The second International Workshop on Symbiotic Interaction (SI) took place December the 12th in London, hosted by i2 media research at Goldsmiths, University of London.
The workshop's aim, following on the first one last year, was to promote the exchange of scientific experiences in designing symbiotic systems, studying the way in which they affect human behavior and defining the principles for a functional interdependence of humans and machines, making the user an essential, integrated part of the system.
New possibilities are emerging at the confluence between the human and technological realms that can enable new forms of sensing, interaction, and understanding. The workshop made it possible to bring a multidisciplinary team of experts together, creating a community that aims to expand and promote research in SI and incorporate advancements from established areas such as cognitive science, computing, psychology, machine learning and HCI.
Participants included Prof Giulio Jacucci, University of Helsinki who described research conducted by precursors of SI (i.e., Licklider, 1960), moving towards more recent research such as the one conducted in the MindSee Project where both computational principles and humans process become central to a new paradigm; this enables humans and computers to support each other optimally rather than exploiting one agent's capabilities.
Professor Jonathan Freeman presented a model developed through his own research in the area of marketing and retail (time*focus) and discussed how it can be successfully applied to symbiotic systems, helping to better adapt their solutions to users' needs. Different user states can be in fact be interpreted and used to present different volumes of information as well as intensity of cues depending on the users' time pressure and focus at any point in time.
The University of Padova, represented by Prof. Luciano Gamberini and by the post-doctoral researcher Patrik Puchino, presented preliminary results on experiments conducted using reliable eye-tracking measures to study pre-conscious visual processing.
Hans Gellersen, Professor of Interactive Systems in Lancaster, talked about Spontaneous Interaction focusing on how sensing can help users to physically discover, identify and authenticate interaction opportunities in their environment.
Joydeep Bhattacharya, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, presented results obtained in EEG experiments on mental engagement and cognitive state changes during decision making and problem solving.
A third workshop is currently being planned for 2014.