Pervasive Interaction Research Group (PIRG) explores the role and appliance of innovative technologies to create novel human-technology interaction solutions in a variety of real-world uses, from educational to industrial contexts. Our research is focused on the following areas:

Digital Accessibility and Inclusion

Different disabilities affect people’s lives in multiple ways, both as individuals and as part of society. Whether the disability is related to visual, mobility, auditory, or cognitive impairments, the disability can be either temporary, permanent or even situational. Digital accessibility affects us all and enables inclusion in the digital society. Together, we are making accessibility the new norm.

TACCU –Tampere Accessibility Unit is multidisciplinary unit conducting accessibility-related research and education. We have a 30-credit study module available for students and staff online. We also have courses for people outside of university.

To get more information, please visit the TACCU website.

Accessibility is multifaceted, and it’s associated with the whole society. Accessibility has two dimensions: physical and digital. TACCU is focusing on digital accessibility research and education. Accessibility is needed especially by people with, e.g., auditory, vision, mobility, or cognitive disabilities. The disabilities can be permanent, temporary, or situational.

Extended Reality (xR) Technologies in industrial contexts

The XR technologies (Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Realities) offer a wide range of opportunities for industrial processes and operations. Over a decade, PIRG has collaborated with industrial partners to explore the application and benefits of XR technologies in industrial contexts. Tight collaboration with industries allows to gather context-sensitive data from domain experts, resulting in exciting and relevant research output.

One of the contributions of such research is the practical framework of remote academia-industry collaboration.

Smart and Accessible Public Transportation

The city of Tampere is undergoing a major transformation from vehicle-dominated to rail-dominated transportation supported by trams and local trains, and Tampere University is one of the local key stakeholders in the development. PIRG is supporting the transformation through research-based evidence on, e.g., mobility, materials, and open service development, as well as open test environments. The main goal is to offer local, national, and international companies access to innovative co-creation processes and testing environments through Testing as a Service (TaaS) approach.

Mobility and accessibility requirements should be considered by planning and designing barrier-free transport systems for all. The key is understanding the circumstances that create barriers for people. Therefore, with TaaS approach, we can ensure usability, accessibility, effectiveness, and safety of public services in the Tampere area, and further expand it to other cities.

A tram approaching a tram stop.

Multimodality and Interaction Techniques

In most of our work we utilize multiple interaction modalities and often develop new interaction techniques to enable people to truly benefit from them. We build this on our long experience on things which are, or have been, considered new interaction technologies and techniques. For example, speech has been studied by members of the group for well over 20 years now and over these years we have created many kinds of interfaces using speech as both input and output. Similarly, we have created various gesture-based applications and interactive solutions featuring elements of smart environments. With this experience, we have been able to think about different combinations of interaction modalities and utilize the one we feel is most promising in each application area.

The collection of interaction modalities we have utilized include:

  • voice
  • non-speech audio
  • gestures, both mid-air and touch screen
  • lighting as output
  • various kinds of haptic feedback

Virtual Reality (VR)-based Education

In 2021, PIRG experimented with VR-based education, adopting one of the Advanced HTI Programme course lectures and presentations to be conducted fully in virtual environment (using Mozilla Hubs)!

The insights from the VR-based course will contribute to the development of more VR-based courses.

A scene from the virtual teaching environment: a screen with course information slide on the back and avatars with names representing the participants in front of it.

Markku Turunen

  • Professor
  • vuorovaikutteinen teknologia
  • Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences
  • Tampere University
  • +358405339689