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“Next Generation Learning – Utilizing Interactive Technologies to Tackle Covid-19 Challenges in Professional Training”

Dr. Mika Luimula
Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland

The market share on education applications seems to stay low despite of the fact that augmented and virtual reality markets are growing rapidly. COVID-19 pandemic has forced vocational schools and professional training centers to seek alternative solutions especially to hands on training activities. In this talk, interactive technologies are introduced as enablers to tackle challenges in professional training caused by COVID-19. As a solution virtual training centers with large collections of training episodes are proposed as next generation learning facilities. For us as cognitive infocommunication scientists this approach offers various areas to be studied. Professional training should happen fluently at home or on the jobsite with required social distances. That is to say the communication of the information has to be as natural but in the same time as efficient as possible to be able to achieve all learning objectives. Infocommunication should support immediate feedback for the learner with appropriate and reliable metrics. Maritime and logistics have been chosen as examples where virtual training solutions are urgently needed. The first one as an example of domains where COVID-19 challenges professionals to maintain their certificates. And the latter one as a domain where lost time injuries and fatalities was already one of the highest before these new challenges. These examples have been chosen because of the large industrial interest caused by this pandemic.

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Mika Luimula works as a Research Group Leader of Futuristic Interactive Technologies and as a Principal Lecturer of Game and Interactive Technologies for Turku University of Applied Sciences. He holds a PhD in Information Processing Sciences and an MSc in Mathematics. He also holds an Adjunct Professorship at the University of Turku. He is coordinating Finnish DigiRehab consortium and Finnish AVR ecosystem. In addition, he is a senior advisor to the board of Ade Ltd. His research interests include gamification, serious games, virtual reality, augmented reality, health informatics and location-aware systems. He has published around 120 scientific papers and his research group has won various awards in the above mentioned research areas.

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“Speech and gestures: toward their inclusion in CogInfoCom systems”

Dr. Costanza Navarretta
University of Copenhagen

Face-to-face communication is multimodal involving at least two modalities, the auditive (speech) and the visual (gestures). Speech and gestures are related temporally and semantically on many levels, and co-speech gestures, e.g. head movements, facial expressions, arm and hand gestures, are co-expressive but not redundant. Therefore, research on speech and gestures is not only central for the understanding of cognitive mechanisms behind communication, but also for the integration of human language in CogInfoCom systems and advanced human-centred ICT.  In the keynote, I will present studies at the Centre for Language Technology addressing multimodal communication from a natural language processing point of view with focus on the annotation and automatic processing of multimodal corpora, in this context video- and audio-recorded monologues and dialogues. Examples of multimodal phenomena accounted for are feedback, reference to abstract and concrete objects, expression of the semantics of verbs, and role of speech pauses and gestures on audience response.

Curriculum Vitae

Costanza Navarretta is a senior researcher/associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, Centre for Language Technology, Department of Nordic Research and Linguistics. She holds a PhD in computational linguistics and an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Copenhagen, and an MA (laurea summa cum laude) in Modern Languages and Literature from La Sapienza University of Rome.

She has participated, also as main investigator, in numerous European and national research projects in the fields of natural language processing and multimodality. Nowadays, her main research interest is multimodal human-human and human-machine communication. Currently, she is the responsible of the network Multimodal Child Language Acquisition with researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong, and the University of Copenhagen, and the Danish coordinator in the European Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN).

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“The importance of CogInfoCom for people with special needs – Fighting exclusion with knowledge.”

Dr. Lars Oestreicher
Uppsala University

Research within Cognitive Science and Cognitive Information Communications has a growing impact on the area of disability research. Even though the immediate thoughts may go to practical applications, such as Brain-computer interfaces and the development of artificial limbs, there is so much more we can gain from the research within the areas of this conference, as is shown by the wide variety of articles presented here this year. Even the form of the conference as it has been developed has bearings, for example on how to provide virtual inclusion to people who are not able to participate in person.
In the talk I will take a wider look at how our research can contribute to the development of technology that will support people with special needs even where we might not at first have considered that this would be possible or feasible.

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Lars Oestreicher is an associate professor at the Visual Information and Interaction unit at the Department of Information Technology at Uppsala University, Sweden. He has been working with a Cognitive perspective throughout his academic life, applying it to such different areas as Interface Design, Human-Robot Interaction, Music creation environments for severely disabled children, and currently on the use of EEG-equipment as communication devices for disabled people, as well as the use of Machine Learning in the analysis of agency in Art.
He has also been appointed Distinguished University Teacher, and primarily teaches Non-excluding Design to students of Engineering and Computer Science, but also User Interface Programming Techniques for Computer Science students.