No. 2 | March 2021 
Hello, RE:Labers!
Welcome to Cruscotti, our monthly newsletter. Please, fasten your seatbelt and let our journey begin.

In this second issue:

The NeUX: news from UX world 

The International Symposium FUTURE DESIGN in Human Body Interaction

The pervasive diffusion of new technologies in interaction with the body, and the related practices of its manipulation promoted by design. This is the theme chosen for the International Symposium FUTURE DESIGN in Human Body Interaction. A format whose aim is to encourage processes of anticipation and development of innovation, bringing together regional, national and international players. The concrete objective of the initiative is to set up a series of joint projects, also involving universities and companies, on these issues.
The three research areas dedicated to the design of the body are called Homo Faber, Homo Saluber and Homo Cogitans respectively.


Participation in the Symposium is done by reporting case studies and best practices. Here the link to the survey. If you want to know more about this initiative, a full explanation of the call can be found here.

We are waiting for you to join the network!


LinkedIn - Are you interested in the three research areas of The International Symposium Future Design Human Body Interaction? Check out the presentations of Homo Faber, Homo Saluber and Homo Cogitans.

Check out the open call for contributions on the new website of DIID Journal! DIID is an open access, peer-reviewed scientific design journal. 


The RE:Lab’s guide to the Galaxy

Want to see your idea featured in our newsletter? Share it with us!

While in RE:Lab

The latest cutting edge news our RE:Labers talk about at the coffee machine (which is virtual in this COVID-era)


  • Sonantic promises to be able to program an AI to faithfully reproduce the voice of a virtual character. Check it out
  • Spotify API: how would you like to build your own playlist using the characteristics of individual songs? And have you ever wondered what these features are? You can find instructions here
  • Security: how many ways are there to breach a computer system? Quite a few

UX & Ergo

  • Driving Assessment Conference, one of the world's leading conferences on driving behaviour analysis, will be held this year. It can be an opportunity to review what has happened in previous years.
  • Affective Computing: emotions are an overlooked aspect of user behaviour, but their role in interaction with technologies is often fundamental. Studying them is not always easy, fortunately, someone has done it and is continuing to do so. A taste.
  • UX of AI: this is not the first, nor will it be the last source that strives to define the role of User Experience with respect to AI, but it has the merit of telling it in a linear way, without digressing.


  • Speaking of emotions (yes, we've been dealing with them lately): however personal, there are regularities in the way they manifest themselves and how they can be classified. It can be explained through words and numbers, but also through design
  • Crypto-Art and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT): this has been a fashionable topic in recent weeks, and may become a usual theme in the near future. Those who work in motion design probably already know all about it, but it may also be of interest to those who work in something else. 
  • Interaction Awards 2021. And the winner is…

Fun(d) Raisers 

  • Our EU projects: Sneak peek at NextPerception
    Launched last May, this project is working to pave the way for next-generation intelligent sensing for autonomous driving and smart health. In the automotive industry, it will improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists and provide an important step forward to develop a monitoring system that can classify both the driver’s cognitive state and their emotions. But not only. The system will also monitor the driver’s intention, as well as the activities and position of the driver and other occupants inside the vehicle. RE:Lab is one of the 43 European partners in this 30-million project and leads one of the demonstrators of the Automated Driving use case. We have recently carried out a series of tests with 26 users (you may be one of them!) in our driving simulator where they were asked to complete some actions while driving to collect data about their cognitive state and distractions. Stay tuned to know more about what we have found out!

Great Need of RE:Lab

The spring lock system


It is not always about interaction with complex and sophisticated computers and software.
Sometimes even the simplest tools and basic machines can be a bit naive when it comes to interaction engineering.
This spring lock system for example does probably its job when it comes to closing the door. But obviously, in this building, someone had a different need that is not so extravagant after all: to keep the door open for a while.
The door closer probably has no way of locking itself in a chosen position. This could be done with an external switch to disengage the spring so that it simply doesn't push/pull anymore, or even stays in a chosen position, or the spring action could be enabled/disabled by a limit switch activated by pushing the door (and the door closed with it) to a pre-determined maximum.
Any possible safety issue, related to the locking of the door, could be easily solved with a forced unlock threshold so that a panic pressure would bring it back to its regular behavior.
Wouldn’t anything be better than the knot made with that random plastic tape?
Fresh air was needed in that situation, but there is still a Great Need of Re:Lab!

Serial Stories

History of RE:Lab 

Thus begins the serial story of RE:Lab that will stay with us for a long time... A very long time... We want our RE:Labers to know in detail all the events that have taken place over the years. 
Only by sharing memories can we build identity and a sense of togetherness.

Chapter 2
Human Machine Interaction 
 The key word RE:Lab has placed at the centre of its entire growth path is Human Machine Interface and/or Human Machine Interaction: that expression which is referred to as “HMI”.

What is it about?
It is the whole set of design and evaluation techniques and practices that govern the development of interactive systems between a user and a technological device.
Many technologies have to rely on users to operate and use them: think of a vehicle, a tractor, a truck, an industrial machine, a helicopter, or a mobile phone. This process of governance and interaction requires an element between the user and the technology, which is called the Human Machine Interface. Therefore, the work of RE:Lab starts with the study of interaction (Human Machine Interaction) and then arrives at the construction of the interface (Human Machine Interface).
In doing so, RE:Lab uses a key methodology, which is to place the user at the centre of the design process.

What does this mean?
In the early stages of RE:Lab's life, dealing with human-machine interaction basically meant trying to create interfaces, testing them through interaction with users, and modifying and integrating them on the basis of the tests carried out.
The aim of this work is to create interfaces that are easy to use and understand, quick to learn and above all able to support actions and tasks. This is not an obvious task, at least in some of the domains in which RE:Lab's work began, such as the automotive, tractor and industrial equipment sectors.
Over the years, as we will see in the next chapters, the process has become more complex, involving not only the pure interactional element, but also the aesthetic element, the functional element in the technical sense, and the use of very different methodologies and interaction tools.
In its growth RE:Lab has always combined a design vocation with an experimental one. Therefore, from the very beginning, it has combined what is now called Interaction Design with ergonomics - mainly cognitive ergonomics - a discipline that has the task of harmonizing the development and design of technologies with the cognitive functions of human beings, memory, attention, perception, and the ability to make decisions.
In some cases, RE:Lab has also made reference to notions of physical ergonomics in its work: levers, controls, and devices designed can be made in relation to people's limitations and motor skills, i.e. the ability to act accurately on a control, or to move it with very specific force actions.

The RE:Lab Bookshelf 

  • A. Cairo, Come i grafici mentono. Capire meglio le informazioni visive, Raffaello Cortina Editore, 2020.
  • A. Cairo, How Charts Lie. Getting smarter about visual information, W.W. Norton & Company, 2019. 

    The Infoview theme is becoming increasingly relevant in the HCI Practitioners community. It has important implications in terms of graphics, visual aspects, ergonomics, and user experience.
    But it is often underestimated that all this information, as presented or depicted, can also stimulate more properly cognitive aspects.
    For example, this information could reinforce ideas that graphs express because of their tendency, or suggest associations and lead people to read untrue aspects.  In this regard, a famous text written in the thirties was entitled: "How charts lie".
    This very work, but renewed, inspired Alberto Cairo - a leading infoviewer - to write a text entitled: "Come i grafici mentono" (How charts lie).
    A text that was born in the English edition, but that in the Italian version, published by Raffaello Cortina, appears enriched with aspects linked to our situation.
    In other words, it's a detailed review of how to design charts without falling into ambiguities or relevant bias issues. For example, how to handle graphs that present doubts such as insufficient data, suggesting misleading patterns, or hiding the margin of uncertainty.
    In short, we find in this narrative design insights, which taking into account excellent graphics and mini or maximum usability aspects, can also avoid the development of incorrect rationality or even fake news.
    Good reading to everyone!

Bibbidi Bobbidi Broom-Broom

Sick of the "copy" label when duplicating a layer in photoshop?
Just open the layer options drop-down menu, select "panel options", and in this table uncheck "add <copy> to copied layers and groups".

We think it would be nice to learn something new and useful every day. If you would also like to share some magic tips with other RE:Labers, send us your secret here.

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If you want to read the previous issues, you can find them all here.
And here you can find how is named Cruscotti.
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