by Cambridge University and Microsoft Research Cambridge this year and Simon Robinson represented the FIT Lab by presenting a full paper on guided mobile interaction and giving a demo in the Open House Festival. Matt Jones was also invited to give a tutorial on Mobile Interaction Design, while Harold Thimbleby ran a workshop on Health and HCI. Together, with the other members of our team at the event, the FITLab demonstrated our world leading research to the British HCI community.

The annual British Science Festival provides a very different, but very important opportunity to engage with Britain's young people - the future leading scientists. In fact the British Science Festival is one of the largest annual science events in Europe. The FIT Lab, represented by Emma Thom (about to start an MRes in the FIT Lab), Simon Robinson, Kristian Brimble (one of our excelling undergrads), and Matt Jones, was there demonstrating the Storybank project, showing how Science and Technology can break down international and cultural boundaries and improve the lives of people in the developing world.

Later this month these two research agendas will be demonstrated at international events in Germany (MobileHCI2009) and Florida (Ubicomp2009), but more about that later. Safe travels everyone.

Improving Patient Care with the iPhone

01 September 2009

Prototype Drip Rate Calculator for the iPhone

In line with our the interests of our new programme grant of 6.7M with UCL and Queen Mary University, starting soon, one of our masters students has been working hard on improving patient care with portable devices like the iPhone. One of the tasks performed regularly by nurses is to set drip-rates for medicine going into the body, and it's no simple calculation.

Mark Davies, working with Medical Device Trainer, Paul Lee, has been developing and testing paper prototypes with focus groups of nurses, trying to effectively support this task and in the context of real demanding medical environments. Improving patient safety with the latest technology is important and can save lives. Results are shaping up, and we now know more about the ways in which we can support medical care more effectively. We're looking forward to the publication of his masters thesis later this year.

ASME Best Paper Award

20 August 2009

Max L. Wilson

Some of Max Wilson's recent work with Rolls-Royce engineers and the University of Southampton, has been awarded the 2009 Robert E. Fulton SEIKM Best Paper Award, at the Annual ASME DETC Conference in San Diego at the end of the month. ASME is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and is similar to the ACM or IEEE. The award is given annually within the Computers and Information in Engineering (CIE) Stream.

The paper, titled "Navigation over a Large Ontology for Industrial Web Applications", describes a knowledge management system for engineers who maintain aircraft engines. In collaboration with colleagues such as Richard Crowder, Nigel Shadbolt, and Gary Wills, Max led the user-centered design process investigating the constraints and requirements for engineers working in the field. The contribution for the paper was a contextually accommodating interface for navigating and learning from a continuously developing semantic knowledge-base.

FITLab Awarded 6.77M Research Grant

27 July 2009

Photo by ignis

Last week, the FITLab, and colleagues from the UCL Interaction Center and Queen Mary University, were awarded an EPSRC Programme Grant of 6.77M over 6 years. Swansea will receive around 3m. The multidisciplinary project, called CHI+MED, will focus on improving interactive medical devices using Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) techniques. The EPSRC describes such Programme Grants as "large, long-term grants available for world-leading groups".

Patient safety is a life saving research agenda. Recent work has shown that improving usability can reduce human error and save lives. Further, it is has been shown that human error while using medical devices in hospitals can kill more people than road accidents. CHI+MED will use a combination of HCI techniques to improve the usability of medical devices. The findings of empirical and observational techniques will be combined with analytical computational representations of medical devices.

The awarded grant marks the start of an exciting research agenda that will bring more contacts, research assistants, and PhD students to the FITLab, but more importantly, it will save lives.

Pressing On, Around the World

19 July 2009

Harold Thimbleby, the head of our group, is out on a month-long trip around the states presenting at conferences and visiting institutions. After presenting twice at EICS2009 last week, including the research into social network analysis carried out with Patrick Oladimeji, Harold was invited to talk about teaching and learning in HCI at HCI International 2009. While there, he'll no doubt be promoting his Book.

Its not all invitations to conferences, though, as Harold has been visiting international friends and colleagues around the world, such as: Scott Klemmer at CMU, the User Experience Group at Apple, Todd Johnson at UT's Health Science Center in Houston, and more.

I wonder where in the world he enjoyed his birthday...

Award Winning PhD Students

12 July 2009

Jennifer Pearsons PhD Research Poster 2009
One of our PhD students, Jen Pearson continues to demonstrate the award winning work carried out here in the FITLab. After recently attending the Microsoft Research's exciting and exclusive 2009 summer school, Jen won best poster and last week's Swansea University Poster Competition. All research students from across the university were invited to participate, and the top posters were presented and judged last week. Look out for more from both our current students, and the new recruits starting in October!

Reaching out to Future Scientists

05 July 2009

The FITLab reaches out to young students and future scientists by representing HCI, Computer Science and Swansea University in many events throughout the year. Last week, members of the FITLab demonstrated our research for over 1000 school students at the 2009 Neath Port Talbot Schools Careers Convention.

In preparation for the British Science Association 2009 Festival of Science, the FITLab and colleagues at the Digital World Research Centre at Surrey University have won an EPSRC grant to prepare a StoryBank exhibit. Emma Thoms has been appointed as an RA in the FITLab to prepare the exhibit for StoryBank, a project focused on breaking the digital divide across nationalities, ages, cultures and economies, with short video stories.

Royal Society Science Fair

28 June 2009

This week the FITLab is reaching out to the community. Lots of our team are organising, running, and participating in a Royal Society Science Fair. The day is designed to reach out to young students thinking about higher education in science and engineering, by showcasing the research from across Swansea University. Simon and Tom have been part of the organising committee working group leading up to the event, and are chairing sessions. Patrick and Chitra will be presenting and demonstrating Human Computer Interaction research from the FITLab.

Check out the Schedule

Harold Thimbleby: Keynote at NDM9

22 June 2009

Our very own Professor Harold Thimbleby will be giving a keynote talk at NDM9, the 9th bi-annual International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making. Being both supported by, and held at, the British Computer Society, in London, NDM9 is set to be an exciting focused meeting on complex, shared, and group decision making in areas such as medicine, policing, and emergency support. Southampton's Nigel Shadbolt (former BCS president), and other key academics in this area, will also be contributing keynote speeches.

Here, there, and everywhere

09 June 2009

The last few weeks have been, and the next few weeks will be, busy busy busy. We've been meeting with experts: from The National Centre for Product Design & Development Research; designers from the Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre; medical specialists from Singleton Hospital, Morriston Hospital, and Royal Free Hospital; and friends and colleagues from UCL's Interaction Centre.

There doesn't seem to be an end in sight either. Next week, current members and alumni of the FITLab will be at JCDL09 in Austin, Texas. Max L. Wilson has meetings in College Park, DC. And Matt Jones will be visiting, as per usual, Nokia in Finland. And still more to do thereafter!

New FITLab RAs

01 June 2009

The FIT Lab recently appointed Tom Owen as one of two new Research Assistant posts created by the Healthy Interactive Systems EPSRC Platform Grant which is a joint venture between the FIT Lab and the Interaction Centre at University College of London. Welcome Tom!

Digital technologies aim to improve lifestyle through CHARM project

25 May 2009

Dr. Parisa Eslambolchilar has received some funding from DE Sandpit to start an exicting research on "shaping consumer behaviour by informing conceptions of 'normal' practice". This research will be in collaboration between Swansea, Kingston and Bristol Universities.

CHARM aims to develop, evaluate and understand the ways in which digital technology can be used to shape individual behaviour by informing and thereby challenging 'normal' practice. Much of what people do is based on their conceptions of shared conventions, but these conceptions are often misinformed. Research suggests that we can influence behaviour by telling people what other people do. The study draws upon research on social influence in sociology, behavioural economics, social psychology and social marketing. The three-year project will explore, develop and evaluate this approach in the context of sustainability, using digital technology as a non-invasive interface in three case studies: 1) electricity consumption, 2) active lifestyle and 3) Facebook.

For more information please see EPSRC website and BBC Science News

Our website now twitters

21 May 2009

The news and reading group information on this website now twitters. see for more details

New HCI Reading Group

21 May 2009

The new HCI reading group will start next tuesday (26th) in the FITLab coffee area.

CHI2010 Madness

21 May 2009

Max L. Wilson and Matt Jones will be CHI2010 Madness Co-Chairs, along with Mira Dontcheva from Adobe. See you in Atlanta!

FIT Lab members at the Ubicomp Spring School

01 April 2009

Richard Byrne and Matt Jones attended the UK Ubicomp Spring School. The school brought together early career and more established researchers to learn about and debate the future of ubicomp and mobile technologies.

Work at CHI 2009

01 April 2009

Members of the FIT Lab will be at the ACM CHI conference in Boston. We'll be contributing with three co-authored papers, workshops and a tutorial.

UK-Japan HCI Workshop

25 November 2008

Matt Jones was one of the 4-person UK team involved in "Beyond the Desktop" workshop held at the British Embassy in Tokyo during 18th-19th Nov.

FIT Lab speaker at Swansea Uni Comp Sci student conference, Gregynog

03 November 2008

Andy Gimblett has been invited to deliver a talk at Swansea University's Computer Science Annual Colloquium at Gregynog Hall, Powys, on 25th November 2008. The talk will include (among other things) a look at his recent work in the FIT Lab, on the project "Formally based tools for user interface analysis and design".

FIT Lab members at MobileHCI 2008

07 September 2008

Matt Jones, Simon Robinson and Darius Garnham were at MobileHCI 2008 from 2nd to 5th September in Amsterdam. Matt was part of a panel discussing the evolution of the field of mobile interaction, entitled 'Ten years of Mobile HCI: Looking Back, Thinking Forward'. Simon presented Point-to-GeoBlog: Gestures and Sensors to Support User Generated Content Creation, a paper co-authored with Matt and Parisa Eslambolchilar. Darius participated in the Doctoral Consortium, see his submission entitled Implicit Participation from a Glance.

Royal Society-NRF Workshop in Cape Town

16 July 2008

Matt Jones organised a workshop funded by the RS and South Africa's NRF in Cape Town in the first week of July. Bringing together 5 UK academics (including Harold Thimbleby from the Lab) and 5 from South Africa, the workshop looked at potential technologies, algorithms and engineering-design practices for digitally impoverished communities to take part in the user-generated content revolution. See website for more details.

IFIP WG 9.2 Meetings

16 June 2008

The Lab hosted the IFIP working group on Computers and Accountability between Thurs 12th and Sun 15th June. Two members of the Lab presented 'teach-ins' on work on healthcare and digital divide interaction design. Some of the visitors also took part in discussions with our current MSc and MRes students.

Leverhulme Fellowship

08 June 2008

Harold Thimbleby has been awarded a Royal Society-Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship for 2008/9. We are advertising a new lecturer post as a result.

Press On released

22 May 2008

Press On is the award-winning new book by Harold Thimbleby that explains the problems of interactive devices and how to design and engineer them so that they are more reliable, simpler and easier to use.

Being Human now available

21 May 800

Dr Matt Jones participated in the Microsoft HCI2020 conference, a forum which brought together international leaders in computing, design, philosophy of science, sociology, anthropology and psychology to debate, contribute to, and help formulate the agenda for Human Computer Interaction (HCI) in the next decade and beyond.
The resulting report, Being Human, is now available for download.