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EX-SITU Research team

Extreme Interaction

  • Leader : Wendy Mackay
  • Type : team
  • Research center(s) : Saclay
  • Field : Perception, Cognition and Interaction
  • Theme : Interaction and visualization
  • Inria teams are typically groups of researchers working on the definition of a common project, and objectives, with the goal to arrive at the creation of a project-team. Such project-teams may include other partners (universities or research institutions)

Team presentation

The ex)situ group project seeks to create a new generation of interactive environments as an alternative to the current generation of desktop environments, ultimately to create a unified theory of interaction. We build upon the advances made by the former |in|Situ| group project, by deepening our understanding of interaction as a phenomenon, especially through our theoretical work on instrumental interaction and co-adaptive systems. We continue to develop novel interaction techniques, new tools to generate these techniques, and new methods to enhance the process of designing and using interactive systems. 

We work with extreme users, especially the creative professionals who push the limits of interactive systems and in so doing, teach us new possibilities as well as how to address new constraints. We also explore extreme environments, where multiple users interact with devices of all sizes, from tiny wearables to interactive rooms. To be successful, we must accommodate the vast diversity of interactive devices and software, in a form that is comprehensible, learnable, and appropriable by both novice and expert users.

Research themes

Fundamentals of Interaction: What are the actionable principles of a unified theory of interaction?

We develop concepts, methods and tools at three levels: the developer level, with new architectures and programming languages that promote openness for interaction through interoperability, the designer level, with new prototyping tools for creative and extreme prototyping, and the end-user perspective, with new configurable and co-adaptive systems.

Human-Computer Partnerships: How can we support reciprocal co-adaption between users and interactive systems?

We combine techniques from Human-Computer Interaction,  and Machine Learning to augment human capablities. We explore the various aspects of reciprocal co-adaptation, in which the human user both adapts to the computer, but also adapts or appropriates it; and the computer both learns from and adapts to the user, and also adapts to provide new opportunities for the user.

Creativity: How to support creative professionals in the early phases of the design process?

Using a participatory design approach, we observe and work with creative professionals who push the limits of interactive technology. Our studies of these extreme users allows us to obtain empirical grounding for the theoretical concepts of instrumental interaction, information substrates and reciprocal co-adaption. Our results directly influence the design of tools to support creative activity, first for expert users, then simplified and generatlized for non-specialists and non-professional users.

Collaboration: How to support co-located and remote collaboration among expert users?

We are interested in exploring new ways to support collaborative interaction, especially within and across large interactive spaces, such as those of the Digiscope network. Our work moves beyond the direct copy and exchange of information to a much more integrated level of sharing for both co-located and remote users.

International and industrial relations

Equipe Associée DECIBel, with UC Berkeley, USA

Collaborations with University of Aarhus, Google, Goldsmiths College, UC San Diego, University of British Columbia, McGill University

Keywords: Interactive systems Human-computer partnerships Collaboration Creativity Co-adaptive systems Instruments Substrates