St Andrews conference to generate £1m for local economy

Thursday 3 October 2013

Curved display surfaces

The latest developments in technology and how it will interact with humans in future, will be outlined at the University of St Andrews this week (6-11 October 2013)

Over 500 technology experts from around the world will gather in St Andrews for the first time to discuss the latest state-of-the-art technology.

Almost 100 of the latest developments in human-computer interaction will be unveiled during the two major international conferences hosted by the University.

Some of the research to be shown for the first time includes developments such as Disney’s revolutionary new way of reading electronic books and Microsoft’s ‘body avatar’.

It is expected that the two major events will generate around £1 million for the local economy.

The two major events, the 8th ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS) and the 26th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) will run at the University from Sunday 6 October to Friday 11 October.

The events are hosted by the Human Computer Interaction group at the University of St Andrews.

Professor Aaron Quigley, of the University’s School of Computer Science, is General Co-Chair for ITS and UIST.

He said, “St Andrews has grown its research excellence in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) over the past few years.  We are now hosting two of the premier conferences in their areas of HCI. This presents an opportunity for everyone to consider what next generation interaction should offer, in Science, the Humanities and indeed life.

“Interfaces represent the point of contact between humans and computers. Improvements, innovations, new forms of interaction raise the possibility of enhancing our abilities, extending our thinking and overcoming the digital physical divide.”

Part of the event is overseen by Dr Ivan Poupyrev, the Principal Research Scientist at Disney Research Pittsburgh named one of the 100 Most Creative People in the world earlier this year.

He said, “The UIST conference is on the cutting edge of innovation in user interface technologies and interaction design. If you can attend only one conference this year to learn about the future of interaction and how technology will be communicating with us in the future, it should be UIST.

“This is the first time UIST is taking place in the UK and that is really exciting. It shows truly universal appeal of user interface research, which crosses boundaries of cultures and countries. It is also an acknowledgment of some great research in human-computer interaction that is carried out by research groups in Scotland, including the University of St Andrews.”

Some examples of technologies being presented for the first time include:

  • A new method that uses 3D-printed optics to design curved display surfaces that can both display information and sense two dimensions of human touch.
  • A system that provides high-precision touchless mid-air feedback using ultrasound.
  • A multi-touch application that enables users to deform maps and infographics so that they can be better perceived by users.
  • A new method to harvest energy from paper-based interaction that enables ordinary paper to become interactive displays.
  • A new compact, low-power 3D sensor for gestural interaction with upcoming wearable devices like Google Glass and smart watches.

The event has been hailed by Visit Scotland as ‘fantastic news’ for Scotland as well as the local area.  Kerry Watson, Associations Marketing Manager at VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit, said, “These two conferences are fantastic news for the region and ambassadors like Professor Quigley play an integral role in attracting high-profile events to Scotland. With Business Tourism estimated to be worth £1.9 billion to the Scottish economy, these conferences help to further reinforce the country’s reputation as a premier destination in which to do business.”

The keynote lecture at ITS will be delivered by Jeff Han, Perceptive Pixel Founder and General Manager of the Perceptive Pixel Division at Microsoft, at 9am on Monday October 7th in the University’s Younger Hall.  The event will be open to the public as part of the University’s 600th celebrations. Seats can be reserved via:

Notes to editors

Professor Aaron Quigley is available for interview via [email protected] or 01334 461623

There will be a media demonstration at 19:00-21:30 on Wednesday 9 October.

If you would like to attend the demo session, please email Dr Per Ola Kirstensson ([email protected]) in advance for a press pass.

Please indicate whether you are interested in attending any of the main conference sessions.

Further information

The 8th ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS) is a premier event for research in the design and use of new and emerging tabletop and interactive surface technologies.

ITS will feature 35 and UIST will feature 62 new research paper presentations. The programme for ITS is available here:

The 26th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) is the premier forum for innovations in human-computer interfaces.

The programme for UIST is available here:

The other General Co-Chairs are Giulio Jaccuci from the University of Helsinki for ITS and Shahram Izadi from Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK) for UIST.

Other people involved in the conference locally are Dr Miguel Nacenta, Local Chair for UIST and Paper Co-Chair for ITS, and Dr Per Ola Kristensson, Local Chair for UIST and Demo Co-Chair for UIST.

Sponsored by ACM special interest groups on computer-human interaction (SIGCHI) and computer graphics (SIGGRAPH), UIST brings together people from diverse areas including graphical and web user interfaces, tangible and ubiquitous computing, virtual and augmented reality, multimedia, new input & output devices, and CSCW. This year the University of St Andrews is co-organising UIST together with Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK).


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