Aims / Organisers / Background / Activities / Briefs / Outputs

Sensory Jam 2022
Exploring other sensibilities - beyond human senses and aesthetics

Workshop at ACI2022, hosted live and online at Northumbria University, UK.
6 December 2022

Aims and call for participation




This workshop aims to facilitate human participants to become more aware of other animals’ sensory and aesthetic sensibilities, raising points for discussion and future research within ACI. For all animals, being able to make sense of the environment is crucial in order to gain control and make informed choices, as well as to achieve competence in daily activities. Although human perception is limited by evolution, technology can enable us to perceive signals that may be meaningful for other species, thereby gaining insight and possibly empathy. Moreover, pursuing a multi-species perspective may foster inclusive approaches to design that aim to achieve a lighter environmental impact by taking into account the sensory experiences of other species.

The workshop playfully references a suggestion from Webber et al. (2022), “To develop competence and exercise agency, an animal must be exposed to novelty, broad sensory experiences and opportunities for learning through interaction.” We will offer participants a range of activities to challenge human senses and sense-making abilities, and then invite them to collaboratively design and test a system that incorporates some animal-centred sensory stimulation inspired by the activities previously undertaken. This is an opportunity for those with an interest in designing artifacts, experiences and spaces with an ecological and welfare-oriented perspective.

We welcome participants from a wide range of backgrounds, including but not limited to animal welfare and care, game design, computer science, engineering, architecture, education, HCI and ACI, animal behaviour and cognition, environmental enrichment and landscaping.

The event is now finished, so we invite you to explore the links:

If you have any questions, please email Fiona French.



Fiona French  is a Senior Lecturer in Computing at London Metropolitan University. She is course leader for BSc Games Programming, teaching game and toy design and development, and AI. Fiona has co-organised several game jams, as well as ideation workshops and ZooJams at previous ACI conferences. She has a PhD in Computing with a Specialism in Animal-Computer Interaction from The Open University.

This year, Fiona is Interdisciplinary Connections Officer on the AWRN (Animal Welfare Research Network) ECR Committee.  

Fiona’s recent research includes designing and developing playful interactive systems for elephants, in order to provide cognitive and sensory stimulation. She is currently working with elephants in Wales and Scotland.


Christopher Flynn Martin is a Research Scientist at The Indianapolis Zoo. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Primatology from Kyoto University, and a B.A. in Psychology from The University of Pennsylvania. He is an adjunct professor at Indiana University and the founder of Zenrichment, a company that designs and builds computer touch-panel devices and software for animal cognitive research and enrichment in zoos.

Dr. Martin’s research interests include great ape social cognition, communication, imitation, and strategic reasoning. At Indianapolis Zoo he conducts daily touch-panel research with the orangutans at the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, which is equipped with a shared touch-panel system that accommodates visitor/orangutan interaction over shared touch-panel software, creating an immersive educational opportunity for the public and advancing the Center’s goal of orangutan conservation.


Clara Mancini is Full Professor of Animal-Computer Interaction and founding head of the Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI) Laboratory in the School of Computing and Communications at The Open University, UK.

She has led and supervised a range of ACI projects researching and developing interactive systems for different species, especially dogs; and has published extensively on a range of ACI topics, including technology-mediated human-animal interactions, animal-centred design, participatory design with animals and animal-centred research ethics. Clara is interested in the design, methodology and ethics of animal-centred interactions for multispecies wellbeing and inclusion, interspecies coexistence and cooperation.


Simas Pauliukenas and Stefanos Triantafyllidis are in their final year studying BSc Games Programming at London Metropolitan University, UK.

They have undertaken Research Support roles to help devise workshop materials. In particular, Stefanos has been experimenting with haptic sleeves that simulate pressure detection and location of distant objects.

Simas and Stefanos are facilitating the morning session and taking part in afternoon design activities.