CHI 2008
Luca Chittaro (blog), a professor at the University of Udine, covers the CHI 2008 conference in Florence for Novà, the innovation supplement of Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy’s business newspaper.

He is already at the pre-conference workshops where he is publishing interviews faster than we can read them:

Playing with brain-computer interfaces
Operating machines or playing videogames just with our thoughts is not science fiction anymore. And Anton Nijholt (bio), full professor of computer science at the University of Twente, is one of the researchers working at building so called brain-computer interfaces for these purposes. At CHI 2008, he is one of the organisers of the workshop on Brain-Computer Interfaces for HCI and Games that took place yesterday.

The disappearing desktop
How often do you feel that computers and mobile devices are not helping you as they should (and could) in managing your personal information? What can research and new applications do to improve this situation? Luca Chittaro spoke about this with two experts: Jaime Teevan (Microsoft Research) and William Jones (University of Washington). William and Jaime have edited the book “Personal Information Management“, and William is the author of the book “Keeping Found Things Found“. At CHI 2008, they are organising a workshop entitled The Disappearing Desktop: Personal Information Management 2008.

Intercultural interaction design
How should we approach interaction design when the applications are meant for foreign countries? And what if those countries belong to the developing world? John Thomas is very concerned with these topics. He is in the Research Staff at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center, and has worked in the area of Human-Computer Interaction for 30 years, publishing over 150 papers. At CHI 2008, he is one of the organisers of the workshop HCI for Community and International Development.

Exertion interfaces
We are going to soon carry out sports activities with our friends even when they are not in the same physical place as we are. More generally, computers will be increasingly used to persuade us to physically exercise and to make exercise more fun. At CHI 2008, Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller and Stefan Agamanolis have organised the workshop on Exertion Interfaces.

Computers for mental health
Will computers ever help us to get better when we are depressed or could they more generally be employed to help treating the numerous existing mental illnesses? At CHI 2008, Gavin Doherty (Trinity College Dublin) has organised a specific workshop on Technology in Mental Health. Chittaro talked with him to learn why and how computers can do good to our mental health.