We are organising a workshop on female-oriented technologies

Teresa Almeida, The Interactive Technologies Institute is organising a female-oriented technologies workshop during the Mozilla Festival 2023.

Teresa Almeida, a researcher at the Interactive Technologies Institute,  is organising the Cyfer Creative Exchange extended workshop. The event is a part of the Mozilla Festival 2023, from March 20-24. Female-oriented technologies are its primary focus.

The privacy, ethics and security of female-oriented technology

The workshop will bring together researchers and artists to address female-oriented technologies’ privacy, ethics, trust, and security.  In fact, these topics remain largely unregulated. The lack of clarity in the law and uncertainty surrounding industry and user practices pose a significant challenge for safeguarding susceptible data on different levels, including user consent, third-party sharing, and algorithmic bias.

The participants will be able to explore of research problems and why artists were invited to address them. Participants will have two twenty-minute opportunities to interact in-depth with two artists’ and designers’ work. Following these interactions, the group will share reactions and discuss the privacy, ethics, trust, and security issues of female-oriented technologies.

The research project

The Cyfer project examines cybersecurity, privacy, bias, and trust in female-oriented technologies, focusing on apps and IoT devices. The EPSRC PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity funds the project. It involves researchers from Royal Holloway University of London, Surrey University, Umeå University, and Newcastle University.

The FemTech industry promises to enable women to take control of their bodies and lives. For example, it aims to help women overcome the many existing challenges in health and medical care and research. There are already over 1300 FemTech companies offering a vast range of products, with a market size of $40.2 billion in 2020 alone. However, the lack of clarity in the law and the industry’s practice in relation to sensitive data on different levels, including user consent, third-party sharing, and algorithmic bias, poses significant challenges.

The Cyfer project looks to build on previous research work and achieve its aims by evaluating the security and privacy of FemTech, investigating user perception and practice and studying socio-technical bias and trust in data, algorithms, and AI systems. Additionally, the project looks to work with other researchers, industrial partners, artists, designers, etc., worldwide and welcomes more collaborations.

The Cyfer Creative Exchange workshop allows researchers and artists to engage in an interactive experience of creative responses to research challenges on female-oriented technology’s privacy, ethics, trust, and security. Therefore, it provides a platform for collaboration and discussion on an important issue affecting women’s privacy and security worldwide. The organisation provides more information on the workshop’s website.

ergoUX 2023 is here!

The Interactive Technologies Institute is organising the ergoUX 2023 event between March 20-23 in Covilhã to promote UX Design.

The Interactive Technologies Institute is organising the ergoUX 2023 event. By joining efforts with other partners, we are putting together the ergoUX 9th edition, taking place between March 20-23 in Covilhã.

ergoUX is an event promoting the study and development of ergonomics, design, usability and user experience (UX). ergoUX 2023 is recommended for UI/UX companies and the academic community interested in Gaming, Interaction Design and UX/UI.

During the three days, the attendees will be able to receive talks by field experts, participate in the UX Jam and get to know the Jam’s winning projects. On the first day, experts from several universities and companies will present their work in UI/UX. During the second day,  participants will focus on the development of new projects under the supervision and guidance of experts. Teams will immerse in a 48h multidisciplinary project to increase design experience in interfaces such as videogames, interactive apps, web interfaces and others. By the end of the event, participants must prepare a pitch presenting their strategic plan and a live demo. The last day of the ergoUX 2023 will feature the winning projects that resulted from the UX Jam.

Participation in the UX Jam is limited to 50 participants. Interested parties need to register and guarantee a seat at the table. Registrations are available at the event website below.

The Organisation Committee comprises Francisco Rebelo, Ernesto Vilar, Paulo Noriega, Arminda Lopes, Elisângela Vilar and Sónia Rafael. Most of the members of the Committee are researchers at the Interactive Technologies Institute. In this organisation, we are joining forces with ADUUX, WD Retail, inclusion, Tangível, UBI, IPCB, FAUL, FBAUL, and CIAUD. We aim to promote ergonomics, design, usability and UX development in Portugal.

More information is available on the event website.

ITI Talks: Fixing injuries with VR / Climate change communication

During the event, the team discussed research on rehabilitating injuries with VR help and climate change communication

The Interactive Technologies Institute hosted the ITI Talks event held this month. It was a great success, with two speakers presenting their latest research. The event occurred in a hybrid format, with physical locations in Lisbon and Funchal. During the event, the team discussed research on rehabilitating injuries with VR help and climate change communication.

The talks

Cristiano França presented his study on “Virtual Reality Gaming in Rehabilitation after Musculoskeletal Injury – User Experience Pilot Study.” He described a new technological solution for rehabilitating musculoskeletal injuries using virtual reality (VR) gaming. The study analysed the variation in rated perceived exertion (RPE) and heart rate (HR) of participants undergoing rehabilitation based on different VR gaming. The study’s results indicated a statistically significant difference in RPE scale and HR across the five VR games throughout a complete rehabilitation session. Moreover, the results showed high perceived usability of the system. Additionally, there was a greater intrinsic motivation to perform the rehabilitation exercises, a high level of immersion, and a good experience in the VR gaming environment. The study has important implications for rehabilitating athletes recovering from musculoskeletal injuries.

Afterwards, the second speaker, Marta Ferreira, presented her research on “Reconnecting Audiences with Climate Change: Towards Relatable and Action-focused Data Interactions.” She discussed the design and testing of Finding Arcadia, an interactive data story that uses data humanism to shift the dialogue from crisis-focused to action-focused. The study focused on the communication potential of different media and their intersection with sustainability. In particular, she aims to develop engaging and action-focused climate change data interactions. The study had two pilot tests, one in Pavilhão do Conhecimento and the other in a local traditional market. The study’s results showed the effectiveness of the data visualisation approach in engaging and inspiring audiences towards climate action.

The speakers

Cristiano França is a researcher at ITI/LARSyS who has focused on virtual reality technology for the past three years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a master’s in Interactive Media Design. In the meantime, he has developed a new technological solution for rehabilitating musculoskeletal injuries based on virtual reality gaming.

Marta Ferreira is a design researcher with a degree in Communication Design and a Master’s degree in Typographic and Editorial Practices from FBAUL. Presently, she is pursuing a PhD in Digital Media from FCT/Técnico and is focused on applying her research interests in interaction projects related to sustainability. Marta’s research explores the intersection between different media and their communication potential.

Overall, the ITI Talks event held in March 2023 was an excellent opportunity for researchers to share their latest findings on essential topics. The presentations were informative and engaging, sparking exciting discussions during the lunch break. We are excited to see the next ITI Talks event in April.

Nuno Nunes visits his primary school 44 years later

The Interactive Technologies Institute President Nuno Nunes visited his primary school in Funchal, on Madeira Island. During this Friday, he joined a science communication programme and showed the young students what a scientist’s life is like.

A different afternoon in Funchal

Nuno Nunes arrived in the early afternoon at the Escola Básica da Pena in Funchal. It has been 44 years since he left to become a computer engineer. The crowd of 10-year-olds spent 90 minutes with Nuno Nunes, who taught them the basics of coding using Sphero Edu. “It was a unique experience to return here after all these years. More importantly, it was a great opportunity to talk about my work and hopefully inspire children to pursue the careers they love”, he said.

Students also learned how Artificial Intelligence works using ChatGPT to impersonate their favourite heroes, such as Cristiano Ronaldo. Nuno Nunes also shared the work on the Arcadia Project with the primary school students. It is a PhD project he supervises that focuses on communicating information about climate change. These activities kickstarted the programme’s second year, running on Madeira Island for the first time.

A mission of scientific literacy

Cientista Regressa à Escola’ is the name of the nationwide initiative that aims to promote scientific culture and literacy by challenging researchers to return to their primary schools. From its beginning in September 2021, the programme team has already paired 16 scientists with their primary schools. “We want to assure that every child in Portugal, no matter their background, can meet a scientist from their hometown before transitioning to middle school”, says Joana Bordalo, the programme coordinator. She estimates that 24 other researchers will have participated by the end of the year.

The school visit derives from the partnership between Instituto Superior Técnico and Cientista Regressa à Escola. Through this partnership, IST is promoting the science communication skills of its researchers. Moreover, they encourage scientific literacy in Portugal, tackling inequalities in access to science and thus helping create bridges between science, schools and society.

Bauhaus of the Seas hosts kick-off event

The Interactive Technologies Institute is hosting the kick-off event of the Bauhaus of the Seas project in Lisbon

The Interactive Technologies Institute is proud to announce the two-day Bauhaus of the Seas Sails kick-off event on February 1st and 2nd in Lisbon, Portugal. Hosted by the Municipality of Lisbon and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, this event aims to present the Bauhaus of the Seas Sails project and showcase related local and international projects.

One event, two locations

On day 1, participants can attend keynote addresses and an artistic performance. After a seaweed-based lunch, an urban design exhibition, and two consortium partner workshops at Factory, Hub Criativo do Beato. Researchers from all over Portugal will present their work in architecture, biology, archaeology, energy transition, and climate justice.

On the other hand, day two will take place at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Consortium partners and guests will explore the project’s “drops” and participate in four workshops led by partner institutions. These sessions will focus on themes such as “Connecting” and “Designing”.

Keynote presentations by experts

The event will begin with a reception at Factory Lisbon, followed by welcome and opening remarks from Nuno Jardim Nunes and Mariana Pestana (Interactive Technologies Institute) of the Bauhaus of the Seas Sails coordinating team. Rogério Colaço, President of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), University of Lisbon follows them. Additionally, keynote addresses will be given by Paulo Ferrão, Professor of IST and EU Mission for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities; Joana Mendonça, President of National Innovation Agency (ANI); Luís Araújo, President of Turismo de Portugal; Jorge Brito, Professor of Civil Engineering, IST; Michael Palmgren, Marine Education Center, Malmö, and Linn Johansson, Marine Pedagogue.

The day will also include an artistic performance, “A Metabolic Procession”, by Evy Jokhova and Jamie Allen. There will also be the opening of an architecture exhibition, “Work In Progress”, by IST Architecture, DECivil Department.

In summary, join us in Lisbon for this exciting kick-off event. Learn more about the Bauhaus of the Seas Sails project and its commitment to sustainable, fair, and appealing transitions!

We published climate change visual communication guidelines

climate change visual communication

Researchers from the Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI) found that climate change visual communication has followed trends. They also propose design guidelines to engage communities successfully in this field. Their results have been published in the 9th Congress of the International Association of Societies of Design Research.

Marta Ferreira, PhD student and first author, is working on better communicating climate change through data visualisations. Her literature review study has demonstrated that climate change visual communication has followed different trends. “The earliest projects, up until 2016, were much more focused on energy-related topics such as eco-feedback technologies. Since then, there has been a shift towards sustainable lifestyles and biodiversity”, she adds.

Positive, neutral, and negative messages

Supervised by Nuno Nunes and Valentina Nisi, she found that most climate change visual communication projects have a neutral tone. Most of the analysed projects presented neutral framing visualisations that lacked suggestions for actionable steps for application afterwards. “We considered “negative framing” messages those that focused on what we lost or will lose as negative consequences of climate change. “Neutral framing” were those that just communicated the facts in a neutral exposition of the issue. The interactions that focused on what can be achieved with change were classified as “positive framing”, explains Marta.

Design recommendations

Based on the analysis of 74 projects, the team has proposed a set of implications for design that take advantage of diverse communication strategies. The authors believe these proposals could help better engage audiences, leading them to act. “Our findings support that choosing the topic based on impact and the target audience is best. For example, Project Drawdown points to impactful solutions that normally receive comparably little attention. These include high-quality, inclusive education, or topics related to the food system and land management”, clarifies the researcher. Marta and her supervisors also claim that interactive engagement is key to successful engagement, mainly in daily routine places like bus stations, shops, or the street.

Another suggestion is to convey the topic in a positive frame, using a narrative adapted to the audience, and providing ideas for actionable steps. “One of the big issues people face is not knowing what to do. Climate change is such a complex issue that sometimes even concerned individuals don’t know how to act beyond the more discussed actions, such as recycling. Adding actionable proposals linked to the communicated topic can help people better connect with the issue and feel empowered instead of depressed with the daunting task ahead”, she adds.

A testbed about whales

Some of these suggestions are already being adopted by the Interactive Technologies Institute in some of our projects. Finding Arcadia is an interactive data story related to the ocean ecosystems and whales, aiming to test these implications for design. The research community agrees that it is critical to reconnect audiences with this complex and highly charged issue to overcome this global challenge.


Ferreira, M., Nisi, V., Nunes, N. (2022). Interaction for Crisis: A Review of HCI and Design Projects on Climate Change and How They Engage with the General Public. In: Bruyns, G., Wei, H. (eds) [ ] With Design: Reinventing Design Modes. IASDR 2021. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-4472-7_56

We are co-organising a climate change workshop at CHI2023

Climate change CHI2023 workshop

The Interactive Technologies Institute researchers Nuno Jardim Nunes and Valentina Nisi are two of the seven experts who chair the workshop HCI for Climate Change: Imagining Sustainable Futures. This workshop accepts applications until February 16 and is happening in a hybrid format during CHI2023 on April 28.

The workshop aims to offer a gathering where HCI researchers, designers, and activists working on environmental topics can meet to discuss their research and possibly find points of contact between their different perspectives on technology’s role in ensuring sustainable futures.

This CHI2023 workshop calls to discuss the different angles from which the problem of climate change has been addressed by the CHI community so far. We believe these different angles have several contact points, and the convergence of these different perspectives would help HCI researchers better imagine sustainable futures.

Participants are invited to send a short paper (2 – 6 pages, references excluded) in the form of a research, reflection, pictorial, provocation, or design fiction using the ACM SIGCHI template via Easy Chair. Submissions via Easychair will open in January.

Possible submission topics

      • Communicating science
      • Data physicalization, visualization, sonification
      • Community engagement and activism
      • Policymaking
      • Envisioning future scenarios
      • Eco-social relations and social justice
      • System thinking/interconnection of economic, social, and environmental dimensions
      • Interdisciplinarity and new competencies for HCI researchers
      • Post-human, more-than-human, diffractive and entangled views, theories, and practices

Workshop activities overview:

      • Welcome greetings, workshop introduction
      • Brief submission presentations
      • Break and groups set up
      • Group work
      • Plenary session: discussion and feedback on group work
      • Lunch
      • Keynote speech + Q&A session
      • Final reflections, wrap-up, and future plans

Besides our researchers, the organising committee of this climate change CHI2023 workshop comprises Eleonora Mencarini and Chiara Leonardi (Fondazione Bruno Kessler), Christina Bremer (Lancaster University), Jen Liu (Cornell University), and Robert Soden (University of Toronto).

The workshop pdf proposal is available here.

Science Communication by ITI Talks guest Joana Lobo Antunes

Science Communication talk with Joana Lobo Antunes, Head of Communications at Instituto Superior Técnico

The Interactive Technologies Institute closed the ITI Talks series in 2022 with Joana Lobo Antunes, Head of Communications at Instituto Superior Técnico. During her talk, our guest called for the contribution of researchers to a successful science communication strategy.

Science Communication is all about sharing scientific research with non-specialized audiences, and there are many ways to do it. “One could hire people like Daniel and me to think about science communication, but people actually want to hear from you, ” she claims, based on the European citizens’ knowledge and attitudes towards science and technology survey results.

People want to hear about Science.

According to the same survey, Europeans are generally interested in getting more information about diverse scientific fields. However, most of the information they get access to is related to sports and politics. “People want to hear about Science, and we should use this information in our favour”, she adds.

Joana Lobo Antunes says, “the role of science communicators is to create opportunities to help scientists share their research”, aiming to spark the audience’s interest in becoming a part of the process. “We can not do the omelettes if you do not give us the eggs”, she warns.

As the presentation progressed, Joana started focusing on why researchers should be more involved with society. “We are paid with taxpayers’ money, so we need to give them back the investment made on us. They need to know what we are doing with these chairs, these tables, our time,  etc. We need to be publicly accountable”. Joana thinks that putting research out there will help taxpayers realise the value science has, hence justifying the investment made in the scientific community.

How to do Science Communication

Joana Lobo Antunes has made one thing very clear: there is a type of science communication for everyone. Researchers can communicate science independently of their career stages. Novices and experts can write, speak, record video or audio, and even draw. Even the channel is a choice: from social media to institutional websites and science fairs. It all boils down to what researchers are more comfortable with.

She later presented many examples of science communication campaigns developed by Instituto Superior Técnico, in which researchers play a fundamental role. The Interactive Technologies Institute works on exciting research topics that spark the interest of non-scientific audiences. The goal is to start demonstrating our value as a research institute to them.


Science Communication is the topic of the last ITI Talk of 2022

The last ITI Talk of 2022 will feature a special guest. On December 16, we will hear Joana Lobo Antunes talk about science communication and why it matters to researchers.

During this talk, Lisbon and Funchal’s Interactive Technologies Institute community will hear about the importance of communicating science. Our guest speaker will point out some reasons researchers should be involved in sharing their research. We will hear about the best practices for disseminating research to non-expert audiences and how to better interact with other stakeholders.

Joana Lobo Antunes is the Head of Communication at Instituto Superior Técnico; lecturer in Science Communication and Social Media for Scientists, FCSH NOVA and Universidade Nova de Lisboa Doctoral School; coordinator of science radio show 90 Segundos de Ciência (since 2017), multimedia program Explica-me como se tivesse cinco anos (since 2020) and science podcast 110 histórias | 110 Objetos (since 2021).

She is the former Head of Communications at ITQB NOVA (2016-2019) former Director at Centro Ciência Viva de Sintra (2014-2016), and a former researcher in the Promotion and Administration of Science and Technology (2012-2015). Joana Lobo Antunes is one of the founders and former President of the Portuguese Science Communicators Network SciComPT.

This is the first ITI Talks event at our new Lisbon facilities at Hub Criativo do Beato. The Interactive Technology Institute has recently moved to a new open-space lab, as the team has grown significantly in the past few months.