People of ACM European Chapters - David Lamas

June 7, 2018

Can you briefly describe your own line of research and how you became interested in this area?

My personal interests lie in design theory and methodology. I have always been very curious about how and why we build what we build. And I look at it from micro to macro and mega perspectives—from shaping individual and episodic experiences to shaping communities and society. It’s vast, and of course, impossible to tackle as a whole, but that’s my playground. Actually, it’s “our” playground as we approach these challenges as a team, the Human-Computer Interaction Group from Tallinn University’s School of Digital Technologies.

In your area of research, what recent advance/emerging subfield will yield important advances in the years ahead?

Theory-wise, the need to revisit what we know about designing for people by people is an emerging priority. This is as much about empowerment as it is about changing (or enabling to change) the locus of control in terms of who is shaping what. Material (or technology-wise) neurophysiological computing is a promising field with which we have been experimenting. A recent initiative by our team premiered in Brussels last year, embodying many of our research interests and concerns.

Will you tell us a little about the Estonian ACM SIGCHI Chapter?

The Estonian ACM SIGCHI Chapter (EstCHI) has, formally, the required number of members to be an ACM chapter. Informally, we are hundreds and we come together at the yearly World Usability Day we organize every year in Tallinn. It’s an event attended by more than 400 practitioners, researchers, and students acting in fields related to human-computer interaction. Our most recent World Usability Day was in November 2017 and we’re actively preparing this year’s event. It’s free and entirely organized by volunteers. This is when EstCHI comes together. Other than this, we do have occasional meetups and talks, all announced on our Facebook page.

What advice would you offer a younger colleague just starting out in the field?

Act with responsibility. Human-computer interaction researchers are at the forefront of what we will be in the (near) future and this should not be taken lightly.


David Lamas is a Professor of Interaction Design at Tallinn University’s School of Digital Technologies (Estonia), where he heads the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) academic area and is the curator of the Master’s degree in HCI. He also serves as the Chair of the Estonian ACM SIGCHI Chapter, and as an expert member of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP’s) Technical Committee on Human-Computer Interaction (TC13).

Lamas’s main research interests are design theory and methodologies. He has been designing organizations, communities and human technologies, systems, and related projects since his post-doctorate at Michigan State University as a member of the MIND Labs network. He has worked in the US, UK, Portugal, Cape Verde, and more recently in Mozambique, Afghanistan and Estonia, developing an acute understanding of how to shape and lead transformation processes.