Animal-Computer Interaction Laboratory
School of Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
The Open University
Contact: Clara.Mancini@open.ac.uk

The Animal-Computer Interaction Laboratory (ACI Lab) was founded in 2011 on a mission to advance the art and science of designing animal-centred interactive systems fit for a participatory multi species society. This mission underpins the fundamental aims of the ACI Lab’s research program:

  • Understanding the interaction between animals and computing technology within the contexts in which animals habitually live, are active, and socialise with members of their own or other species, including humans.
  • Informing the development of interactive technology to: a) improve animals’ life quality or expectancy by facilitating the fulfilment of their physiological and psychological needs; b) support animals in their activities and functions in which they are involved, by minimising any negative effects and maximising any positive effects of those functions on the animals’ life expectancy and quality; c) foster intra-species and inter-species relations by enabling communication and promoting understanding between parties.
  • Developing user-centred approaches, including theories and methods, to inform the design of technology intended for animals, regarding animal users as legitimate stakeholders and design contributors throughout all the phases of the design process and beyond.

Through our work we endeavour to develop ACI as a discipline and to make a difference in the real world, and we believe that applied research is the best way of achieving both. Therefore our research program comprises a series of applied projects, which tackle a variety of real life problems from a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives. We are especially interested in the design, methodological and ethical research challenges and innovation opportunities that arise in extending the boundaries of interaction design beyond human animals; and we are committed to demonstrating the potential that this emerging discipline has to contribute to human and animal wellbeing, social inclusion, interspecies cooperation and environmental restoration.

Further readings:

Mancini, C., Lawson, S., Juhlin, O. (2017). Animal-Computer Interaction: the emergence of a discipline. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 98, pp. 129–134.

Mancini, C. (2011). Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI): a ManifestoACM Interactions, Vol. 18, Issue 4, pp. 69-73.