July 18, 2017

International exchange project with Cyprus Interaction Lab

An Exchange with Europe’s Cyprus Interaction Lab

Earlier this summer, SWaGUR professor Lennart Nacke visited the Cyprus Interaction Lab visited from the Cyprus University of Technology on an Erasmus exchange for teaching and training of students there and to set up a collaboration with the group to integrate the local training efforts with the SWaGUR training opportunities in Canada. Many of the researchers there are interested in new interaction techniques and learning. Learning is, of course, an essential part of game design and there is an exciting overlap to the research being done in SWaGUR. At the meeting, the researchers discussed better training opportunities for students in Canada and in Cyprus and began a collaboration. As part of the initial Erasmus exchange, the next step was to send a visitor from the Cyprus Interaction Lab to Canada.

A Research Visit from Cyprus

Andreas Papallas, a Research Fellow at the Cyprus Interaction Lab visited the HCI Games Group at the Games Institute of the University of Waterloo in Canada last week from the Cyprus University of Technology, and presented an overview of design research theory applied to gamification and architecture. Despite the depth and complexity of the topic, Andreas presented it from a philosophical level, and provided frequent anecdotes to ground the audience in an otherwise dizzyingly abstract field. Andreas focused on the difference in questions that the social and natural sciences address, and the basis for which these differences arise – namely that these branches of science place different value on the role of subjective experience, which is at the heart of human-computer interaction and games user research.

Andreas also spent some time showing the HCI Games Group and Games Institute members some of the work being done at the Cyprus Interaction Lab, including play to develop hearing skills in hearing-impaired children (see video above), and the use of interactive movement-based learning to enhance emotional states and mathematics learning with special education students (see video below). These projects highlight the incredibly novel and applicable work being done at the Cyprus University of Technology. The Canadian researchers were impressed by the video documentation of the many different research projects done at the Cyprus Interaction Lab and the interdisciplinary nature of all of the work done there.

Andreas’ work as an HCI researcher came out during this talk and also in further discussions about funding future collaborations between the Cyprus University of Technology and the University of Waterloo. The HCI Games group looks forward to future conversations and collaboration between us and the Cyprus Interaction Lab!

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