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Daniela Petrelli

Professor Daniela Petrelli PhD

Professor of Interaction Design

Summary

My current research focuses on novel forms of interaction design that combine digital technology with product design, also known as Tangible and Embedded Interaction. I have been investigating these hybrid digital-physical scenarios within two different domains: personal memories and cultural heritage.

Past research topics that still interest me include multimedia and multilingual information access, intelligent user interfaces, personalisation, data visualization and visual analytics.

I have published over 90 peer-reviewed papers, gave over 30 talks, and received 11 awards and recognitions from both academia and industry.

Over the years, I have been awarded grants in excess of £2M.

  • About

    New forms of interaction can be designed by combining ubiquitous computing with traditional materials: digital technology creates smart spaces and objects that react to and interact with people, while sensing of the physical world supports the feelings of immersion and engagement. What happens when digital is combined with material and the new possibilities this hybrid culture offers to interaction design is the focus of my research. My research spans from lab experiments aiming to address fundamental questions (“how do people perceive objects that have physical properties, i.e. different sizes, shapes or materials, as well as different behaviours, i.e. emit light or sound or vibrate?”) to in-the-wild experiments designed to observe what happens when the product of research is used in real life.

    I studied how our digital present could be preserved outside computers in a way that is engaging and fun, embedded in our daily life and immediately accessible. I also coordinate and lead the EU project meSch - material encounters with digital cultural heritage (2013-2017) that looks at how hybrid digital-material objects and spaces change the experience of visiting museums and cultural heritage sites.

    Before joining Sheffield Hallam University in 2010, I spent ten years at the University of Sheffield researching how users interact with multilingual and multimedia information access systems, the effectiveness of advanced technology to improve the user interaction with multimedia archives, how to design an effective interaction for semantic search, the role of visual analytics and data visualisation for sense-making. Earlier research interests include language-based interaction, intelligent user interfaces and personalisation for cultural heritage.
    I have published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, gave over 40 talks, and received 11 awards and recognitions from both academia and industry. Over the years, I have been personally awarded grants in excess of £2.5M.

    I have a PhD in Interaction Design, a Laurea in Information Science (Italian degree equivalent to MComp), and a Diploma in Fine Arts. Tangible and Embedded Interaction; Digital Technology for Cultural Heritage; Personal Memories in the Digital Age; Multilingual Information Access; Data Visualisation and Interaction.

    Tangible and Embedded Interaction; Digital Technology for Cultural Heritage; Personal Memories in the Digital Age; Multilingual Information Access; Data Visualisation and Interaction

  • Teaching

    Science, Technology and Arts

    meSch - material encounters with digital cultural heritage

    Digital Christmas - exploring the potential of festive technology for capturing and revisiting family memories.

    Make, do and mend - How We Repair The Things We Wear

  • Research

    • Art and Design Research Centre
    • Materials and Engineering Research Institute, Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute

    Recent Research Projects:

    REVEAL (https://revealvr.eu/) (2017-18) was a EU funded H2020 project aiming at exploring the value of Virtual Reality and Interactive Environmental Narratives (a video game genre) as a means to engage a wide audience with European cultural and scientific heritage. My role in the project has been to see how we could connect VR with the real world of museum exhibitions and provide visitors with immersive VR experiences within a heritage place.

    meSch (http://www.mesch-project.eu/) (2013-2017) was a EU FP7 project that has used the Internet of Things and cloud Computing to develop new technology for the prototyping and deployment of interactive installations in museums and heritage sites. The outcome is a hardware and software platform that has been evaluated with over 40 heritage professionals across Europe. As part of the project we deployed a number of installation across Europe that have been used by over 20,000 visitors. The research done in meSch has received 7 international awards and dozens of papers have been published.

  • Publications

  • Other activities

    • Expert reviewer for the EU Research Program Horizon 2020 (2014-present)
    • External Examiner UG Design program University of Edinburgh (2017-present)
    • External Examiner for Digital Media Design Programme University of Limerick (2008-2012)
    • External Examiner for PhD at Technical University of Vienna (Austria), University of Lancaster (UK), University of Surrey (UK), Dublin City University (Ireland)
    • Member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Human Computer Studies IJHCS (2010-2014)


  • Postgraduate supervision

    Tangible interaction to engage visitors in house museums

    As director of Studies (completed PhD)

    Dr Caroline Claisse: “The Augmented House: designing for tangible interaction in house museums”

    Dr Sovudeep Mazumdar: “Visualising Large Semantic Datasets”

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