The Artificiality of Natural User Interfaces

Thursday 28/02/2013 12:30-13:30
Location: Brunel University, Howell Building, Room H313
Speaker: Dr Alessio Malizia, Senior Lecturer in HCI, Brunel University


In this talk we discuss the artificiality of Natural User Interfaces (NUIs) and propose a new approach to design gestural interfaces. Today the word natural, as in NUIs, is mainly used to highlight the contrast with classical computer interfaces that employ artificial control devices whose operation has to be learned. We will discuss what we believe is the main point we have to face when designing for gestural interfaces: Are these interfaces natural only in the sense they offer a higher degree of freedom and expression power, when compared with a mouse-and-keyboard interface? Or, are we really aiming at empowering users with a means to communicate with computer systems so they feel more familiar with them?

Alessio Malizia joined Brunel as Senior Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction in October 2012. He moved to Brunel from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, where he was Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Social Computing. He has previously worked at Sapienza University of Rome, IBM, SGI and Xerox PARC where he was with the Human-Document Interaction group.
Alessio’s research and teaching interests focus on Human-Centred Systems. Alessio is interested in the design of Ubiquitous Interactive Systems with a special focus on the End-User Development community. He is particularly interested in systems where the physical and digital become seamlessly intertwined producing a new hybrid landscape and the study of problems arising from designing such complex hybrid environments involving collaboration of various disciplines and stakeholders.
His work is multi-disciplinary in nature and he has published over 70 papers, in different and renowned venues, such as: IEEE Pervasive Computing, ACM Communications, IEEE Computer, the Journal of Visual Languages and Computing, and proceedings of conferences relevant for his field, such as: ACM SIGGRAPH, ACM CHI, ACM AVI and IEEE VL/HCC among others. He wrote the book "Mobile 3D Graphics" published by Springer and he is currently on the editorial board of 2 international peer-reviewed journals. He has been awarded 2 times with the Research Council of Norway grants for highly qualified, international Ph.D. students and younger researchers. He is an IEEE and ACM member, and winner of two selected best paper awards in international conferences. His research work has been supported by the EU 6th and 7th framework programmes, the Spanish Ministry of Innovation, the Norwegian National Research Council and the EU regional funding for Italy.
He has an extended experience in teaching in multidisciplinary and International contexts. His teaching activities focus on basic courses for HCI curricula such as User–Interface Design or Ubiquitous Interaction. He was awarded two years in a row with funding for Teaching Innovation Initiatives by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. In 2012, he gave a series of invited seminars, funded by the EU Erasmus programme, in the doctorate programme at the University of Florence, Italy. He has supervised many postgraduate students in different institutions.
In his new role at Brunel, Alessio is keen to develop novel approaches and attract funding for improve scientific methods to design almost invisible interfaces embedded in a physical environment naturally exploited by users’ innate interaction modalities.