Call: CHI 2011 Workshop – Brain and Body Interfaces: Designing for Meaningful Interaction




The brain and body provide a wealth of information about the physiological, cognitive and emotional state of the user. There is an increasing opportunity to use physiological data as a form of input control for computerised systems. As entry level sensors become more cheaper and widespread, physiological interfaces are liable to become more pervasive in our society (e.g., through mobile phones and similar devices). While these signals offer new and exciting mechanisms for the control of interactive systems, the issue of whether these physiological interfaces are appropriate for application and offer the user a meaningful level interaction has been relatively unexplored.

The goal of this one-day workshop is to bring together researchers working on brain and body interactive systems in order to (1) provide a platform for understanding physiological interaction in different research strands, (2) establish a forum for the discussion of technologies, techniques and measures, and (3) build and extend the physiological computing community.


We are inviting technical contributions on the following three topics:

1. An Application Approach to Sensor Design

The design of a sensor at the hardware and software level defines the type of application for which the device is suitable. In medical and psychophysiological research, high-resolution data capture under laboratory conditions is standard. However not every type of physiological computer requires high-fidelity equipment and many of these systems must work in the field. Perhaps the physiological variable that drives the application must be captured with a degree of sensitivity and robustness. The application domain defines the requirements of the sensor and the type of hardware/software support required.

In submitting under this topic, we ask researchers to consider how the type of application influences the specification of measures and the required specification for sensor design. For example, a heart rate sensor combined with an accelerometer allows physical effort to be removed from changes in heart rate, allowing cognitive and emotional effects to be processed.

2. Meaningful Interactions with Physiology

A physiological computing system can define the relationship between the changes in a physiological signal and a system command in any number of ways. However, certain relations between the physical and virtual will be more intuitive if they can be made meaningful from the perspective of the user (i.e., a natural interaction). For example, increases and decreases in psychophysiological activation should lead to changes that are both appropriate and intuitive at the interface.

In submitting under this topic, we ask researchers to consider what defines a meaningful physiological interaction and what types of meaningful interaction may exist across different categories of physiological computing system (e.g. BCI, telemedicine, affective computing). We also welcome contributions with regard to methods that evaluate meaningful interaction within this context.

3. Ethics and Privacy

Physiological data of users are a highly personalised and private source of information. The storage and/or manipulation of these data can pose certain ethical concerns. For example, the uploading of physiological statistics to an online forum outside a medical context may lead to unsubstantiated self-diagnosis.

In submitting under this topic, we ask researchers to consider the ethics and privacy issues involved in the storage and/or manipulation of a users physiology (e.g., in biocybernetic adaptive systems) and to what extent should we allow the user’s state to be manipulated?


Authors are asked to submit a 4 page position paper in the CHI extended abstracts format to by 14 Jan, 2011. Papers may describe ongoing work, recent results, or opinions and approaches related to the workshop topic.

A short biography of the author(s) attending the workshop needs to be included (100-150 words). Papers will be peer-reviewed and the organizing committee will select up to 20 participants according to relevance, quality of results, research diversity, and likelihood for stimulating and contributing to the discussion. If accepted, at least one author must register for the workshop and for one or more days of the conference. Papers will also be compiled on the workshop website.


  • Submission deadline: January 14th, 2011
  • Notification of acceptance: February 11, 2011
  • Workshop: May 8th, 2011


  • Stephen H. Fairclough, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
  • Kiel Gilleade, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
  • Lennart E. Nacke, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Regan L. Mandryk, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

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