Physiological Computing for
Human-Computer Interaction

A Special Issue of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (ACM TOCHI)

Special issue editors:

  • Stephen Fairclough (Liverpool John Moores University, UK)
  • Andreas Holzinger (Medical University of Graz, Austria)
  • Robert Jacob (Tufts University, USA)
  • Hugo Plácido da Silva (IT – Institute of Telecommunications, Portugal)
  • Desney Tan (Microsoft Research, USA)

For questions, please contact

Important Dates

Deadline for Submissions: January 15, 2014 (submit via Manuscript Central – early submissions encouraged)
Reviews Due: March 7, 2014
Author Notification: April 30, 2014 (please note the change to address the submission extension)
Revised Papers Due: August 15, 2014
Special Issue Published: First Quarter 2015 (estimated)


Physiological data in its different dimensions, either bioelectrical, biomechanical, biochemical or biophysical, and collected through specialized biomedical devices, video and image capture or other sources, is opening new boundaries in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), into what can be defined as Physiological Computing. In the last decade, new classes of applications for HCI mediated by physiological (or biosignal) data have emerged, along with novel devices that enable a more mundane use of input modalities that would otherwise be bound to medical scenarios. In parallel to the proliferation of these devices, new interaction styles have been explored. Among these new styles are augmentative communication, affective interfaces, silent speech interfaces, air-writing and gesture-based interaction interfaces, behavioral interfaces, everyday use Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) and non-BCI interfaces such as ECG, Electromyography, Electrooculography, Electrodermal Activity, Force, Accelerometry, Eye Gaze, among many others.

As a result of this increasing diversity of devices and interaction styles, researchers on next-generation interfaces mediated by physiological computing, experience difficulties such as the lack of appropriate algorithms and methods for interaction abstractions, the need to understand the applicability of different modalities to the design of HCI interfaces, and the integration of novel hardware. As part of the research community effort to address these difficulties, the concept of HCI mediated by physiological computing, which has its foundations in computer science, biomedical engineering, and psychophysiology, is emerging as a promising approach. Physiological computing allows HCI researchers to specify and design novel interfaces supported by biosignal acquisition devices and algorithms. Several physiological computing interfaces have been developed in recent years, mostly within the BCI community, and which are now becoming a part of our everyday life. However, many questions regarding the usefulness and effectiveness of physiologically-driven next generation user interfaces remain open, and novel applications have been emerging, mainly regarding non-BCI interfaces.

The aim of this special issue is to present outstanding research and development from those interested in creating novel interaction devices, adaptable interfaces, algorithms and tools, through the study, planning, and design of interfaces between people and computers, that are supported by multimodal biosignal data, thus bridging the gap between the physiological world and HCI. Manuscripts must be original, but significant expansions and revisions of papers recently presented at conferences and workshops will be considered. Possible topics include:

  • Physiology-driven HCI
  • Biomedical devices for HCI
  • Biomechatronics and user interface technologies
  • Biosignal processing for HCI
  • Processing of multimodal biosignal input
  • Everyday use Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI)
  • Observation, modeling and prediction of user behavior
  • Video and image analysis for physiological computing
  • Adaptive interfaces based on physiological computing
  • Affective computing
  • Augmentative communication
  • Assistive technologies
  • Interactive physiological systems
  • Physiological computing in mobile devices
  • Quantified self devices and methods
  • Pattern recognition for physiologically-driven HCI
  • Textiles, fabrics, and sensors for physiological sensing
  • Pervasive and wearable technologies for physiological sensing

All contributions will be rigorously peer reviewed to the usual exacting standards of TOCHI. Further information, including TOCHI submission procedures and advice on formatting and preparing your manuscript, can be found at:

Full manuscripts are submitted via the ACM online manuscript system at: When submitting a paper, please choose the “Physiological Computing Special Issue Submission” manuscript type on the first page of the submission form.

To discuss a possible contribution, please contact the special issue editors at