Animals are increasingly exposed to interactive technologies and involved in technological interactions. Ambient and wearable devices are now frequently used by humans to monitor animals’ states and behaviors within conservation or husbandry practices, and a growing number of animals engage with interactive or technological systems as a part of their activities in research laboratories, on farms, in zoos and in domestic environments.
The field of Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI) investigates how interactive technologies affect the individual animals involved; what technologies could be developed, and how they should be designed in order to improve animals’ welfare, support their activities and foster positive interspecies relationships; and how research methods could enable animal stakeholders to participate in the development of relevant technologies.
A fundamental tenet of ACI is that the technologies being designed, the methods employed for their development and the ethical underpinnings of those methods should be animal-centered, meaning that the characteristics, needs and wants of the animals involved should be of primary consideration and should directly inform design processes and outcomes. This perspective has key advantages, for example, ensuring that animals’ interactions with technologies are positive and effective, and addressing growing societal concerns over the treatment of animals.
We are particularly interested in contributions from different perspectives, which highlight possible animal-centered approaches in research and design, as well as challenges that animal-centered approaches might pose and how these might be addressed. This Research Topic aims to bring together novel contributions that demonstrate how animal-centered technologies, research methods and ethical frameworks could benefit research and practice in different domains, including for example farming, animal conservation and welfare, or animal research. Our goal is to produce a resource for researchers and practitioners whose work involves animals and for whom the applicability of animal-centered technologies, methods or frameworks may be relevant.
We welcome submissions (original research, reviews, methods, perspectives or brief research reports) that contribute, but are not necessarily limited, to the following themes:
• Applications of animal-centered and/or interactive technologies within farming, animal research, conservation, welfare or other domains
• Animal-centered research, design methods and frameworks that have been applied or have applicability within farming, animal research, conservation, welfare or other domains
Submissions should discuss the benefits that the proposed animal-centered technologies and/or approaches have had or are expected to have for the welfare of animals, for the activities in which animals are involved in different domains, and/or for human-animal relations. Submissions should also discuss any challenges and limitations to the applicability of animal-centered technologies and/or approaches, and how these might be addressed.