Design and Computation Series announced for spring 2011

Interdisciplinary research,
education and capacity building

2 Apr 2011

Digital Media lecture series will bring prominent designers to Lisbon.

The UT Austin|Portugal program in digital media is pleased to announce a special Design and Computation Series for the spring.  We have invited several prominent designers to share talks and/or conduct workshops with students and faculty during the spring semester, 2011.  Led by Drs. Nuno Correia (UNL), Rui Prada (IST), and Sharon Strover (UT Austin), the series will be a unique opportunity to hear about some of the most interesting contemporary work in the digital media design field.  Students also will have the opportunity to have their work critiqued by the visitors.

Dates which have already been set include:

11-12 April
Yacov Sharir, University of Texas at Austin
Identity, the Post-Human Body & Digital Practices
Yacov’s ongoing investigation of future uses of the virtual body whether in performance and or in play, centers both on technologically-mediated interaction between a physical human/performer and computer-generated cyber human/performer/player. This analysis steps outside of a dance performance experience as aesthetic object per se and examines it as a visualization whose subject is the interaction of the virtual (perceived) and the real (physical) as categories by which we organize and describe experience. The data visualized is created in real-time by the visible interaction of human and computer generated-characters/performers. The abstract and elusive categories of 'real' and 'virtual' are modeled in the multi-sensory modalities of play: visual, sonic, kinesthetic, and perceptive. Visualization reveals and deepens the complexity of the interaction between the physical and the cyber counterpart. More [PDF]
   ► 11 April: FCT/UNL, Monte da Caparica, 14h00m, Auditório Leopoldo Guimarães (CENIMAT)
   ► 12 April: IST, Taguspark, Oeiras, 15h00m, Anfiteatro A5

18 April
Ernest Adams, The Designer's Notebook
The Future of Interactive Entertainment to 2050
Advances in computer entertainment will take place on three major fronts over the next 40 years. These fronts are: technological advancement; demographic and market changes; and aesthetic development of the medium. This lecture examines each in turn, highlighting the key changes that we can expect to take place, and how they will affect the way we make and sell interactive entertainment.
   ► Mon 18 April, 18h00: Auditório da Sede da Ordem dos Engenheiros - Av. António Augusto de Aguiar, 3D

19 April
Ernest Adams, The Designer's Notebook
Fundamental Principles of Game Design Workshop
This workshop is a day-long exploration of the basics of the craft. Participants work in teams of four or five to design a completely new game including the core mechanics, gameplay, user interface design, concept art, level design, and even a small story. Read more
   The workshop is free but registration is required by email to
   ► Tue 19 April, 10h00 to 17h00: Room 1.22, IST-Taguspark - Av. Prof. Cavaco Silva, Porto Salvo

20 April
Ernest Adams, The Designer's Notebook
Character Design Workshop
Good character design is critical to financial success in most action and adventure games. This day-long workshop challenges you to design a protagonist character based on a simple description, and decide what sorts of things he or she would do in an action-adventure game. You will also create a typical level for the hero to have adventures in. Read more
   The workshop is free but registration is required by email to
   ► Wed 20 April, 10h00 to 17h00: Room 1.22, IST-Taguspark - Av. Prof. Cavaco Silva, Porto Salvo

11-18 May
Dan Olsen and Peter Hall, University of Texas at Austin
Mapping as Visual Inquiry
In recent years, designers, architects and artists have increasingly turned to mapping as a means of researching and visualizing complex problems, and revealing potential solutions. Drawing from cartographic practices, but questioning the limitations of traditional maps, many recent mapping projects explore how overlooked interests and seemingly immeasurable elements like emotions can be visualized using collaborative methods and technologies.
In an opening talk, Peter Hall will discuss the emergence of mapping as a design process and asks what technology design might learn from these experimental approaches.

   ► May 11, 10am-11am  (Lecture)
   Location: Auditório da Biblioteca, FCT/UNL, Monte da Caparica
The accompanying workshop will be led by Peter Hall and Dan Olsen. It will consist of a morning reading seminar followed by an optional afternoon lab.
The seminar will provide an extensive review of pivotal readings and films in regard to mapping. A reading list and the individual texts are available online at Students should explore the readings in advance of May 11.
In the lab students will use their individual technical skills to make mapping experiments. Projects are designed to provide the student an opportunity to investigate aspects of their own research. Students will initiate projects/mappings that they can pursue and complete following the workshop.

   ► May 11-18, 10am-12am (Reading Seminar), 2pm-5pm (Lab - optional)
   Location: UT Austin|Portugal MediaGround Room, Building VII, FCT/UNL, Monte da Caparica
   The seminar and workshop are free but registration is required by email to

25-26 May
Panos Markopoulos, Eindhoven University of Technology
Awareness and Persuasion
In the last 10 years Europe has invested heavily in pursuing the research agenda of Ambient Intelligence. From the various possibilities that this technological vision opens up we are concerned specifically with applications that help improve social interactions between people and will help them change their behaviour and attitude.
In this talk I will focus on two concepts more specifically: First, on how Ambient Intelligence can help people develop and sustain awareness of each other's whereabouts and activities in order to achieve benefits relating to feelings of connectedness, but also how to deal with related dangers that such technology can bring as, for example, regarding privacy issues. Second, this talk will focus on how Ambient Intelligence opens up new possibilities for influencing people’s attitudes and behaviors at a different scale and with more effectiveness than has been possible using traditional desktop and web environments. The concept of ambient persuasion is introduced, highlighting research results regarding the personalization of persuasive strategies.
The talk will go through a series of applications that have been designed, developed and tested in the field, to provide awareness between connected family members. We shall discuss design, engineering and scientific challenges, and will attempt to abstract away from the specific cases to propose a design framework for awareness and connectedness. The discussion on ambient persuasion will focus primarily on the experimental work that makes the case for personalized persuasive technology. Some first experiences with designing and evaluating such systems will be discussed as well and some of the related ethical issues will be discussed.

   ► 25 May, 15h00: Departamento de Informática, Sala de Seminários, FCT/UNL, Monte de Caparica
   ► 26 May, 14h00: Anfiteatro A1, IST-Taguspark - Av. Prof. Cavaco Silva, Porto Salvo

26-27 May
Anthony Brooks, Aalborg University 
Designing for Fun through Creative Expression and Video Game Play: Interaction Design and Sensor-based Computation - The SoundScapes story
This talk will discus how the SoundScapes research evolved from a simple idea conceived from synthesising experiences with profoundly disabled relatives, an education as an engineer, and a background in performance art.
Preliminary research around 1985 followed the creation of a sensor-based haptic analogue/digital alternative musical instrument. It was conceived to enable new means for creative expression and playful social interactions as a means to augment quality of life for those diagnosed as profound and multiple learning disabled (PMLD). Subsequent experiments with worn Biofeedback systems in the early 1990s led to the creation of an infrared non-invasive gesture control interface that enabled music making, digital painting and video game playing through 3D gesture alone.
The mapping of sourced data to responsive multimedia was adaptable to participant ability. Emergent models and hypotheses have resulted from the ongoing work that is cored around an information rich responsive virtual environment. State of the Art advancement is suggested through the applied research. Video game playing through gesture was initiated around 1998 and used in the TeleAbilitation project. Non-formal rehabilitation is related. It is hoped that this talk may inspire others to explore the potential use of interaction design, sensor-based computation, and video game playing from a human computer confluence perspective within a societal context targeting change and inclusion that can result in benefit for other humans, both those with dysfunction and those who support them.

   ► 26 May, 14h00: Auditório da Biblioteca, FCT/UNL, Monte da Caparica
   ► 27 May, 14h00: Anfiteatro A5, IST-Taguspark - Av. Prof. Cavaco Silva, Porto Salvo

Watch this page for further announcements.