Domain: Research

Themes: Assistive & Accessible Technology

Rethinking the Senses: A Workshop on Multisensory Embodied Experiences and Disability Interactions

Location: Virtual Workshop

ACM CHI 2021

Friday May 14 | UTC 1200 – 1500 and Saturday May 15, 2021 | UTC 1300 - 1600

Submissions Accepted until March 10 (23:59 AoE)

The dynamic aspects of living with a disability, life transitions, including ageing, psychological distress, long-term conditions such as chronic pain and new conditions such as long-COVID affect people’s abilities. Interactions with this diversity of embodiments can be enriched, empowered and augmented through using multisensory and cross-sensory modalities to create more inclusive technologies and experiences. This workshop will explore three related sub-domains: immersive multi-sensory experiences, embodied experiences, and disability interactions and design. The aim is to better understand how we can rethink the senses in technology design for disability interactions and the dynamic self, constructed through continuously changing sensing capabilities either because of changing ability or because of the empowering technology. This workshop will: (i) bring together HCI researchers from different areas, (ii) discuss tools, frameworks and methods, and (iii) form a multidisciplinary community to build synergies for further collaboration.

The workshop proposal pre-print can be accessed via this link.

Workshop Aims and Topics

This workshop aims to build a community of researchers, designers and practitioners with interest in three main aspects: (i) expertise of designing for different senses or multisensory and cross-sensory technologies (ii) to support people with disability, but also for life transitions (e.g., ageing, new parents, becoming disabled) and long-term conditions (e.g., chronic pain and MS), and (iii) embodied interactions. This session will enable networking, new collaborations and potentially novel ways of exploiting such research from varied perspectives. Attendees will share knowledge and insights into methods and tools by discussing questions of interest, such as:

  • How can the artificial alteration of senses enable adaptation to different life experiences and even exploration of different selves/ identities due to dynamic life situations? What is the effect of such an alteration on mental health and self-efficacy? How can technologies adapt to people’s evolving sensory needs? What about sensory overload – when sensory stimulation through technology that seeks to augment becomes too much?
  • How can sensing technology for disability (or for different/ changing abilities) be designed to support this dynamic self or even enable fruitful exploration of self? What happens when such exploration leads to dysmorphic experiences , psychological distress or negative results on the self?
  • How can multisensory technologies enable and enhance novel interactions for leisure, entertainment, and social interactions, that support diverse ways of interacting, respectful of the diversity of abilities and sensory experiences?
  • Can a rethinking of sensing technology facilitate the critical change necessary to move beyond accessibility research and consider disability experiences in all their complexity?
  • What are the potential ethical issues that arise when doing such research? What kind and level of support needs to be in place?
  • Who are the stakeholders that need to be involved in this space?

Call for Participation

We invite researchers, practitioners, and designers with an interest in creating inclusive multisensory interactions for people of all abilities to submit position papers of up to 4 pages in single-column SIGCHI submission template (including references) stating their existing work, a conceptual design, or their position with respect to the workshop topic. Submissions should also include up to two discussion points and issues that participants would like to discuss in the workshop. We also welcome alternate submissions in the form of presentation slides, design sketches, and posters. Authors must ensure the accessibility of their submission by following the SIGCHI Accessibility Guidelines (

We are accepting rolling submissions until March 10, 2020 via email to Authors will be notified of the submissions by March 15 (1-day before CHI early registration deadline). The submissions can be individual or group. If accepted, at least one author must attend the workshop. All accepted submissions will be published on the website prior to the workshop.

Workshop Program

This two-day workshop will consist of three main activities which will be moderated by workshop organizers, interwoven by keynote talks by experts on the workshop themes of multisensory interactions, embodied experiences, and disability interactions to inspire discussion.


  • 15 min - Welcome and Introductions
  • 15 min - Keynote 1
  • 60 min - Activity 1: Situating multisensory interactions and embodied experiences in the context of disability
  • 10 min - Short break
  • 15 min - Keynote 2
  • 60 min - Activity 2: Formulating guiding principles for future work at the intersection of multisensory interactions and embodied disability experiences
  • 10 min - Wrap-up of Day 1


  • 15 min - Keynote 3
  • 60 min - Activity 3: Developing novel methods and approaches for co-designing for evolving user needs
  • 10 min - Short break
  • 60 min - Panel discussion
  • 15 min - Consolidate Future Plans and Closing

Invited Panellists and Workshop Organisers

The workshop panellists and organisers are experts in HCI research relevant to multi-sensory technologies, affective computing and embodied experiences, accessibility and assistive technologies, and disability design and interactions.

Invited Panellists

Sriram Subramanian

Professor, UCL Interaction Centre. (UCLIC)

Michael Proulx

Reader, Department of Psychology, University of Bath

Cecily Morrison

Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research Cambridge

Antonio Camurri

Professor, Human Computer Interaction, University of Genova

Workshop Organisers

Maryam Bandukda is a 4th year PhD student at UCL Interaction Centre and Global Disability Innovation Hub. Maryam’s research focuses on enabling and enhancing experiences of blind and partially sighted people in open spaces. Her PhD work is being supervised by Prof. Catherine Holloway, Prof. Nadia Berthouze, and Dr Aneesha Singh. Maryam’s PhD research has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Program.

A South Asian woman with black hair wearing a green chequered top

Aneesha Singh

Aneesha Singh is a lecturer (Assistant Professor) of Human-Computer Interaction at the UCL Interaction Centre. She is interested in the design, adoption and use of personal health and well-being technologies in everyday contexts. Her research focuses on digital health, ubiquitous computing, multisensory feedback and wearable technology, especially in sensitive and stigmatized populations.

Catherine Holloway is a Professor of Interaction Design and Innovation at UCL’s Interaction Centre and the Academic Director and co-founder of the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub). GDI Hub exists to accelerate disability innovation for a fairer world and Cathy’s research revolves around supporting this aim. GDI Hub supports the core values of the Paralympic movement - courage, determination, inspiration and equality - and seeks to design our activities in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Nadia Berthouze

Nadia Bianchi-Berthouze is a Full Professor in Affective Computing and Interaction at the UCL Interaction Centre. Her research focuses on designing technology that can sense the affective state of its users and use that information to tailor the interaction process. She has pioneered the field of Affective Computing and for more than a decade, she has investigated body movement and more recently touch behaviour as means to recognize and measure the quality of the user experience in full-body computer games, physical rehabilitation and textile design. She also studies how full-body technology and body sensory feedback can be used to modulate people’s perception of themselves and of their capabilities to improve self-efficacy and copying capabilities.

Emeline Brule

Emeline Brulé is a lecturer (Assistant Professor) of Product Design at University of Sussex. She is interested in disability design, technologies in education and the design process, and works at the intersection of sociology and Human-Computer Interaction.

Ana Tajadura-Jiménez

Ana Tajadura-Jiménez is a lecturer (Associate Professor) at the DEI Interactive Systems Group, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Her research focuses on multisensory body perception, wearable and self-care technologies at the intersection between the fields of human-computer interaction and neuroscience. She is currently Principal Investigator of the MagicOutFit project, which investigates the design of technology integrating sensory feedback to alter the way people perceive their body in order to drive positive changes in emotional and physical health in populations with body concerns.

Oussama Metatla

Oussama Metatla is a Senior Lecturer and EPSRC Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol. His research interests include exploring how insights and principles from multisensory interaction, cross-modal perception and embodied cognition could be used to design more inclusive interactions between people with and without disabilities.

Ana Javornik

Ana Javornik is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Digital Marketing at the School of Management, University of Bristol. Her research broadly focuses on consumer behaviour and digital marketing, with a particular interest in the use of augmented reality in commercial contexts and in relation to mental well-being. Her work has been published in internationally recognized journals and presented at leading conferences in marketing and human-computer interaction.

Anja Thieme

Anja Thieme is a Senior Researcher in the Health Intelligence group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK. Her work includes the design of interactive digital artefacts to aid the coping and self-management abilities of people with severe mental health problems, as well as audio-tactile technology to augment the learning processes and sense-making capabilities of people with vision impairments.

Workshop Submissions

Download workshop submissions

  • Johan Kildal “Senses, Contexts, Goals and User Profiles”
  • Laia Turmo Vidal “Sensory augmentation for the moving body” Uppsala University.
  • Louise Peterson Matjeka “Bodily play, movement-based games and
    Norwegian University of Science and Technology - NTNU, Trondheim.
  • Corina Sas “Towards Inclusive Multisensory Embodied Experiences for
    Affective and Cognitive Health”
    Lancaster University.
  • Dena A. Al-Thani, Kamran Khowaja, Bilkis Banire “Designing Reality-Based Learning Experience for Children with Mild to Moderate Autism Spectrum Disorder” Hamad Bin Khalifa University.
  • Victoria Armstrong, Christian Muise, Sara Nabil “Designing Stress-Responsive E-Textiles with Machine Learning Techniques” Queen’s University, Kingston.
  • Roxana Girju “Adaptive Multimodal and Multisensory Empathic Technologies
    for Enhanced Human Communication”
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Kevin Mark Storer “Social Interaction as Sensory Augmentation?” University of California, Irvine.
  • Elain Czech “Haptics as Communication” University of Bristol.
  • Chanmi Kim, Geke D. S. Ludden, Thomas J. L. van Rompay “From relaxation in nature to sensory-driven design intervention” University of Twente.
  • Venkatesh Potluri1, Jennifer Mankoff1, Steve Hodges2, James Devine2 “Multisensory Physical Computing for the Blind and Visually Impaired” (1) University of Washington, (2) Microsoft Research.
  • Leon Lu, Audrey Girouard “Learning Music Blind: Understanding Accessibility Challenges and Future
    Carleton University.
    Simon Kinneir “The Leaven Range - kitchenware for blind people” Royal College of Arts.
  • Judith Ley Flores “Altering body perception and emotion in physically inactive people through movement sonification” University Carlos III de Madrid.
  • Djamal Okoko “ANTInorm – the new living” University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.
  • Adriana Iniguez "Accessible conversational interfaces for people with visual and motor disabilities" University of Guadalajara, Mexico.
  • Audrey Ambles "Digital heritage for visually impaired people" University of Picardie Jules Verne.