M-ITI Seminars

Madeira-ITI organises seminars and invited talks in the areas of Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction. On this page you find an overview of the most recent seminars. Click the title of a seminar for more detailed information.

Understanding human behaviour with technology: challenges, tools & methods

Denzil Ferreira
Wednesday, 29 March, 2017 - 14:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Mobile phones have an increasing spectrum of built-in sensors, such as motion, light, atmospheric pressure. These sensors are primarily used to enhance the user experience with the device, such as detecting the screen orientation. More important for scientists, these sensors offer the potential to sense and reason about the user’s environment, or in other words, the user’s context. Mobile phones are the most widespread personal sensing device and provide an exciting opportunity for wider cross-disciplinary research to attain a better understanding of human behaviour by analysing the users’ unique context. 

Yet the biggest challenge in conducting user studies is the scientists’ need to build software and logging tools from scratch, often without proper development experience, over and over again. More critically, multidisciplinary research becomes increasingly challenging due to the diversity of applications and environments. Researchers have no infrastructure support for exchanging their expertise and to collaborate locally or remotely. In this talk, we introduce AWARE, a tool that focuses on an infrastructure for sensing behavioural and social context from mobile phones sensors, to enable a better understanding of human and social behaviour, and to improve users’ understanding of their own quality of life. More importantly, it is a platform that supports reuse and sharing of mobile-based behavioural and social context and researchers’ expertise.

Short Bio:

Ferreira’s research focus is on utilising mobile instrumentation (e.g., wearables, smartphones, ambient displays, deployable sensors) to better understand human behavior and social wellbeing. Ferreira leads the Community Instrumentation and Awareness (CIA) research group, and acts as the Vice-Director of the Center for Ubiquitous Computing at the University of Oulu. Ferreira also teaches two classes: Mobile and Social Computing, and Human-Computer Interaction, part of the curriculum of U. Oulu’s International MSc. in Ubiquitous Computing. During his PhD, Ferreira created and released AWARE, a toolkit in use today by hundreds of researchers worldwide.

The EMPATIA project. From single democratic innovations to multi-channel participatory systems.

Michelangelo Secchi
Wednesday, 15 March, 2017 - 14:30
CTP lab @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Democratic Innovations — institutions specifically designed to increase and deepen citizen participation in the political decision-making process as for example the Participatory Budgeting, Participatory Urban Planning, Citizen Assemblies, etc. — have become a ubiquitous feature of policymaking and governance building at EU level. 

Even if for decades the technology of DIs was carried out through “traditional” off-line means of participation (meetings, Focus Groups assemblies, etc.), with the recent consolidation of the network society, it has been progressively contaminated by the emergence of a new set of ICT-based participatory innovations, coming both from the public (e-government and e-democracy solutions) and private sectors (civic media, social collaborative networks, etc.).

Such a rapid growth and diffusion of DDI's emphasized a number of issues and contradictions boosted by the multiplication and mismatches between off-line and on-line channels of participation. While opening opportunities for a better integration between different processes and spaces of participation, the digitization also multiplied redundancy, produced fragmentation and created new explicit and implicit barriers to the actual engagement of inhabitants and organized stakeholders in public policy making. 

The EMPATIA project, launched in 2016 and funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, aims to research, develop, test and disseminate innovative approaches and consistent ICT solutions for the design and management of multi-channel PB processes. 

This presentation will focus on the main topics covered by EMPATIA, presenting both scientific and technical results achieved after the first year. 


Short bio:

Michelangelo Secchi is a research fellow at the Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He has been working for more than ten years as Public Sector consultant on the design and implementation of citizen engagement processes and participatory governance strategies. . Recently he has been working as expert on stakeholder engagement in EU funded projects in the area of international development (EUROPEAID) and Smart Cities (National and Regional Structural Funds in Italy – PON REC Smart City). Since 2016 he is coordinating for CES the research activity of the CAPS project EMPATIA funded by the EC Horizon 2020 program.

“The design is right and the right design” – How to measure and theorize “right” in HCI and Software Engineering?

Ahmed Seffah
Monday, 13 March, 2017 - 11:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


In this keynote, we will show how to improve the practices of interactive software and user interfaces design, by applying lessons from various fields of design to the co-creation of interactive software products, systems and services. The goal is to create software that works – really works, meaning we can measure it works, usable, profitable yet secure, resilient and sustainable – in being appropriate and effective for people who live in the world that the software creates. Beyond the “cook-books of the HCI gurus” and the large diversity of HCI design patterns, guidelines and principles, the talk will highlight the the importance of the qualities, properties and quantities that quantify the quality of software systems from the human perspective. How to measure the “right”, “the old user friendly,” the past usability, the today quality of user experience and the tomorrow sustainability. How to ground measures of HCI in the general theory of software quality and measurement.  What we can learn from the successful stories and history of measurement in many fields: medical sciences, engineering, and even from natural and hearth sciences?

Short Bio:

Ahmed Seffah is a professor of Human-Centric Software Engineering and HCI at Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland. Previously, he was a professor and Concordia research chair on human-centered software engineering at Concordia University as well a visiting professor in more than 10 universities and research Centre including IBM, University of Lausanne, Daimler Chrysler and the Computer research institute of Montreal. Professor Seffah co-authored five books, the last one on the “Patterns of HCI Design Patterns and the HCI Design of Patterns.” His main research is to understanding those HCI and interactive software systems design, software usability, user-centric engineering, UX design practices and all similar ones within the wider software and systems engineering processes. Most visible contributions of his work are on the gaps and bridges between design science practices and software engineering methodologies such as agile, model-driven and service-oriented while building a theories of human-centric software engineering.

From Digital Rights Management to Peer to Peer Law

Melanie Dulong de Rosnay
Wednesday, 15 February, 2017 - 14:30
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Melanie Dulong de Rosnay will present a regulatory model for information sharing based on the mutual influence between law and code.

Instead of encoding binary rules into digital golems, the devices and algorithms that govern our lives and make decisions based on data and traces we leave on networks, platforms and connected objects, she proposes to integrate legal and political values into code, and, in the other way around, to export the computer science architecture and values of peer to peer into the law.


Short Bio: 

Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, PhD in law (2007) and associate research professor (permanent researcher since 2010) at French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), heads the Information and Commons Research Group at the Institute for Communication Sciences of CNRS/Paris Sorbonne/UPMC. She is also a visiting Fellow at London School of Economics and Political Science Department of Media and Communications.

She is a managing board member of Internet Policy Review, OpenEdition scientific publishing platform, and Knowledge Ecology International Europe.

Her publications are available here.

Melanie's research focuses on the techno-legal infrastructure and policy for information and digital commons. She is involved in the H2020 CAPS project netCommons on community wireless networks. She also works on algorithmic regulation, distributed architectures, peer production, open access and licensing (for public sector information, scientific data and publications, public domain works and digital native heritage).

She co-founded in 2011 Communia association on the digital public domain, which she represented at WIPO. She was Creative Commons France co-founder and legal lead (2003-2013) at CERSA CNRS/University Paris II.

As a postdoc, she was employed as a researcher staff member by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, Nexa Center for Internet & Society at Politecnico di Torino, and the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam.

Before starting her PhD, she worked at IRCAM Centre Pompidou on music information retrieval research projects, in a cultural community center, and for an indie music label. She studied political sciences, international relations, and European law in Lyon, France, Leipzig, Germany, and Tilburg, the Netherlands.

Turning images into sound or touch for the visually impaired: Multisensory Technologies for Artificial Vision Restoration

Dr. Michael J. Proulx
Monday, 13 February, 2017 - 11:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


When a person becomes visually impaired, how might they still interact with the visual world? New technologies and advances in psychology, computer science, and neuroscience are discovering how people can "see" through hearing or touch. I will describe my lab's work in this area of sensory substitution devices and related applications.

Short Bio:

Dr. Michael J. Proulx is Associate Professor of Psychology and director of the Crossmodal Cognition Lab at the University of Bath, where he is also an affiliate of the Centre for Digital Entertainment in Computer Science. His research focuses on several aspects of crossmodal cognition and multisensory processes with a particular interest in the vision sciences and the role of visual experience on cognition. He also works on the development of assistive devices for the visually impaired. He received his BSc in Psychology from Arizona State University and his MA and PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences from Johns Hopkins University. He is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science and of the American Psychological Association.

P2P value and shared equity: Intellectual Property in Open Value Networks

Alex Pazaitis
Thursday, 26 January, 2017 - 17:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Commons-based peer production (CBPP) is a new modality of production that has been exemplified from numerous Free/ Open Source Software projects and Wikipedia and has thenceforth spun to various domains of digital and material production. CBPP enables a unique productive capacity based on voluntary contributions by loosely interconnected individuals, with no predefined hierarchy or control over resources. Inevitably, it poses many challenges to legal frameworks and institutions concerning working relations, resource planning, value accounting and property. The Open Value Network is an attempt to develop a viable structure for CBPP, so as to harness its productive dynamics while ensuring efficiency and sustainable livelihoods for the contributors. Two illustrative cases of Open Value Networks will guide us through the discussion of the new types of arrangements that are shaping the CBPP ecosystem.

Short Bio:

Alexandros (Alex) Pazaitis is Research Fellow at the P2P Lab, an interdisciplinary research hub, community-driven makerspace and spin-off of the P2P Foundation and the Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance. Alex is involved in numerous research activities, including the authoring of scholarly papers and the participation in research and innovation projects. He has professional experience in project management and has worked as a consultant for private and public organizations in various EU-funded cooperation projects. His research interests include technology governance; innovation policy and sustainability; distributed manufacturing; commons, open cooperativism and blockchain-based collaboration.


Learning from socially useful production

Adrian Smith
Wednesday, 25 January, 2017 - 14:30
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Forty years ago, workers at Lucas Aerospace in the UK proposed an alternative plan for their company. In the face of redundancies arising from restructuring, plant closures and automating technologies, workers proposed a number of prototypes and projects where their skills, technology and labour could be put to socially useful purposes (in contrast to the military applications dominating their electro-mechanical products). This initiative inspired a movement for socially useful production amongst community activists, engineers, peace campaigners, local economic development agencies, and activists on the Left. All were committed to human-centred technology development for social purpose. Interestingly, the movement even established in London in the early 1980s a network of community-based workshops for the popular design and prototyping socially useful technologies. In many respects, the community workshops, and their open access design banks, anticipated activities prevalent in hackerspaces and amongst open hardware developers today. Significantly, the movement for socially useful production also opened up the politics of technology development to critical and practical scrutiny, and which still holds lessons for activities today. Having introduced this history, my presentation will consider how we might develop a framework for understanding the full range of critical knowledge arising from this activity, and potentially support grassroots innovation in technology today.

A paper related to the presentation can be accessed here.
And a shorter blogpost for The Guardian here.

Short Bio:

Adrian Smith is Professor of Technology and Society at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex. Trained originally in mechanical engineering, Adrian has become internationally recognised for his research into the politics of technology development in grassroots settings. Recently, this has included studies of grassroots appropriation of digital fabrication tools, including developments in hackerspaces, makerspaces and fablabs. He has written and broadcast about these developments for organisations as varied as the Inter-American Development Bank, The Guardian newspaper, Radio Nacional de España, and research blogs. He has also organised participatory workshops for grassroots innovators and policy-makers, as well as speaking at maker events, including ones hosted by the Victoria and Albert Museum. He is currently working with the Science Museum to develop a grassroots innovation event in London. Much of this work has been brought together in a book on Grassroots Innovation Movements to be published by Routledge in August 2016.

Doing Futures Now: Is Another Design Possible?

Ann Light
Tuesday, 24 January, 2017 - 17:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


This talk traces participatory engagement from the design of inclusive products using participatory processes, through forms of participatory design research to the design of future ways of being in an information age. It shows how the situatedness of design is not just geographical, but temporal. In doing so, it draws for illustration on the practices of participatory researchers and the author’s projects in particular, framed with Verbeek’s mediation theory. If people, data and technologies co-create the sociotechnical world, ever influencing each other and redefining ethics in a political entanglement, then how do we engage people in the design of this entanglement so that the democratic ideals of participatory design extend to societal issues as well as individual systems and tools? This essay proposes one answer that addresses the stories we tell about technology, as well as the process of designing.

Short Bio:

Ann Light is Professor of Design and Creative Technology at the University of Sussex, a design researcher specializing in design for social wellbeing and the politics of participation. With qualifications in humanities, arts and artificial intelligence, and a DPhil in human-computer interaction, she draws on many influences, working with arts and grassroots organizations and marginalized groups on five continents, in local, transnational and international development settings, and publishing on design of social process, social innovation and cross-cultural methodology. She has led interdisciplinary research spanning transport and architecture to social activism and ethically-sourced consumption, drawing on management and facilitation experience acquired in design company start-ups. She leads the Creative Technology Group at Sussex and has been multiply funded under the AHRC’s Connected Communities and Designing for the 21st Century programmes and the EPSRC, with a recent fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. She is also advisor on a number of EU and RCUK projects.

Towards Distinctive User Experiences

Virpi Roto
Wednesday, 7 December, 2016 - 17:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Most companies strive for superior user experience (UX) by improving the user interface of their products and services. In practice, this often means designing a more usable and beautiful user interface than what the competitors currently provide. However, a more successful strategy might be to provide experiences that are different from others; i.e. branded experiences. In this talk, I highlight the impact of a company brand to user experience, which has been previously largely disregarded by the HCI community. Taking brand identity as the starting point for user experience design has a dramatic impact on the foundational design approach in HCI, user-centred design. I introduce experience goals that are specific for a brand rather than for a product or a user group. Inspired by service design, I call for collaboration between UX and marketing experts to deliver humane, branded experiences in all touch points. I hope this talk induces researchers to study the relation between brand and user experience, and students to design for distinctive experiences.


Short Bio:

Virpi Roto’s mission is to find means to make designing for experiences more successful. Since she joined Nokia Research Center 1995, she has been a messenger between the industry and academia. The most cited works of hers relate to user experience. After she joined Aalto University 2011, her research has focused on designing for meaningful experiences in various domains, including B2B metal industry, packaging industry, as well as pharmacy and real estate services. Virpi holds MSc in computer science and PhD in usability research.

Software-Defined Intermittent Networking and H2020 Marie-Curie Actions

David Palma
Monday, 5 December, 2016 - 16:00
Classroom @ M-ITI, Floor -2, Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira


Operating in oceans and seas across the world are various types of vehicles, buoys and sensors. Moreover, their availability has increased in high-latitude regions, due to their socio-economic impact, creating several communication challenges. This presentation introduces the SINet project, which aims at developing an integrated communication system for intermittent links in the Arctic. Heterogeneity and networking

robustness are two key aspects of this project, which proposes a Software-defined Intermittent Networking solution. The presented work is funded by an H2020 Marie-Curie Action, which promotes mobility of researchers worldwide.


Short Bio:

David Palma is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Telematics, NTNU, and has worked in the past as a Researcher and Project Manager at OneSource, as well as an invited Assistant Professor at the University of Coimbra. He holds a PhD in Information Science and Technology received from the University of Coimbra. His current research interests

are on Routing, IoT, Cloud-Computing and Software-Defined Networking, subjects on which he has authored and co-authored multiple papers in refereed conferences and journals. He has participated in several TPCs, national and international research projects, including European Projects (FP6/FP7/H2020), and in the preparation of successful research proposals.