• Art + Design

Giovanni Maria Troiano

Visiting Assistant Professor

Giovanni Troiano is a creative technologist and a human-computer interaction (HCI) researcher. The main thread across his research is investigating and evaluating new HCI paradigms, both through conceptual and empirical research. He does this by (1) designing interactive interfaces using participatory design (PD), and particularly within non-rigid HCI, and (2) performing speculative research to inform design practices in HCI. Giovanni has been working with art and design since 2003. Between 2008 and 2010 he supervised the creation of three art pieces, one of which was installed at the MAV museum to kick-off the 1st international conference on global art (organized by Derrick De Kerckhove). Later he worked for the MTG group and the Reactable Systems company in Barcelona, focusing on physical computing, and supporting children and adults in designing interactive technologies that enhance creative practices. His PhD research was part of the EU-funded GHOST project, which focused on designing and evaluating prototypes of organic, deformable, and shape-changing interactive interfaces. His PhD research resulted in scientific publications at top HCI conferences (i.e., CHI, NordiCHI), and entailed creating interactive prototypes of elastic displays and deformable music interfaces, which were tested with several users through participatory design. He has recently finished a postdoc at Northeastern University, where he expanded his HCI knowledge and interests to critical design, ethics, gamification, and computer science education. This resulted in multiple publications at top game conferences (e.g., FDG, CHIPlay, IDC) and two CHI papers, one tackling problematic discourses around sex robots via story completion method, and a best paper award on computational thinking in STEM constructionist learning.


  • University of Copenhagen – 2013 to 2016. PhD student at the Computer Science Department (DIKU) of the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), stable work as part of the EU founded FET GHOST project (http://ghostfet-prod.cs.bris.ac.uk/, supervisors prof. Kasper Hornbæk, doc. Esben Warming Pedersen)
  • KAIST University – 2015. Visiting PhD student at Industrial Design department of the Korean Advanced Institute of Technology (KAIST, supervised by prof. Youn-kyung Lim)
  • Universitat Pompeu Fabra – 2011 to 2012. Research Assistant at MTG with focus on Music Technology and Creativity (supervisor prof. Sergi Jordà Puig)
  • Universitat Pompeu Fabra – 2010 to 2011. Interdisciplinary Master in Interactive Media and Cognitive Systems, MSc (supervisor prof.Sergi Jordà Puig)
  • Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli – 2008 to 2010. Specialization in New Technologies of Art, MA (Hons), SUMMA CUM LAUDE
  • Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli – 2003 to 2008. Undergraduate course in Digital Art Practices and Media Art, BFA (Hons), SUMMA CUM LAUDE
  • Conservatoire of Salerno – Salerno, Italy, 2008. Received a Diploma degree in sight reading and music composition (supervision of prof. Giovanni Petrazzuolo)
  • Dartington College of Arts – 2007. Contemporary Art Practices & Digital Arts (exchange student for the Socrates Erasmus program)


  • Best Paper Award at CHI 2020
  • Best Paper Award at AVI 2014

Courses Taught

  • GSND 5130 Mixed Methods Research for Games
  • GSND 6320: Psychology of Play

Research/Publications Highlights

Young Students Transform Climate Science Into Serious Games. Accepted at the 2020 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’20). (Acceptance rate 29%)

2. Giovanni Maria Troiano, Dylan Schouten, Michael Cassidy, Eli Tucker-Raymond, Gillian Puttick, and Casper Harteveld. 2020. All Good Things Come in Threes: Assessing Student-Designed Games via Triadic Game Design. Accepted at the 15th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG ’20). (Acceptance rate 34%)

3. Alberto Boem, Giovanni Maria Troiano, Giacomo Lepri, and Victor Zappi. 2020. Non-Rigid Musical Interfaces: Exploring Practices, Takes, and Future Perspective. In proceedings of the 20th international conference on New interfaces for musical expression (NIME ’20). (Acceptance rate 27%)

4. Giovanni Maria Troiano, Matthew Wood, Casper Harteveld. 2020. “And This, Kids, Is How I Met Your Mother”: Consumerist, Mundane, and Uncanny Futures with Sex Robots. In Proceedings of the 38th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’20). (Acceptance rate 23%)

5. Giovanni Maria Troiano, Qinyu Chen, Angela Vargas Alba, Gregorio Robles, Eli Tucker-Raymond, Michael Cassidy, Gillian Puttick, Gillian Smith, and Casper Harteveld. 2020. Exploring How Game Genre in Student-Designed Games Influences Computational Thinking Development. In Proceedings of the 38th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’20). (Best Paper Award, Acceptance rate 23%)

6. Eli Tucker-Raymond, Michael Cassidy, Casper Harteveld, and Giovanni Maria Troiano. 2020. “I Broke Your Game!”: critique among middle schoolers designing computer games about climate change. In the International Journal of STEM Education. Springer Link. Volume 6, Issue 1. DOI: 10.1186/s40594-019-0194-z

7. Eli Tucker-Raymond, Michael Cassidy, Giovanni Maria Troiano, Gillian Smith, Gillian Puttick, and Casper Harteveld. 2020. Distributed Expertise for Computational Problem Solving in Middle School Science Classrooms”. Accepted by the American Educational Research Association (AERA 2020).

8. Angela Vargas Alba, Gregorio Robles, Giovanni Maria Troiano, Qinyu Chen, and Casper Harteveld. 2019. Bad Smells in Scratch Projects: A Preliminary Analysis. In Proceedings of the 14th European Conference for Technology-Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL 2019), Delft, Netherlands.

9. Giovanni Maria Troiano, Sam Snodgrass, Erinç Argımak, Gregorio Robles, Gillian Smith, Michael Cassidy, Eli Tucker-Raymond, Gillian Puttick, and Casper Harteveld. 2019. “Is My Game OK Dr. Scratch?”: Exploring Programming and Computational Thinking Development via Metrics in Student-Designed Serious Games for STEM. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 208-219. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3311927.3323152 (Acceptance rate 33%)

10. Alberto Boem and Giovanni Maria Troiano. 2019. Non-Rigid HCI: A Review of Deformable Interfaces and Input. In Proceedings of the 2019 Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 885-906. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3322276.3322347 (Acceptance rate 25%)

11. Gillian Puttick, Giovanni Maria Troiano, Eli Tucker-Raymond, Michael Cassidy, Jackie Barnes, and Casper Harteveld. (2018). Exploring how student designers model climate system complexity in computer games. In Proceedings of Connected Learning Summit (CLS’18). MIT, Boston, USA.

12. Paul Strohmeier, Antonio Gomes, Giovanni Maria Troiano, Aske Mottelson, Timothy Merritt, and Jason Alexander. 2016. Sharing Perspectives on the Design of Shape-Changing Interfaces. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3492-3499. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2851581.2856478 (Acceptance rate 23%)

13. Giovanni Maria Troiano, John Tiab, and Youn-Kyung Lim. (2016). SCI-FI: Shape-Changing Interfaces, Future Interactions. In Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (NordiCHI ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 45, 10 pages. (Acceptance rate 25%)

14. Majken K. Rasmussen, Giovanni M. Troiano, Marianne G. Petersen, Jakob G. Simonsen, and Kasper Hornbæk. (2016). Sketching Shape-changing Interfaces: Exploring Vocabulary, Metaphors Use, and Affordances. In Proceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2740-2751. (Acceptance rate 23%)

15. Giovanni Maria Troiano, Esben Warming Pedersen, and Kasper Hornbæk. (2015). Deformable Interfaces for Performing Music. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 377-386. (Acceptance rate 23%)

16. Giovanni Maria Troiano, Esben Warming Pedersen, and Kasper Hornbæk. (2014). User-defined gestures for elastic, deformable displays. In Proceedings of the 2014 International Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI ’14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1-8. (Best Paper Award, Acceptance rate 29%)

17. Giovanni Maria Troiano, Juan Gabriel Tirado, Monica Rikic. (2013). Tangible Syntaxes. In Work-In-Progress of the 7th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’13). ACM, New York, NY, USA.