Monday, November 16 2015 (in conjunction with the 12th Advances in Computer Entertainment Technologies (ACE) 2015, Iskandar, Johor, Malaysia)

While traditionally animal technology has been the concern of other disciplines, more recently the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) community has begun to take an interest in computer interactions involving animals,

particularly in the context of human-animal interactions, concomitantly with a growing market of various types of digital technologies aimed at animals and humans. For example, the commercial relevance of the emerging area can be seen in the many technologies marketed to canine owners, which consist of devices for training animals, taking care of them, as well as surveillance of them.

An increasing body of work originating from within the HCI community is shaping an emerging discipline, which – by analogy with HCI – has been dubbed Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI) and comprises: studying the interaction between animals, technology and humans in naturalistic settings; developing user-centered technology that supports animals and interspecies relationships; informing user-centered approaches to the design of technology intended for animals.

Previous research on human-animal interaction contains technical research on species-appropriate computer-mediated interaction as well as studies on everyday interaction between humans, dogs and computers . We aim to establish a conference on this topic to bring about better understanding, radical new methods and systems for computer supported interaction between species. Human-animal interaction is at best an emerging theme within human computer interaction. The research in this area has been limited, making it difficult to understand the experience of such new technologies and what to design next.

We aim to improve the understanding of the interaction between animals and humans, and making space for other species than the latter.

It builds on a longstanding concern for Inter-species relationship within anthropology and related disciplines, which challenge distinctions between culture and nature, humans and non-humans .

Within the HCI field, there are several systems oriented projects that investigate how to digitally enable interaction between humans and animals. This research makes visible the specific challenges that need to be addressed when facing animal interaction capabilities, such as the inadequacy of text based interaction. The systems developed will need to investigate multi-sensory interaction and allow for significant sensorial variations such as audition, vision, haptic, gustation, and olfaction, to be conveyed as mixed reality communication media between humans and animals. The methods used are equally challenging and needs to be addressed. They need to account for uncertainties and complexities both in understanding humans and animals, and the type of novel systems that support interaction.

In all, the conference will provide a forum for research which invents and investigates how animals could be more extensively part of the 21st century age of internet, games and enabling technologies. We join emerging researchers in an area that promises to be fun, useful, vibrant and very surprising.