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May 14, 2010

2010 Games for Health Conference

From the conference's press release

The Games for Health Project announced the sixth annual Games for Health Conference, to be held at the Hyatt Harborside Hotel from May 25 to 27.

Held in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Pioneer Portfolio, the conference focuses on supporting ideas that may lead to breakthroughs in the future of health and health care. The Pioneer Portfolio has funded the Games for Health Project and this conference since 2004, to serve as a catalyst connecting diverse professional groups and creating opportunities to develop innovative solutions that help people live healthier lives and get the care they need.

“The Games for Health Conference joins leaders in health care and game development to initiate compelling new ideas and solutions,” said Ben Sawyer, founder of the Games for Health Project. “Attendees can expect an interactive and dynamic conference platform with valuable content, networking opportunities and community-led tracks.”

“This annual conference has become the premier event attracting the top minds in game development and health care,” said Paul Tarini, M.A., RWJF senior program officer and team director for the Pioneer Portfolio. “Games can effectively motivate people to adopt healthier behaviors, empower patients to better manage their health, and raise medical training and skill development to new levels.”

Conference Overview

The three-day conference will offer over 55 sessions featuring 100 speakers covering a wide range of topics such as exergaming, cognitive and emotional health, simulation and learning, virtual worlds and more. Sessions include a discussion about dreams and video game play with Jayne Gackenbach of Grand MacEwan University; a panel about the effect games can have on global health such as flu epidemics; and a presentation by Yale School of Medicine’s Dr. Lynn Sullivan on a National Institute of Health-funded project for HIV Prevention in At-Risk Adolescents.

The conference will also feature a game demo room as well as an outdoor game pavilion.

For more information visit the conference's website


Feb 19, 2010

Evoke: Positive Game presented at TED 2010

In this video from the TED conference 2010, game designer Jane McGonigal explains the prosocial potential for video and online games.

An interesting example of the increasing role played by Positive Psychology in interactive design and development.

Dec 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Positive Technology Journal

Positive Technology is 5 years old.

Since then, 1650 published entries, and hundreds of comments generated.

A warm thanks to all readers, commentators and submitters of projects and news!



Nov 23, 2009

Positive Technology in 10 slides

Nov 18, 2009

RAVE 2010 - Real Actions in Virtual Environments - Call for Papers

RAVE 2010 - Real Actions in Virtual Environments - Call for Papers

See website: http://www.raveconference.com

* When: 3rd March, 2010.

* Where:

Palau de les Heures, University of Barcelona, Campus Mundet, Passeig de la Vall d’Hebron, 171 08035 Barcelona.

* Keynote Speaker - Dr Hunter Hoffman,

http://www.hitl.washington.edu/people/hunter/, University of Washington, USA

* Papers -  may be submitted directly for oral presentation at the conference and a special issue of PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, MIT Press, to be published in August 2010.

* Abstracts may be submitted for oral presentation at the conference or will presented as posters (see website for details).

***Deadline for paper submission: 8th January, 2010*** 23.59 Central European Time (Paris, Madrid)

Oct 27, 2009

The Green Watch

From the project's website

The project Green Watch/Citypulse aims at multiplying by 1000 the number of environmental sensors in the city, while encouraging people’s implication in measuring environmental indices, thus associating them directly to building a sustainable city.

The green watch comprizes a watch and two environmental sensors (ozone, noise). Data are regularly broadcasted via a mobile phone to an open platform called Citypulse which receives, stores and makes measure data available and anonymous. Data can then be used freely in order to be shown on maps, used in models.


30 prototypes of the green watch was tested in May 2009 by residents of the 2nd arrondissement of Paris (Digital District) and also during Futur en Seine, by highschool students of Montreuil (Maison Populaire), by researchers in the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie and by visitors of the wikiplaza, place de la Bastille.


NHS endorses Nintendo Wii Fit video game

The Daily Telegraph reports that the Nintendo Wii Fit Plus, which goes on sale this Friday, got the permission to use the NHS’s Change4Life logo in its advertising on television and in shops. From next year, it is possible that the logo will be used on the product itself, an unprecedented partnership between a video game and the Government.

Change4Life is a public health programme in the UK which began in January 2009, organised by the Department of Health. The campaign aims to encourage people in Britain to lead healthier lives, using the slogan "eat well, move more, live longer"

A spokesman for the Department of Health told the Telegraph: "Active video games, where kids need to jump up and down or dance about as part of the game, are a great way to get kids moving."



Oct 24, 2009

Towards Positive Technology

In the last days, I have been brainstorming non stop about the concept of Positive Technology.

After almost four years of gathering ideas in this blog, I feel it’s time for a summary...

As first step, I have tried to collect my thoughts in this presentation, which I gave last week at the Stensen Foundation in Florence.

Audience feedback was pretty good - nobody was sleeping - so it looks a promising start.

Jun 29, 2009

Towards a Positive Technology of Gaming

In this very interesting keynote given at the recent Game Developers Conference, Jane McGonigal discusses the role of Positive Psychology in gaming. Another significant sign of how the world of ICT is embracing the perspective of Positive Technology...


Learning to Make Your Own Reality - IGDA Education Keynote 2009

View more documents from avantgame.

Apr 17, 2009

MP3 player for unborn babies

Via Repubblica

Canadian design student Geof Ramsay has invented a MP3 player for unborn babies - the "BLABY". By wearing the device, pregnant mothers will be able to play their favourite music to their children. The player consists of a contoured belt that wraps around a mother's waist with three inbuilt vibration speakers playing music into the womb. Its inbuilt speakers transmit the vibrations of music and voice through to the baby in a safe manner, and the mother wearing it can also benefit from three tiny massage mechanisms.

The new B(I)aby on preganant stomach: iPod for unborn babies

Nov 05, 2008

HSI ’09: Special Session on Positive Technology

I have been invited to organize a special session on Positive Technology at the 2nd IEEE Conference on Human System Interactions (May 21-23, 2009 University of Catania, Italy).

This will be a great opportunity for interested researchers and developers to explore common ground, share current experiences and discuss future developments of this emerging research field.

Below is the session abstract (the full call for papers can be is available here):

Information and communication technologies are becoming more ubiquitous and pervasive, shaping the ways we communicate, collaborate and make new relationships. However, the massive proliferation of digital devices and services raises an important question: are computers making us happy? Are new technologies actually improving the quality of our life, by enhancing our opportunities for growth and self-expression, making us feel safer and more connected? Are they rather enhancing automation, constraints on personal initiative, and compulsive consumption of information?

The recent and growing interest towards these issues is paving the way for a new research area, called “Positive Technology”. The main objective of this approach is the identification of design principles for computer-based applications and services that promote positive growth at the individual, social and cultural levels.

Interdisciplinary in nature, Positive Technology lies at the intersection of three fields: Positive Psychology, Interaction Design and Cognitive Neuroscience.

- Positive Psychology is a discipline whose broad goals are to understand the human strengths and virtues, and to promote these strengths to allow individuals, communities, and societies to flourish. In its current conception, Positive Psychology has three levels of analysis: the subjective, the individual and the group. The subjective level is concerned with people positive subjective experiences (i.e. life satisfaction, positive emotions, optimism). The individual level focuses on positive personality traits, which include among others: courage, wisdom, perseverance, creativity, interpersonal skills, spirituality and high talent. Finally, the group level of analysis explores the civic virtues and institutions such as civility, responsibility, altruism, nurturance, tolerance and work ethics, which promote better citizenship.

- Interaction design focuses on the development of interfaces that are easy and enjoyable to use. The incorporation of positive psychology principles in the ID process should allow the development of novel interaction models, which are able to promote positive aspects of user’s behaviour, such as curiosity and creativity, as well as fostering positive emotions and deep engagement

- Cognitive neuroscience the contribution of this discipline to Positive Technology is three-fold: a) to identify the neural underpinnings of positive emotions, and discover the long-lasting effects of optimal experiences on brain processes; b) to examine the neuropsychological correlates of users’ satisfaction, the most used dependent variable in HCI research (as well as the hardest to measure); c) to identify strategies and mechanisms (i.e. neurogenesis and neuroplasticity) that promote an efficient use of brain resources.


- Computer-based interventions for well-being
- Role of positive affect and happiness in HCI
- Information technology effects on well-being
- Technology-based applications and services for stress management
- Models of optimal experience in HCI
- Designing for creativity and self-improvement
- Spirituality and computing
- Cognitive enhancement/assisted cognition
- Web 2.0 and positive social change

Andrea Gaggioli Faculty of Psychology, Catholic University of Milan
Giuseppe Riva Faculty of Psychology, Catholic University of Milan

Deadline for submission: January 09, 2009
Notification of papers acceptance: February 09, 2009
Final manuscripts due: April 06, 2009

Oct 23, 2008

14th Annual CyberTherapy Conference


The 14th Annual International CyberTherapy and CyberPsychology Conference (CT14) brings together researchers, clinicians, policy makers and funding agencies to share and discuss advancements in the growing discipline of CyberPsychology, CyberTherapy & Rehabilitation.

The focus of this conference is on the increasing use of interactive media in training, education, prevention, rehabilitation, and therapeutic interventions.Technologies featured at the conference include virtual reality simulations, videogames, wearables,  telehealth, the Internet, videoconferencing,  robotics, brain-computer interfaces, and non-invasive physiological monitoring devices.



Visit the conference website

Sep 25, 2007

Positive Technology Journal is a B-list blog

According to Kineda, a website that uses a Technorati-powered widget to compute your "bloglebrity" status, Positive Technology Journal is now a B-list blog, that corresponds to the high-authority group:

The High Authority Group [B-List Bloggers]

(100-499 blogs linking in the last 6 months)
The third group represents a decided shift in blog age while not blogging much more frequently than the last. In keeping with the theme of the maturation of the blogosphere, it seems evident that many of these bloggers were previously in category two and have grown in authority organically over time. In other words, sheer dedication pays off over time.


Thanks also to Neurofuture, that has kindly recommended PTJ for a Thinking Blogger Award


And here are the five blogs that make me think:

Pasta & Vinegar


Networked Performance 


Captology Notebook 


May 24, 2007

Wearable brain scanner

Via Medgadget



Hitachi has successfully trial manufactured a lightweight, portable brain scanner that enables users to keep tabs on their mental activity during the course of their daily lives. The system, which consists of a 400 gram (14 oz) headset and a 630 gram (1 lb 6 oz) controller worn on the waist, is the result of Hitachi’s efforts to transform the brain scanner into a familiar everyday item that anyone can use.

The rechargeable battery-operated mind reader relies on Hitachi’s so-called “optical topography” technology, which interprets mental activity based on subtle changes in the brain’s blood flow. Because blood flow increases to areas of the brain where neurons are firing (to supply glucose and oxygen to the tissue), changes in hemoglobin concentrations are an important index by which to measure brain activity. To measure these hemoglobin concentrations in real time, eight small surface-emitting lasers embedded in the headset fire harmless near-infrared rays into the brain and the headset’s photodiode sensors convert the reflected light into electrical signals, which are relayed to the controller.

The real-time brain data can either be stored in Flash memory or sent via wifi to a computer for instant analysis and display. A single computer can support up to 24 mind readers at a time, allowing multiple users to monitor brain activity while communicating or engaging in group activities.

In addition to health and medical applications, Hitachi foresees uses for the personal mind reader in fields such as psychology, education and marketing. Although it is unclear what neuromarketing applications the company has in mind, it is pretty clear that access to real-time customer brain data would provide marketers with a better understanding of how and why shoppers make their purchasing decisions. One can also imagine interactive campaigns that, for example, ask customers to think positive thoughts about a certain product in exchange for discount coupons or the chance to win a prize.

The technology could also be used in new forms of entertainment such as “mind gaming,” where the player’s physical brain activity becomes a part of game play. It is also feasible to integrate the brain scanner with a remote control brain-machine interface that would allow users to operate electronic devices with their minds.

May 09, 2007


Via Brain Waves


MIT's media lab is hosting a one day conference Humans 2.0: New Minds, New Bodies, New Identities on May 9.

From the event's website:

Hosts: Hugh Herr and John Hockenberry

Doors open: 7:45 am

Program Start: 8:30 am

Master of Ceremonies: John Hockenberry
Welcome: Frank Moss
Introductory Remarks: Susan Hockfield
Keynote: Oliver Sacks

First Morning Session:
Deb Roy: "Memory Augmentation: Extending our Sense of Self"
Rosalind W. Picard: "Technology-Sense and People-Sensibility"
Cynthia Breazeal, "The Next Best Thing to Being There. Increasing the Emotional Bandwidth of Mediated Communication Using Robotic Avatars"


Second Morning Session:
Ed Boyden: "Engineering the Brain: Towards Systematic Cures for Neural Disorders"
Douglas H. Smith: "The Brain is the Client: Designing a Back Door into the Nervous System"
John Donoghue, "New Successes in Direct Brain/Neural Interface Design"
"Solutions: A Conversation between John Hockenberry and Michael Graves"


Afternoon Session:
Joseph Paradiso, "Digital Omniscience: Extending the Reach of the Body with Advanced Sensor Networks"
Panel Discussion: Hugh Herr, Aimee Mullins, Michael Chorost
William J. Mitchell, "Adaptability Writ Large: Smart Cities/Smarter Vehicles"
Hugh Herr, "New Horizons in Orthotics and Prosthetics: Merging Bodies and Machines"
Tod Machover, "Enabling Expression: Music as Ultimate Human Interface"

Program End: 4:30 pm




Apr 27, 2007

Mind-altering media

Via New Scientist

The electronic age is changing our brains, but are we getting smarter, or dumb and dangerous?

New Scientist investigates...




Apr 15, 2007

Glocal & Outsiders: Call for Proposals

From Networked Performance



Center for Global Studies (Academy of Sciences and Charles University), International Centre for Art and New Technologies (CIANT) and Prague Biennale 3 invite you to send proposals for Glocal & Outsiders, the conference on the interplay between art, culture and technology and issues of globalization and international cooperation (part of the Prague Biennale 3): Prague, July 13-14, 2007.

Read full post on NP 

Dec 15, 2006

CREATE 2007: Creative Inventions, Innovations and Everyday Designs - London

Via Usability News

CREATE 2007 is the first joint conference between Human-Computer Interaction Specialist Groups of the Ergonomics Society and British Computing Society HCI Group – on creative invention in HCI.

CREATE 2007 is a 2-day conference about creating innovative interactions, whether digital consumer products, interactive services or interaction paradigms. A conference where the emphasis is not on presenting technology or evaluation, but to share the wealth of creative ideas we have developed to resolve problems, to create new capabilities, or new functions; where the aim is to spawn further creative designs that can make a difference to people. In keeping with this theme, we invite people to bring:

- Their experiences – designs, both successes and failures, that have pushed the boundaries of interaction
- Their approaches – principles and methods that have delivered new, people-centred ideas and products.

CREATE 2007 will present cases of innovative interactions and visualisations, and discussions of how we innovate and the role of user-centred design in the innovation process, in a workshop format allowing us to debate the ways in which new designs come about and how novel but usable interactions can be developed.

We invite cases studies of innovative design from the commercial, public, government and research sectors. Cases can come from any paradigm – the web, mobile and hand held, consumer electronics. Outline the problems, the capabilities, or new functions that were being addressed, and then describe the solutions you or your team created to resolve it.

IMPORTANT: Include photos, screen shots, or sketches, and tell us how and why it did or did not work. We also welcome theoretical and research perspectives on how we innovate.

Initial submissions should be no more than 2-pages long. Accepted papers can be either short papers 2-pages long, or be extended to long papers of no more than 6-pages. Submissions may also be invited as posters – please indicate if you specifically want to be considered as a poster.

Send your submissions via email to Sue Hull at s.hull@ergonomics.org.uk. Please include the phrase “CREATE submission” in your subject line.

Important dates:
Initial submission January 12th, 2007
Notification of acceptance Feb 9th, 2007
Full submission March 23rd, 2007
CREATE 2007 June 13-14, 2007

Oct 26, 2006

Cellphones Make Goldfish Do Flips

Re-blogged from Textually.org

According to Undeniable Facts with 10 cell phones, you can make goldfish do a flip [via Digg]

There's even a video to prove it:


Oct 15, 2006

Tangible Play Workshop @ the 2007 Intelligent User Interfaces Conference

Via UsabilityNews

Event Date: 28 January 2007 to 28 January 2007
Tangible Play: Research and Design for Tangible and Tabletop Games is a workshop at the 2007 Intelligent User Interfaces Conference taking place from January 28-31, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

[ Nov 20, 2006 ] - Submission deadline for position papers (in camera-ready form)
[ Dec 11, 2006 ] - Author notification date
[ Jan 28, 2007 ] - Date of Tangible Play @ IUI 2007

The workshop aims to bring together researchers and practitioners working on subjects related to digital games with tangible interaction. We would like to involve participants with backgrounds in academia as well as industry, from diverse fields such as HCI, computer science, edutainment, interaction design and game design. Some of the topics we plan to address during the workshop are: different tangible interaction styles, designing for specific game types, and the advantages and disadvantages of different sensing and object tracking technologies.

This one-day workshop will consist of a morning and afternoon session. The morning session will include an introduction and position paper presentations by workshop participants. The afternoon session will be an informal and interactive discussion in break-out groups on the following subtopics: tangible interaction, game design, sensing technologies, evaluation, marketability and collaboration. We will also have a guest speaker from Philips Research, who will give a special presentation on the Entertaible from an industry perspective.

Interested participants are invited to submit a 4-page position paper using the ACM-template, which can be found on the website indicated below. Papers may address any topic related to tangible or digital tabletop gaming, from game case studies, to research on sensing technologies, theoretical overviews, or the design of tangible objects for game interaction. The organizers will try to create a diverse mix of participants from academia as well as industry and from different backgrounds and fields.

* Please submit position papers to: Elise van den Hoven, e.v.d.hoven@tue.nl

For more information, please contact the organizers:

Elise van den Hoven (e.v.d.hoven@tue.nl) Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Ali Mazalek (mazalek@gatech.edu) Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta GA, USA

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