We investigate how technology can empower citizens and non-state actors to co-create and take an active role in shaping agendas
We investigate the use of social robots to create inclusive mix-visual ability classrooms.
We investigate the use of tangible systems to promote computational thinking skills in mixed-ability children.
ARCADE proposes leveraging interactive and digital technologies to create context-aware workspaces to improve physical rehabilitation practices.
AVATAR proposes creating a signing 3D avatar able to synthesize Portuguese Sign Language.
Although text-entry is an inherently visually demanding task, we are creating novel non-visual input methods to multiple form-factors: from tablets to smartwatches.
Braille 21 is an umbrella term for a series of research projects that aim to bring Braille to the 21st century. Our goal is to facilitate access to Braille in the new digital era.
In this project, we are creating the tools to characterize user performance in the wild and improve current everyday devices and interfaces.
We investigate novel interfaces and interaction techniques for nonvisual word completion. We are particularly interested in quantifying the benefits and costs of such new solutions.
As touchscreens have evolved to provide multitouch capabilities, we are exploring new multi-point feedback solutions.
In this research work, we are investigating novel interactive applications that leverage the use of concurrent speech to improve users' experiences.
This research leverages mobile and wearable technologies to improve classroom accessibility for Deaf and Hard of Hearing college students.
Our goal is to thoroughly study mobile touchscreen interfaces, their characteristics and parameterizations, thus providing the tools for informed interface design.
This project investigates how accurate tracking systems and engaging activities can be leveraged to provide effective evaluation procedures in physical rehabilitation.
We aim to understand the overlap of problems faced by health and situational impaired users when using their mobile devices and design solutions for both user groups.
We report on the design and execution of a probe as an anonymous self-reporting tool to investigate the perception of mental wellbeing and support services for university students. The pictorial describes a six-day probe study with students. The study focuses on students’ perceptions, struggles and coping strategies to maintain their mental wellbeing. Our contribution is multifold. We detail the design and deployment of the probe for HCI practitioners and designers to adapt and adopt it, while we reflect on the data, deriving sensitizing concepts and personas to support the design practice for students’ mental wellbeing
Inclusion is key in group work and collaborative learning. We devel- oped a mediator robot to support and promote inclusion in group conversations, particularly in groups composed of children with and without visual impairment. We investigate the effect of two mediation strategies on group dynamics, inclusion, and perception of the robot. We conducted a within-subjects study with 78 children, 26 experienced visual impairments, in a decision-making activity. Results indicate that the robot can foster inclusion in mixed-visual ability group conversations. The robot succeeds in balancing par- ticipation, particularly when using a highly intervening mediating strategy (directive strategy). However, children feel more heard by their peers when the robot is less intervening (organic strategy). We extend prior work on social robots to assist group work and contribute with a mediator robot that enables children with visual impairments to engage equally in group conversations. We finish by discussing design implications for inclusive social robots.
Collaborative coding environments foster learning, social skills, computational thinking training, and supportive relationships. In the context of inclusive education, these environments have the potential to promote inclusive learning activities for children with mixed-visual abilities. However, there is limited research focusing on remote collaborative environments, despite the opportunity to design new modes of access and control of content to promote more equitable learning experiences. We investigated the tradeoffs between remote and co-located collaboration through a tangible coding kit. We asked ten pairs of mixed-visual ability children to collaborate in an interdependent and asymmetric coding game. We contribute insights on six dimensions - effectiveness, computational thinking, accessibility, communication, cooperation, and engagement - and reflect on differences, challenges, and advantages between collaborative settings related to communication, workspace awareness, and computational thinking training. Lastly, we discuss design opportunities of tangibles, audio, roles, and tasks to create inclusive learning activities in remote and co-located settings
Playful robotics engages children in learning through play experiences while simultaneously developing critical thinking, and social, cognitive, and motor skills through play. Such playful experiences are particularly valuable in inclusive education to promote social and inclusive behaviors. We present TACTOPI, an inclusive and playful multisensory environment that leverages tangible interaction and a robot as the main character. We investigate how TACTOPI supports play in 10 dyads of children with mixed visual abilities. Results show that multisensory elements supported children to experience activities as joyful. Storytelling and guided-play added a layer of meaningfulness to the activities, and the robot engaged children in minds-on thinking. TACTOPI afforded children to engage in collaborative social play and facilitated supportive and inclusive behaviours. We contribute with a playful multisensory environment, an analysis of the effect of its components on social, cognitive, and inclusive play, and design considerations for inclusive multisensory environments that prioritize play.
Transitioning to and through University is a delicate period for students’ well-being. Moreover, the recent COVID-19 pandemic added a further toll through the various challenges related to studying, socializing, community-building, and safety. These challenges inspired the design of a mobile application, called Tecnico GO!, to support university students’ well-being and academic performance. This paper presents the design rationale and evaluation of the app conducted during the academic year 2021-2022. Findings cluster around three themes: students studying needs; building a sense of community; and gamification strategies. The discussion elaborates on the student’s perceptions of well-being during pandemics. Students’ perception of the app is positive, appreciative of the crowdsensing features, supporting learning goals, community building, and safety. On the other hand, the gamification features, as currently deployed, do not achieve the expected goals.
Many neurodivergent children are integrated into mainstream schools alongside their neurotypical peers. However, they often face so- cial exclusion, which may have lifelong effects. Inclusive play activities can be a strong driver of inclusion. Unfortunately, games designed for the specific needs of neurodiverse groups, those that include neurodi- vergent and neurotypical individuals, are scarce. Given the potential of robots as engaging devices, we led a 6-month co-design process to build an inclusive and entertaining robotic game for neurodiverse classrooms. We first interviewed neurodivergent adults and educators to identify the barriers and facilitators for including neurodivergent children in main- stream classrooms. Then, we conducted five co-design sessions, engaging four neurodiverse classrooms with 81 children (19 neurodivergent). We present a reflection on our co-design process and the resulting robotic game through the lens of Self-Determination Theory, discussing how our methodology supported the intrinsic motivations of neurodivergent children
Current signing avatars are often described as unnatural as they cannot accurately reproduce all the subtleties of synchronized body behaviors of a human signer. In this paper, we investigate a new dynamic approach for transitions between signs and the effect of mouthing behaviors. Although native signers preferred animations with dynamic transitions, we did not find significant differences in comprehension and perceived naturalness scores. On the other hand, we show that including mouthing behaviors improved comprehension and perceived naturalness for novice Portuguese sign language learners.