Book Chapter

Our book chapter is finally out! 😀

Last year we were invited to submit a book chapter for the second volume of a really successful title, Playful User Interfaces: Interfaces that Invite Social and Physical Interaction, edited by Anton Nijholt. We are really happy that our work is finally included in this second volume, More Playful User Interfaces and would like to thank Anton for this great opportunity.

Our book chapter is entitled Envisioning Future Playful Interactive Environments for Animals. It includes, on one hand, an analysis of existing playful digital interactions with animals and, on the other hand, a formal proposal and motivation for the development of Intelligent Playful Environments for Animals. The benefits and applications these systems could bring to the ACI community and to animal welfare are outlined, and future issues and questions to resolve are also described. Here you can read the abstract:

Play stands as one of the most natural and inherent behavior among the majority of living species, specifically humans and animals. Human play has evolved significantly over the years, and so have done the artifacts which allow us to play: from children playing tag games without any tools other than their bodies, to modern video games using haptic and wearable devices to augment the playful experience. However, this ludic revolution has not been the same for the humans’ closest companions, our pets. Recently, a new discipline inside the human–computer interaction (HCI) community, called animal–computer interaction (ACI), has focused its attention on improving animals’ welfare using technology. Several works in the ACI field rely on playful interfaces to mediate this digital communication between animals and humans. Until now, the development of these interfaces only comprises a single goal or activity, and its adaptation to the animals’ needs requires the developers’ intervention. This work analyzes the existing approaches, proposing a more generic and autonomous system aimed at addressing several aspects of animal welfare at a time: Intelligent Playful Environments for Animals. The great potential of these systems is discussed, explaining how incorporating intelligent capabilities within playful environments could allow learning from the animals’ behavior and automatically adapt the game to the animals’ needs and preferences. The engaging playful activities created with these systems could serve different purposes and eventually improve animals’ quality of life.

Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, who I met in Madeira at the 1st International Congress on Animal Human Computer Interaction, asked us a few questions about the chapter, our future work and our opinions on some issues regarding ACI and playful environments, and posted the interview on her blog page:

Here is the link to the book:

And here is the link to the book chapter itself:

And of course, if you want more info on the chapter, please contact us!