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CHI 2010 Conference Preview

As technology becomes pervasive in our environment, computer-human interaction (CHI) design professionals have increasingly more opportunities to enhance the quality of life through innovative designs and applications. “The CHI 2010 Conference presents a rich program of leading ideas in research and current practice that create and support future directions of technology,” notes Dr. Elizabeth Mynatt, Director of the GVU Center and Professor at the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. As the CHI 2010 Conference Chair, Mynatt has first-hand knowledge of the impact ideas born at this conference have on designing useful, usable technologies with the potential to transform individual lives. This year’s event will be held April 10-15 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Originally a small conference for psychologists interested in user interface design, the annual CHI conference has grown to include a very diverse participant group (including interaction designers, computer scientists, engineering psychologists, developers and performing artists, and more), and to deal with larger problems such as the organizational integration of technology. This year’s conference marks 28 years of research, innovation and development in the field of Human-Computer Interaction and is expected to draw more than 2000 professionals from over 40 countries. CHI 2010 offers a provocative view into future interactions with technologies.

Featuring over 700 works, the CHI conference is the premier worldwide forum for the exchange of information on all aspects of human-computer interaction. These works are presented in several different venues including panel discussions, paper sessions, works-in-progress, a doctoral consortium, courses that provide leading-edge HCI knowledge, workshops, special interest group sessions, student design and research competitions, a doctoral consortium, case studies, and interactive demonstrations. New this year is the Media Showcase, which encompasses a myriad of leading-edge interactive demonstrations, high-tech performances, and a video night (popcorn included). Also of interest are special presentations on future technologies for searching, social networking, surface computing, “greener” homes, healthier bodies, agriculture in developing nations, and many other emerging areas of global concern.

The following areas represent a small portion of the total conference. For complete information about this year’s conference, consult the Advance Program.

Presentations of Special Interest

  • Skinput - a presentation on a technology that appropriates the human body for acoustic transmission, allowing the skin to be used as an input surface. Read more about this futuristic technology at the BBC and New Scientist.
  • Improving Search Techniques - a presentation on researchers consulting children to improve search techniques. Read more about this in the New York Times article or listen to NPR.
  • Connect 2 Congress - presentation on a visual analytic system that allows constituents to monitor congressional activities.

Health Care Management and Aging

Additional presentations within this topic area include:


“Green” Home Resource Management

These and several other presentations examine possible ways of managing resource use at home.

Social Networking Technologies

These and other sessions examine various aspects of participation, including social network activity and motivations to participate in online communities.

Surface Computing and Natural User Interfaces

Connecting, Communicating, Remembering Family and Friends

Digital communication technologies provide unique opportunities for sharing life stories. Researchers from Kodak Research Labs, Microsoft Research, Carnegie-Mellon and other leading universities examine the uses of technologies with family and friends.


Technology Use in Developing Countries

Plenary/Keynote Speakers

The conference formally opens and closes with plenary speakers. This year's speakers are Dr. Genevieve Bell and Dr. Noel Sharkey.

Dr. Genevieve Bell will open the conference with a talk entitled Messy Futures: Culture, Technology and Research. “The development of future technologies will come about in unexpected ways using different business models, different regulations and different forms of adoption and resistance,” notes Dr. Bell. “There are huge opportunities for technological innovation. However, researchers need to be willing to move out of their comfort zones - both personally and intellectually.” Dr. Bell is the Intel Fellow of the Digital Home Group and Director of the User Experience Group at INTEL Corp.

Dr. Noel Sharkey, BA PhD FIET FBCS CITP FRIN FRSA, will close the conference with a talk entitled Doing what’s Right with Robots: an Ethical Appraisal of Robot Application. Professional and service robots already vastly outnumber industrial robots. “[They] are good at dull, dangerous, and dirty work, such as cleaning sewers and windows and performing domestic duties. They harvest fruit, pump gasoline, assist doctors and surgeons, dispose of bombs, police us, entertain us, have sex with us and even kill us,” Dr. Sharkey remarks, but he wonders, “Would you let robots care for your children, mind your aging parents, perform surgery on you, protect your home and fight your wars?” His talk will briefly overview today’s service robots and their benefits and then focus on the near-future ethical dangers that they pose. Dr. Sharkey is a Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Sheffield (Department of Computer Science) and EPSRC Senior Media Fellow.

Interactive Sessions: Demonstrations. Performances, Video

Media Showcase, a high-visibility interactive program, is a new category of presentation featuring hands-on demonstrations, music and dance performances, and videos. The first of 44 presentations will debut Monday evening at the conference reception in the Grand Hall of the Hyatt Atlanta. Additional interactive presentations are interspersed throughout the conference. Conference participants will also have the opportunity to hear performers and demonstrators describe their research at scheduled conference panels on Tuesday and Wednesday.


In addition to the technical presentations, CHI 2010 offers a diverse series of 28 full and half-day courses. These courses range from basic classes, such as Human-Computer Interaction: Introduction and Overview to narrowly focused advanced topics, such as New Methods for Designing for and with the iChild: Strategies for Today’s Mobile, Social, and Internet Technologies. Other examples of the wide range of offerings include Ajax Design and Usability and Understanding Users in Context: An In-depth Introduction to Field Research.

Professional Networking/Job Fair

Valued equally with the technical sessions and courses are the informal conversations that help form a community of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) professionals. Many attendees return each year because the relationships formed with other members of the community are as important as technical sessions. Conference attendees can spend their days encountering unexpected new ideas and taking advantage of formal and informal networking opportunities to discuss them. Of special interest is the Tuesday night Job Fair, a scheduled time for interested participants to explore employment opportunities.

Conference Sponsors

Organizations contributing to the financial support of the conference include Champion Sponsors, Google, Inc.; Microsoft Corp.; the National Science Foundation (NSF); and Yahoo! Inc. Contributing Sponsors include Autodesk, IBM Research, Intel, Nokia, and SAP. See a complete list of this year's sponsors.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, www.acm.org, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.


CHI 2010 is sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction (SIGCHI). The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction, www.sigchi.org, is the world’s largest association of professionals in the research and practice of computer-human interaction. SIGCHI serves as a forum for ideas on how people communicate and interact with computer systems. This interdisciplinary group of computer scientists, software engineers, psychologists, interaction designers, graphic designers, sociologists, and anthropologists is committed to designing useful, usable technology which has the potential to transform individual lives. SIGCHI has more than 60 local chapters for HCI professionals across five continents, publishes the SIGCHI Bulletin quarterly, and co-sponsors conferences and workshops to advance the field of computer-human interaction.