Gibbons Memorial Lecture Series

In 2008, the School of Computer Science began an annual lecture series to present Computer Science research to the wider public. The lectures are named the "Gibbons Lectures" in memory of Associate Professor Peter Gibbons.

Associate Professor Peter Gibbons (1949-2008)
Associate Professor Peter Gibbons (1949-2008)

About Associate Professor Peter Gibbons

Peter Gibbons was a member of the University of Auckland's Department of Computer Science from its earliest days in 1980 until his retirement in 2004.

His began his academic career at Massey University, where he completed a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Statistics with First-class Honours in 1970. This was followed in 1972 by a Master of Science in Computer Science with Distinction – the first degree in Computer Science awarded in New Zealand. He completed his PhD in Toronto then returned to New Zealand to lecture at Massey, before moving to the University of Auckland. His tenure included a three year stint as Head of Department. After retirement, Peter continued his association with the University under an honorary appointment.

The Gibbons Lectures fund

The prestige of these lectures and their permanence depends on funding. Click the link below to support the Gibbons Memorial Lecture series by gifting a one off or regular contribution.

2021 series

Dissolving the interface between humans and computers

For many people, it’s become impossible to imagine life without a smartphone. We’re so used to keeping them close and checking them constantly without thinking. They could be seen as permanent attachments to our bodies, or permanently attached burdens.

Technologies beyond the smartphone that blur the boundaries between the human body and computers are becoming more commonplace, and are merging our work, social, personal and cultural identities. Immersive virtual reality is widespread, and seamless augmented reality seems imminent. There are also signs that full brain-computer interfaces are making their way from science fiction into reality.

Have we reached the pinnacle of these human-computer technologies? Is there more functionality or benefit we can gain? And how will they impact our wellbeing and community cohesion?

Our 2021 Gibbons Lecture Series examined the latest technologies connecting humans and computers; the ways they are developed, the new innovations on the horizon, and how they could be used to connect ourselves to wellbeing, diversity and culture.

Augmenting Reality: From Augmented Paintings to Augmented Perceptions

Associate Professor Tobias Langlotz

It was in the times of mainframe computing when researchers first explored Augmented Reality (AR) as an interface concept. Since then much time was spent on the fundamental issues faced when implementing AR interfaces such as display technologies and tracking the user in space. Many of these issues are now solved and we are increasingly transitioning into the commercialisation of Augmented Reality technology. At the same time research moves beyond traditional AR use-cases and explores how we can alter our perception with techniques from AR.

In this talk, Tobias presents his journey in the field of Augmented Reality that is characterised by this transition. It includes past research projects in Spatial Augmented Reality and Mobile Augmented Reality which have been used in commercial applications. However, for the majority of his talk, he will discuss current research and emerging opportunities in the field of continuous augmentations and augmented perceptions.

Tobias Langlotz is an Associate Professor at the University of Otago. Before coming to New Zealand, Tobias studied at the Bauhaus University in Weimar (Germany) and Graz University of Technology (Austria). At the University of Otago he is co-directing the Human-Computer Interaction Lab where he is following his research interests at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, and Computer Graphics. His current projects not only explore computational glasses to enhance human perception but also include nomadic telepresence solutions. His work has been highlighted at ACM CHI, ACM Siggraph, and IEEE Virtual Reality. Tobias’ work is supported by research grants from the Royal Society of NZ, National Science Challenge and MBIE, as well as industry such as Qualcomm.

Recording available

Tikanga AI: Enabling mātauranga Māori in the future of AI development within Aotearoa New Zealand

Potaua Biasiny-Tule, Founding Director at Digital Basecamp, Rotorua

Māori are at the forefront of indigenous AI, creating new areas of technological and cultural discourse. With deep kete of traditional knowledge, whanau are hosting broad discussions on the future impact of global tech like AI, IoT, Autonomous Driving and Big Data, seeking insight for good and preparing for potential future harm. From Marae Wifi initiatives that improve hapu access to the internet to the creation of the Māori Spectrum Commission, which will enable direct Iwi participation in the emerging 5G space, the key focus for Māori is not so much the applications of AI in Aotearoa New Zealand, but the ethical considerations and the lack of Māori input into these conversations.

This talk will discuss and consider examples of tikanga, kawa, tapu, noa and kaitiakitanga and how they apply. The kaupapa of Tikanga AI has a growing body of attention, with CCTV facial recognition initiatives being challenged locally and continuing issues of AI-bias occurring globally. Our korero will look at many of these areas, alongside the preservation of te reo Māori through ML/AI adaptation, renewable energy considerations, environmental and demographic modeling, as well as some of the long-term threats, risks and challenges Māori are likely to face. Nau mai, whakarongo mai.

Potaua Biasiny-Tule (Te Arawa, Tuhoe, Whakatohea, Niuean) is a young Māori leader in the IT industry, who is passionate about inspiring the next generation of digital natives. He has worked on the Google Māori project, built a centre for young IT learners with Digital Natives Academy (DNA), established Digital Basecamp for IT professionals in Rotorua and is an active advocate for Māori digital rangatiratanga.

Recording available

Digital Wellbeing: from Human Factors to Mixed Reality Rehab​

Dr Danielle Lottridge

The last 50 years of human computer interaction research have seen a shift of focus from task completion and work to supporting healthy use of computers and smartphones in our everyday lives. A recent and growing body of research maps habits and uses of technology to mental and emotional health, relating patterns of use to stress and productivity. Less clear is how our everyday digital use changes us, e.g., how social platforms shape our relationships and digital interactions change how we think.

This talk will review grand challenges of research on digital wellbeing and charts the territory from pathological technology use to productive, embodied and creative use.

Danielle Lottridge is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science at the University of Auckland. Danielle studied at both the University of Toronto (PhD Human Factors Engineering) and Stanford University (Postdoctoral fellow in Communication), where she was the recipient of a Google Research Award. Before moving to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2018, Danielle did research at Yahoo Inc, working as part of an internal innovation team that released the videochat app Cabana, which was featured among “New apps we love” by the Apple App store. Danielle’s research uses the lens of Affective Interaction to reveal motivations, emotions and needs that underlie use in addition to impacts of use. This approach has been applied to better understand and to design for interactions ranging from multitasking to virtual reality as an aid for stroke survivors.

Recording available

Assistive Augmentations — Creating new Human Computer Interfaces that Seamlessly Integrate with our Body, Mind and Behaviour

Associate Professor Suranga Nanayakkara

The overarching topic of this lecture is centred on the design and development of novel human computer interfaces that seamlessly integrate with a user’s mind, body and behaviour, providing an enhanced perception. We call this ‘Assistive Augmentation.’ Creating such Assistive Augmentations poses a twofold challenge as they require a novel input and interactions as well as a holistic design approach. Inspired by insights from physiology, neuroscience, emerging electronic devices, computational methods and design thinking approach, we have an unprecedented opportunity to design a new generation of Assistive Augmentations.

This talk will present several proof of concept Assistive Augmentations for enhancing human I/O in the focus areas of assistive technologies, novel input strategies, smart health and well-being, and interactive learning technologies.

Suranga Nanayakkara is an Associate Professor at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, the University of Auckland. Before joining the University, Suranga was an Assistant Professor at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and a Postdoctoral Associate at the Fluid Interfaces group, MIT Media Lab. In 2011, he founded the “Augmented Human Lab” to explore ways of creating ‘enabling’ human-computer interfaces as natural extensions of our body, mind and behaviour. He has won many research awards including University of Auckland Research Excellence Medal 2020, young inventor under 35 (TR35 award) in the Asia Pacific region by MIT TechReview, Outstanding Young Persons of Sri Lanka (TOYP), and INK Fellowship 2016.

Recording available