LIA-UFSCar

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LIA – Advanced Interaction Laboratory (in Portuguese: Laboratório de Interação Avançada) was founded in 2003 as a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research lab in the Department of Computer Science at UFSCar – Federal University of São Carlos. LIA’s mission is to research innovative Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) approaches for designing, developing and using ICT aiming contributing to overcome the challenges faced in the adoption of ICT considering social, professional, economical, political and cultural context of use.

One of LIA's main project is the Open Mind Common Sense in Brazil (OMCS-Br). The project started in 2005 in a partnership with Media Lab from MIT. It is an approach for developing culture-sensitive interactive systems, which relies on using a common sense knowledge for developing such kind of systems. That is because individuals communicate with each other by assigning meaning to their messages based on their prior beliefs, attitudes, and values, i.e. based on their common sense. Previous researches developed at the Lab have shown that common sense expresses cultural knowledge. So, providing this kind of knowledge for computers is a way of allowing the development of culture-sensitive computer applications (Anacleto et al., 2006).

Another project developed in the laboraty is called UNITY (Using Natural Interfaces to promoTe empathY). This project, in a partnership with a special chronic care hospital for individuals with neurological and brain disorders, intends to focus on patients that are in the hospital selected for transitioning to live in society again. As changes in the therapeutic procedures for patients means changes in the working procedures for health professionals, this project looks mainly to investigate how ICT can enhance natural interaction among health professionals that can lead to a more connected, tuned and active community, specially considering the nomadic nature of their work. Therefore, in the hospital space and surrounds, it is necessary to investigate how a more natural, integrated and environmental ICT interactive system can provide better supportive tools and shared devices for executing those tasks, helping them on the challenge of monitoring and communicating with patients, potentially allowing a smoother transition process for the patients from the hospital to the community, the main concern and also mandatory by law in Brazil. Our research will investigate three key areas to assist with their socialization, aiming to integrate institutionalized people into their home and the society: (1) supporting the community of health professionals to have new information channels to establish a support workflow and framework amongst themselves, (2) supporting the patients' community within their environment to allow them to establish communal skills and participate in their community, (3) support communication mechanisms between health professionals and the patient community based on natural interaction paradigms to coordinate monitoring and assistance appropriate to the level of support required by the patients to establish a sustainable model for community transitioning responsive to the dynamic nature of social inclusion. In each area, we are considering the health professional team and patients skills, culture, natural and flexible (adaptive and adaptable) interaction mechanisms and adopted procedures as well as how the health professionals and patients respond to ICTs as requirements to be addressed during the project. We anticipate the NUIs we expect to design as tools for the health professional and patients will be useful for any group that has socialization deficits. As well, these technologies may also support patients’ inclusion as it they will provide access to the same social structures using the same devices as the non-disabled community. In this first 2 years (2011-2013), our main goal is the key area (1).

Main research areas:

  • Natural Interactions
  • Culture
  • Context Awareness
  • Social Networking
  • Education
  • Sensitive Design
  • Common Sense Reasoning
  • Games
  • Emotions

LIA researchers objectives are on research and development of new concepts and methodologies focused on multidisciplinary issues and the creation of open source tools geared to the promotion, development and sharing of knowledge through the adoption of ICTs.