What characteristics of playful communication can be leveraged by technology in an inter-species playful context?

What issues arise when designing for playful inter-species communication, including ethical, appropriate and equal participation?

How can design ideation support creating playful interspecies communication?


This one-day workshop at ACI2020 examines how we might use technologies to support design for playful inter-species communication and considers some of the potential implications. Here we explore aspects of playful technology and reflect on what opportunities computers can provide for facilitating communication between species.  playful technology.

The workshop’s focal activity will be the co-creation of some theoretical systems designed for specific multi-species scenarios. Through our activities, we aim to pave the way for designing technology that promotes interspecies communication, drawing input not only from ACI practitioners but also from those of the broader HCI and animal science community, who may be stakeholders in facilitating, expanding, and/or redefining playful technology.

Please read the call for participation for more information.


The aims of this workshop are :

(i) to ideate on how different species could play together (thereby communicating) with technological facilitation;

(ii) to consider how this might be managed;

(iii) to reflect on how ethics, autonomy and power might play out in future playful systems.

The workshop will provide a platform for both ACI and non-ACI researchers to re-evaluate the current ACI playful technology landscape, as well as foster future potential collaborations where theoretical and empirical interests overlap or complement each other. The workshop forms a timely addition to the ACI field as more playful systems flood the consumer market and playful technology becomes further embedded within our homes.


We aim for this workshop to be a beginning of a series of workshops focusing on the topic of playful interspecies communication. As the issues are too many to be solved within one instance, this will allow for a continued delineation and development of our topic. The outcomes of workshops include heightened sensitivity to new issues, joint publications and research programs, and critical yet friendly feedback on emerging ideas. Beyond publications/workshops we have the following outputs:

Output #1: On the workshop website we will present the key discursive themes, in the form of questions raised, to facilitate discussion of the topic of playful interfaces for communication with animals across disciplines.

Output #2: Online open publication of a series of co-created design ideations for technology-enabled playful inter-species communication systems, accessed on the workshop website.

Output #3: Crowd-sourced list of readings published on the workshop website.