During the first day, Paul de Bra of the Technical University of Eindhoven gave an extensive talk about interaction design and what its caveats are. The second lecturer of day one was Frank Nack of the University of Amsterdam, we went into some detail about mobile interactive storytelling, which sounded appealing to me. He had worked on an application for mobile devices that led users through a city via a route they could choose, connecting different sights of interest by showing stories through augmented reality at those locations. See the MOCATOUR project page for more information.
Day two featured another talk by Paul de Bra, this time about the basics of adaptive systems. This was followed up by Tjerk de Greef of the Delft University of Technology, who voted for the adopting the paradigm of letting automation partner with people, instead of merely extending their capabilities—indeed, he was in favour of giving systems more autonomy (see, for instance, his PhD thesis).
The last two talks mostly revolved around actual implementations. Dennis Reidsma of the University of Twente discussed the design and use of virtual humans in different contexts focusing on dialogues and non-verbal behaviour (see, for instance, work done on Elckerlyc). Lastly, Willem-Paul Brinkman of the Delft University of Technology showed some examples of mental health computing. These involved letting a person wear a head-mounted display by means of which e¹ could see a 3D representation of a virtual world. By doing so, e could experience scenarios that confronted em¹ with specific phobias, such as fear of heights, by letting em look over the edge of a tall, virtual building; fear of flying, by letting em experience a virtual air-plane ride; or social phobias, such as attending a busy bar in a likewise manner. Look here for more information.
All in all, there were good talks about a nice variety of fields of research with interactivity as their common denominator. I also had the chance to meet with several fellow PhD students from all over the country, so these were two days well spent.
¹ Gender-neutral pronouns, to do away with the usage of he/she, etc.