This February, research fellow Dorothé Smit, and Master HCI students Marta Dziabiola, Robert Steiner, Ralf Vetter, and Daniel Nørskov, presented papers at TEI 2022, the internation conference on tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction.

Qude: Exploring Tactile Code in Long-Distance Relationships

Marta Dziabiola, Robert Steiner, Ralf Vetter, and Daniel Nørskov presented a work-in-progress paper Qude: Exploring Tactile Code in Long-Distance Relationships. Qude is a tool that supports people in long-distance relationships. It is a vibro-tactile wearable that enables a person to tap and send a rhythm to their partner; and a supporting app, through which users can assign meanings to the rhythms, thus creating an exclusive, tactile code.

Watch their teaser video here:

Hybrid Design Tools for Participatory, Embodied Sensemaking: An Applied Framework

On behalf of her co-authors, Bart Hengeveld, Martin Murer, and Manfred Tscheligi, Dorothé Smit presented the paper Hybrid Design Tools for Participatory, Embodied Sensemaking: An Applied Framework. In this paper,  two hybrid design tools were analysed based on a framework for participatory, embodied sensemaking.

Watch the full presentation below.

Contact: Dorothé Smit

In the context of the project FEM*mad, researchers Verena Fuchsberger, Nathalia Campreguer França, and Dorothé Smit are organizing a workshop at CHI’22 (The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems) on the 20th of April, 2022.  Together with project partners from Happylab, Mz. Balthazar’s Laboratory, and AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, as well as academic experts in the field of Human-Computer Interaction, in this one-day, hybrid workshop, we will take a constructive stance towards balancing inclusiveness in access to making.

For more information about the workshop, including the full call for participation, visit the workshop website.

For more information about the CHI conference, visit the conference website.

Contact: Dorothé Smit

Who does the Maker Movement belong to? And who belongs to the Maker Movement?

In the context of the FFG Project FEM*mad, we have conducted a study at Schmiede 2020, interviewing ten women* attendees of the festival about their experiences coming to Schmiede, finding their space — physical, mental and emotional — at the festival, and the contextual characteristics that supported them, or were lacking, during their artistic maker journeys.

The outcomes of these interviews are now published in the Open Access Paper, The Women* Who Made It: Experiences from Being a Woman* at a Maker Festival, by Nathalia Campreguer França, Dorothé Smit, Stefanie Wuschitz, and Verena Fuchsberger.

The findings presented in the paper were wonderfully illustrated by Stefanie Wuschitz, depicting both the artistic work that is often the foundation of women*’s engagement with tech-related making, and the struggles that the interviewees described in performing their artistic work.

The FEM*mad project is ongoing until October 2022. In the upcoming year, based on the findings from this paper and other research activities, several interventions to increase the diversity among makerspace participants, will be implemented and evaluated in makerspaces in Austria.

Contact: Dorothé Smit

This workshop focused on the material qualities of dislocation. The process of humans becoming separated from each other is likely to have diverse consequences; from shifting frequency, modes, or routines of communication and collaboration, to completely alternate means of connection. In this workshop, we discussed a broad range of material manifestations and implications of (researching and designing for) dislocation and /re)connection. We reflected on the state of the art and anecdotal experiences, discussed research gaps and potentials, and explored hands-on how design can create opportunities for (re)connection in response to dislocation.

See the full workshop proposal here.

Key questions guiding the workshop:

  • Which physical / socio-cultural / material practices exist, whether technologically mediated or not, to reconnect in case of dislocation?
  • Which materials or which interactive qualities are promising to be used for reconnecting?
  • How can material qualities account for the (often invisible) networked digital apparatus surrounding dislocated interactions?
  • How can we study the way material qualities in dislocation are actively adopted in everyday practices and how people give meaning to them?

Workshop Participants

  • Robb Mitchell, Southern Denmark University
  • Konstantin Aal, University of Siegen
  • Marije Nouwen, Mintlab, KU Leuven
  • Susanna Vogel, Center for Human-Computer Interaction, University of Salzburg
  • Eléni Economidou, Center for Human-Computer Interaction, University of Salzburg
  • Jakub Sypniewski, Center for Human-Computer Interaction, University of Salzburg


The workshop started with a presentation by the organisers on the definitions of dislocation and connection, as well as the definition of play that would be used during the workshop:

“Play isn’t doing what we want, but doing what we can with the materials we find along the way. And fun isn’t the experience of pleasure, but the outcome of tinkering with a small part of the world in a surprising way.”

Ian Bogost. 2016. Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. [p3f]

State-of-the-art technological solutions were also shown and discussed with the participants, such as the Internet of Toys by Van Mechelen, Zaman, Bleumers and Mariën; and the CuteCircuit Hug ShirtWe then introduced three materials (though not necessarily physical materials) to guide our discussions. Those materials were time, space, and the body.


  • How can a tangible artifact facilitate different notions of time in dislocation?
  • How do we interact with time and through time over distance?
  • What design qualities emerge?
    • time as material
    • time as context
    • time as content
    • time as limitation
    • time as presence


  • How can we use shared virtual spaces for reconnection?
  • The problem with 2D technologies
  • The problem with 3D spaces


  • How can we view clothes as design material for resembling physical presence?
  • What are qualities of worn artefacts?
  • What roles do memories and connotations play?

Introductions & Anecdotes

Following the organisers’ introduction of the workshop themes, it was up to the participants to introduce themselves. Before the workshop, the participants were asked to think about (digital or analog) artefacts, materials or tools that they used to (re)connect, and to bring them to the workshop. The things brought to the workshop ranged from postcards from grandma, a pet monitoring video app used to check on the cat, shells brought from the sea side, a book sent back and forth between friends, and many more. The often quite personal anecdotes from participants sparked a great deal of discussion about shared experiences and different approaches for (re)-connection.


We moved from a round table discussion towards a constructive mapping session, in which we sketched the landscape of dislocation, focussing on challenges, blindspots and opportunities. Because of the nature of the question, the landscape immediately turned into a a sea full of islands, with connecting bridges, boats and ships, and sea-creatures that may support or disrupt (re)connection.

Material Explorations

Based on the sketched landscape, the participants spent a quick 15 minutes individually brainstorming ideas to reconnect dislocated family members. The ideas that the participants came up with were shared among the group, and overlap and shared interests were discovered. The ideas were also matched to the themes of space, time and body. In the last 90 minutes of the workshop, the participants split up into two groups and quickly created prototypes of the proposed solutions, using basic materials, such as paper, beads, wooden pieces, etc.

Future Steps

  • Digitize/Materialize Islandscape of Dislocation and Reconnection
  • Distill design sensitivities
  • Use new Islandscape for next workshop
Contact: Dorothé Smit

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction is proud to announce that it will host the 17th International conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Practice-centred computing and the Design of cooperation technologies, ECSCW 2019! The conference will take place from June 8 to June 12 2019, at the Center for HCI and the Faculty of Chemistry and Physics of Materials at Techno-Z in Salzburg.

The conference will unite young and senior researchers who are working in the field of computer-supported cooperative work and will host single-track presentation sessions that will contribute to shaping the future of practice-focused CSCW research

The ECSCW conference is an important venue for defining and further develop the agenda of CSCW research with a focus on the in-depth understanding of human practices and on the design of cooperation technologies based on such understanding. By organising the conference  at the Center for HCI, we aim this year’s conference at exploratory and hands-on work. We will have two exciting keynotes to respectively open and close our conference.

The opening keynote will be given by Friedrich Kirschner, who is a Professor for digital media and head of the Masters Program “Spiel && Objekt” at the University of Performing Arts Ernst Busch in Berlin. The closing keynote will be given by Hanne De Jaegher, philosopher of mind and cognitive science, who put forward the enactive theory of intersubjectivity called participatory sense-making: informing how we think, work, and play (basically live and love) together.

For more information, visit the conference website. Convinced? Go straight to the registration page.

Contact: Dorothé Smit


The Center for Human-Computer Interaction is, again, a proud partner of Digital Spring, the biennial Media Arts Festival hosted by ARGEKultur in partnership with subnet, the Center, and other local partners.

Next year, Digital Spring will boast the theme ‘STAND BY’: neither on, nor off, but always ready.

STAND BY describes the attention-economy of users of digital media and social networks in terms of a permanent stand-by-mode. As the device itself, the user has to work up each incoming information as fast as possible. STAND BY also tells about an almost passive human subject facing the complexity and terrific speed of technological progress. Or it sketches a scenario of an entirely modified work environment of digital capitalism. In this perspective, the individual is an always available workforce and is – due to technologization – more and more excluded from performing work him- or herself. – Theresa Serephin, Curator for Digital Spring

Open Call

We are looking for non-commercial media-art-projects within the fields of Fine Arts and Performing Arts. The projects should be designed especially for this festival and cover the motto. The concepts can be designed for a performance or an exhibition space. The festival can finance the projects with a maximum of 3.000 Euro. Co-productions are possible and preferable. Spaces, infrastructure and public relation activities are provided by the festival. The call addresses local as well as international artists and groups.

In the four weeks leading up to the Festival, the Center will host an artist residency in partnership with subnet. Artists can apply with a project matching the festival motto and they can develop it on site. A presentation of the project (state of the working process or premiere) takes place during the festival. The residency is located in the rooms of subnet and HCI, where artists get access to the infrastructure and equipment of the workplace. Additionally to production costs, the artists are provided a working budget of 1000 €.

More info about the open call and the residency — deadline for both on June 30th 2019 — can be found here (scroll down to subnetAIR residency).

Contact: Dorothé Smit

From March 17th until March 20th, Martin and Dorothé attended the 13th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI). Along with 200 other participants, they enjoyed an exciting three-day conference and a full day of studio workshops.

Martin and Dorothé, together with Bernhard, as well as Katrin Wolf and Jens Reinhardt from the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, organised one of those Studios. In ‘Be the Meeple‘, we explored new perspectives on traditional board games by means of a 360 degree livestream to a virtual reality head set. Practically, this means that you can take a new look on a board game from any perspective you can place the camera in – be it on the game board, inside a Jenga Tower, connected to a(nother) player’s body, et cetera. With 6 participants, we explored all these new perspectives in rounds of existing game play, after which we spent the afternoon designing and trying out new games that capitalized on these new perspectives as a game mechanic.

Thanks to the lovely weather, it was even possible to play some of the games outside. The pictures below will give you some impression of the day (thanks to Martin and Jeroen Peeters for sharing their pictures!).

We’re looking forward to TEI’20 in Sydney, Australia!

Contact: Dorothé Smit

Schmiede is a collaborative, experimental art and technology, festival-hackathon-hybrid. With around 300 people participating annually, Schmiede hosts smiths from all over the world with all kinds of backgrounds: visual arts, sound design, programming, performance arts, sculpture, installation design – just to name a few.

Every year in September, the smiths convene for ten days in The Saline on the Pernerinsel of Hallein, Austria, with the goal to create, network and present.

Studio Drey at Schmiede 2017

Following the successful participation at Schmiede last year, the Center, under the denominator ‘Studio Drey’, set up another lab at Schmiede in 2017. With Studio Drey, we intend to push the limits of interaction design experimentation on the border of technology and art. This year, we brought several projects to Schmiede. The showpiece this year was the MidiCar: a project that aimed to translate all sensor data of a Volkswagen Golf to midi-outputs, so as to turn the car itself – all of its buttons, switches, sliders, the doors, the steering wheel – into a musical instrument. Aside from that, Studio Drey supported MiniSchmiede, which took place the weekend before Schmiede started.


MiniSchmiede is a project in the same vein as GrownupSchmiede – but geared towards children. Over the course of a weekend, children are taught to take apart and examine old electronic materials – printers, mobile phones, computers, toys – to discover their potential for new creations.

The goal of MiniSchmiede was not just to teach children how to build a robot using motors and fans taken from old electronics, but to show them that through curiosity, self-reliance, and perseverance, they can create new things (that move!). The focus during the weekend was on the independence of the children, and the cooperation between them, based on an ‘anything goes’ principle: try, fail, try again.

Studio Drey supported the exploration of the materials, finding possibilities to build moving things, and putting those things together. In the end, the children participated in a Hebocon – a robot fighting competition for the technically ungifted.

MiniSchmiede 2017 was organized and supported by Lilli and Rüdiger Wassibauer, DO!LABC’QUENCE, Giovi, Susanne Vogel and Bernhard Förg.


As part of an exploration towards extending interactions with standstill technology, we partly deconstructed a car and made it into a musical instrument. We ended up utilizing the car’s hardware (i.e., doors, steering wheel, blinker, etc.) as sensors and actuators. These signals were then transferred into midi signals and patched into a music software to let the car become a midi-controller and musical instrument. During the Werkschau we collaboratively made music with the MidiCar, having the car resemble the different parts of a typical band.


Are machine learning algorithms inherently sexist? Using biometric data for authorization and recognition is nothing new, however very much discussed lately. On the forefront of technology, biometric data is used in, for example, the new iPhone, which uses the face to grant access to the phone. On the other side, reports have shown that there are automatic soap dispensers that refuse to recognize black hands or digital cameras that ask Asian people if they blinked in photos.

Clearly, machine learning – a pretty complex practice – is not without faults. For Schmiede, we initially planned to implement a mood detector, which analyses the facial features of Schmiede participants to guess their mood. However, during pre-tests we discovered that the face detector was detecting not only faces but sometimes even the chest area, and to be more precise, in most of these cases the program detected breasts.

Using the creative Schmiede environment we changed our plans and started to build a breast detector using machine learning. To collect the dataset needed to teach a computer about recognizing chests – computer vision is achieved through the feeding of countless of ‘base’ pictures to a machine learning algorithm – we set up a ‘Boobth’: a booth in which smiths (both female and male) could take a picture of their chest. The process was completely anonymous. The smiths’ faces were not captured in the Boobth. After four days, we ended up with about 40 unique, chest-forward pictures per sex (and countless more with different postures, positions, and more or fewer layers of clothing). We then attempted to teach a computer to recognize breast, based on this dataset. While the experiment was not quite successful (for effective machine learning, a dataset would need at least over 100 unique pictures per gender, and weeks of computing time would be needed to create accurate recognition), the Boobth and the subsequent installation showing the results sparked lively conversation about the possibilities and impossibilities of Machine Learning.


Of course, Studio Drey did not miss the HeboCon this year! Although we were going for a revanche of last year’s mediocre outcome, Ginnie in the Bottle did not make it very far. But hey, at least she looked good doing it!

Contact: Dorothé Smit