Programming for Moving Bodies

A NordiCHI '20 Workshop

October 2020 26th

Movement plays an increasingly important role in interactive systems design, from users’ physical engagement, to how designed artefacts can move or be moved, and to the concert between users and artefacts. Designers, as well as programmers, have to engage more and more in physical activities when they want to create appealing experiences involving movement.

There is a need for articulating emerging dialogues between designers, developers, and their materials. We will explore such dialogues in a 2-half-day workshop, focusing on data and its challenges, on tools and methods, on sensing and actuation when designing or detecting subtle body movements, and on catering for bodily changes over time.


Workshop date: Monday October 26th

The workshop day is coming closer! Here are a few news items

  1. The schedule is update!

  2. Submissions are made available through a link you recieved via email.

  3. The presenters of each paper have the task to prepare a 3 min provocation: A question, an artefact (video, scenario, piece of code related to the challenge you have). Feel free to present it through slides, video or show and tell.

Schedule (CET)

09:00 Hello, welcome and Introduction

09:15 Paper provocations (up to 3 minutes each)

10:00 10-min Break

10:10 Session 1

10:40 5-min break

10:45 Session 2

11:15 5-min break

11:20 Session 3

11:50 LUNCH (30 min)

12:20 Miro-based world café

12:45 15-min Break

13:00 Plenary (summary, plans for the future)

14:00 End

Workshop goals

We invite all participants to collaboratively map out, discuss and reflect on existing approaches to programming with and for moving bodies, and in tandem with computational composite materials.

This design space can include, but is not limited to, programming interactions with autonomous agents (e.g., drones), wearable interactions, dance performances, or programming somaesthetic, interactive experiences, requiring an intimate coupling between bodies and computational materials.

By bringing together researchers working in these or in similar domains, we aim to outline the possibilities and limitations offered by existing programming paradigms for domains where moving bodies (human and non-human) are central.

Based on this mapping, we seek to cover the following themes which highlight core challenges and opportunities:

  • What new tools and methods would be needed for programming with and for movements?
    This theme speaks to the challenges stemming from representational programming paradigms when designing with bodily movements, and when including human and more-than-human assemblies.

  • How to map implicit or subtle bodily movements (sensing) to responses on computational composite materials (actuation)?"
    This theme encompasses challenges brought by, for example, mapping bodily movements that can be subtle, such as micro-movements, to behaviours on shape-changing materials, and it offers a lens to discuss opportunities emerging in this space.

  • How to work with bodily data as a design material when programming with and for bodies?
    This theme suggests opportunities for bridging the gap between bodies and data as two disparate entities, bringing them closer instead. We want to move beyond data visualized on a screen and instead turning bodily data into a material in order to be explored close to the body, similar to any other design material.

  • How can programming with and for moving bodies cater for different bodies and for changing bodies?
    This theme suggests opportunities for going beyond the understanding of bodies as "static", taking into account that the bodies for which we program interactions change over time throughout short- and long-term cycles and processes, as they age and go through meaningful life transitions. We want to take a plurality of bodies into account, including both the designer’s/programmer’s and the end-users’ bodies.

After the workshop we plan to invite participants to submit to a special journal issue. We aim for ACM Transactions in Computer-Human Interaction.

Call for papers

We invite researchers and practitioners who design with bodies and their movement to submit

  • A statement of interest in the shape of a position paper
    (ACM single-column "Review Submission Format", up to 4 pages)

  • And/or a video.

The submission should reflect on an ongoing or finished project by the participant that relates to, or reinterprets one or more of the proposed themes. It may include a challenging programming-for-movement scenario, a created artefact, or a conceptual piece that could be showcased at the workshop.

The workshop will be held in two half-day sessions. We aim for an interactive experience, facilitated either online or in person, with space for discussion, self-expression, and physical and hands-on activities. We highly encourage participants to bring inspirational materials and artefacts to the workshop, related to the workshop themes.

The possible publication of workshop participants contributions is the sole decision and responsibility of the workshop organisers.


Cristian Bogdan is the founder of physical interaction design education at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He does research on programming by novice users as well as novel forms of programming.

Vasiliki Tsaknaki is an Assistant Professor at the Digital Design department, at the IT University of Copenhagen. Her research combines materials experiences, computational crafts and soma design methods in HCI.

Charles Windlin is a doctoral researcher at the Soma Design research group, at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. His research explores how to co-design interactive technologies within mental health with soma design methododolgy.

Marianela Ciolfi Felice is a postdoctoral researcher in Interaction Design at KTH. Her research explores the inter- section between digital women’s health and soma design. Previously, she worked on creativity support in choreography.

Ozgun Kilic Afsar is a doctoral researcher at Tangible Media Group at MIT Media Lab, and Soma Design research group at KTH. Her research explores co-adaptivity in interaction using on-body robotic swarms as dynamic assistants and co-performing agents.

Ylva Fernaeus is a researcher in interaction design at KTH, Stockholm. Research background in tangible and embodied programming, both for screen based dynamic media, robotic devices and full body interactive experiences.

Sara Eriksson is a doctoral researcher in the Stockholm Technology and Interaction Research group at Stockholm University. Her research explores bodily and material experiences in design and interaction with drones.

Pedro Sanches is a Postdoctoral researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He bridges the fields of interaction design and critical data studies, considering data as a design material in interactive applications.