University hosts major international technology conferences


The University of St Andrews has hosted two major conferences on the newest technology in human-computer interaction.

The 8th ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS) and the 26th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) were hosted by the University’s Human Computer Interaction (HCI) group and brought together world leading technology experts, presenting about 100 new developments and papers.

With roughly 500 people in attendance from all over the globe, these conferences are expected to have brought about £1 million into the local economy. The conferences attracted major companies such as Microsoft, Samsung, Disney and Smart Technologies.

This was the first time that the UIST has been hosted in the UK, reflecting the University’s growing influence in HCI research.

Research presented at the conference included: technology which judges the positioning of a finger on a touch screen using a depth sensor; a system of customisable passive tangible controllers that broaden and enhance the interaction area of standard smartphones; a 3D ‘body avatar’ created using first-person body gestures; and a tongue training system for children with Down’s syndrome.

Professor Aaron Quigley, of the school of computer science at the University, is the general co-chair of ITS and UIST. He said: “St Andrews has grown its research excellence in HCI over the past few years.  We are now hosting two of the premier conferences in their areas of HCI. This presents an opportunity for everyone to consider what next generation interaction should offer, in science, the humanities and indeed life.

“Interfaces represent the point of contact between humans and computers. Improvements, innovations, new forms of interaction raise the possibility of enhancing our abilities, extending our thinking and overcoming the digital physical divide.”


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