About HCI Lab

The main objective of the Laboratory is to contribute to the development of an inclusive society that supports the daily needs of all citizens, through appropriate technological interventions leading to usable and universally accessible digital applications and services. The methodological approach followed is based on the principles of Universal Access and Design for All. The Laboratory plays a leading role internationally in supporting the equal participation and socio-economic integration of people with disabilities in an Information Society for All.

Head: Professor Constantine Stephanidis
Phone: +30 2810 391741
E-mail: cs@ics.forth.gr

Research & Development

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is an interdisciplinary field that addresses the way humans "communicate" with computing systems. The HCI Laboratory of the Institute of Computer Science (ICS) of FORTH was founded in 1988 by its Head, Professor Constantine Stephanidis, and constitutes since then an internationally recognized center of excellence that conducts pioneering basic and applied research in the design and development of interactive technologies. The research activities of the Laboratory aim to create innovative technological frameworks, methods, tools, and techniques that support the design and development of interactive applications and services that are accessible, usable, and user-friendly for "all" (addressing the needs of as many users as possible). At the same time, the Laboratory conducts research on the User Experience (UX) of interactive systems, focusing on the deep understanding of users' needs, desires, abilities, and limitations, taking into account the application domain and the context of use.

The research and development projects of the Laboratory during the 1990s contributed to the efforts towards standardizing the accessibility of interactive telecommunications applications and services, e.g., in the context of ISO 9241 TC 159 / WG 5 / SC 4 - Software Ergonomics, as well as at the early stages of the development of web accessibility standards through guidelines in the context of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The methods and tools developed by the Laboratory have been adopted and used by academic and research institutions for educational, training, and research purposes and have influenced the industry involved in the participatory design and development of user interfaces, which has shown particular interest in their exploitation.

In 2004, the Head of the Laboratory founded and since then coordinates the operation of the horizontal Ambient Intelligence Program of (AmI Program) of ICS-FORTH, which is an interdisciplinary research and development program, with the occasional participation of other ICS Laboratories. The main goal of Ambient Intelligence is to integrate interactive technologies into physical objects and (electronic) equipment in the environment, in an "invisible" way to the user, enhancing their functionality. In this context, the Laboratory develops applications based on a human-centered design approach and integrates technologies for the recognition, monitoring, and support of human activities, multimodal interaction with the technological environment, as well as computational reasoning and decision-making. This results in improving the User Experience (UX) and providing novel methods of interaction. In addition, the advantages and overall impact of these technologies on humans and their daily lives are studied at an individual and societal level, as well as in the design of intelligent accessible environments. In this direction, the Laboratory has created a series of prototype interactive systems (related to the fields of Arts and Culture, Education, Health, Home, Work Environment, Agriculture, Commerce and Advertising, Recreation and Entertainment), which utilize cutting-edge technologies and combine entertainment with information and education, supporting at the same time simple, friendly, and natural interaction.

In the context of the Ambient Intelligence Program, the Head of the Laboratory took the initiative and led the efforts of ICS-FORTH toward the construction of a 3,000 sq.m. building infrastructure to support research and technological development in this specific field. In this infrastructure, simulation spaces of intelligent environments were created for innovative, interdisciplinary and cross-domain actions in various application domains (smart home, smart classroom, smart office, smart museum, smart entertainment space, smart garden, etc.). This facility, unique in Greece, started its operation in 2012 and is subject to continuous development and expansion, with the vision of ultimately becoming an attraction hub for international collaborations. Another axis, parallel to the in vitro activities, is the corresponding in vivo field activities that foster connection with society, in collaboration with various organizations and bodies. In these activities, different target groups of the population are actively involved in the development cycle of application and services, through Participatory Design and Evaluation of the installed systems, during their pilot operation phase.

Since 2018, the Laboratory has expanded its research and development activities by incorporating the field of Computer Graphics, focusing on three main directions that are key ingredients for novel interactive experiences in virtual and augmented environments: (a) high-fidelity graphics with realistic lighting and character movement, (b) geometric mathematical graphics models, and (c) incorporation of game mechanics and realistic sense of presence in virtual environments.

Furthermore, since 2018, the research activities of the Laboratory also include the field of Human-Centered Design of Artificial Intelligence technologies, a current global research direction that seeks the effective integration of Artificial Intelligence technologies into everyday life, promoting their usability, while also safeguarding the development of an ‘ethical’ Artificial Intelligence that is in line with universal human values and goals.

In the past, the Laboratory also conducted research in the field of Programming Languages and Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for user interfaces, with emphasis on the thorough design and development of novel programming languages.

In addition to basic and applied research activities, the Laboratory continuously pursues its direct connection with society, the establishment of strategic collaborations with important industry partners, and the provision of consulting services to ICT organisations and companies. At the same time, an important activity of the Laboratory is the dissemination of its research results through the development of original interactive systems that target the general public, with the aim of informing, educating, training, and entertaining. These systems are made available, on a small scale, directly to end-users.

The results of the applied research and technological development of the Laboratory have received numerous awards and distinctions at international conferences as well as during technology and innovation exhibitions. Their exploitation is carried out in various ways, such as, for example, through licensing, on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis.

In 2023, forty years after the establishment of the Research Center of Crete (RCC) - which evolved into FORTH in 1987, and thirty-five years after the establishment of the Laboratory - its current research directions relate to the following areas:

  • Digital Accessibility, Design for All, and Universal Access
  • User Experience Design, Methods, and Tools
  • Interaction in Intelligent Environments
  • Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence
  • Extended Reality Environments and Computer Graphics Systems
  • Applied Research in domains of Societal, Cultural, and Industrial/Market Impact


The recognized prestige of the Laboratory is reflected in its participation in a multitude of national, European, and international projects, as well as in its partnership with research and academic institutions, as well as with industry, through bilateral or multilateral collaborations or consortia. It is also reflected in its collaboration with Public Organizations, Local Authorities, and Ministries. In the context of these collaborations, the Laboratory undertakes, on a case-by-case basis, the design, implementation, coordination, technical management, quality assurance, etc., of the projects in which it participates.