Rob Comber

rob.comber@ncl.ac.uk | Faculty

Rob Comber

I am a Human-Computer Interaction researcher and Lecturer in Computer Mediated Communication. Having completed my PhD at University College Cork on Digital Connections in online social network sites, I joined Open Lab in 2011 to research household practices around food and health on the EU FP7 funded Balance@Home project. Since that time, my research has continued to expand and currently examines topics such as activism, citizen science, community education, and food and technology, all through a lens of designing for community. My research is broadly technologically agnostic, and explores methods and tools to promote citizen participation across a range of social and civic issues, including education, health and well-being, and democratic practices - collectively Digital Civics.

I teach Research Methods for Digital Civics and Introduction to Digital Civics as part of the MSc in Digital Civics. I am actively involved in supervision for doctoral trainees on topics including political participation, sustainability, politics of space, citizen-led planning, homelessness, community-driven innovation, and intimate care.


2017

Urban planning, public participation and digital technology: App development as a method of generating citizen involvement in local planning processes
Wilson A, Tewdwr-Jones M, Comber R, Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City ScienceePub ahead of print
Augmenting Audits: Exploring the Role of Sensor Toolkits in Sustainable Buildings Management
Finnigan SM, Clear AK, Farr-Wharton G, Ladha K, Comber R, Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies
What Happens to Digital Feedback?: Studying the Use of a Feedback Capture Platform by Care Organisations
Dow A, Vines J, Lowe T, Comber R, Wilson R, ACM SIGCHI (CHI) 20175813-5825
Za'atari Refugee Cookbook: Relevance, Challenges and Design Considerations
Fisher KE, Talhouk R, Yefimova K, Al-Shahrabi D, Yafi E, Ewald S, Comber R, ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts2576-2583
Supporting Self-Care of Adolescents with Nut Allergy Through Video and Mobile Educational Tools
Davidson N, Vines J, Bartindale T, Sutton S, Green D, Comber R, Balaam M, Olivier P, Vance G, CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems1078-1092
Participatory Media: Creating Spaces for Storytelling in Neighbourhood Planning
Manuel J, Vigar G, Bartindale T, Comber R, ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems1688-1701
Experiences of Delivering a Public Health Data Service
Simpson E, Comber R, Garbett A, Jenkins E, Balaam M, ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems6171-6183
Celebratory Technology to Orchestrate the Sharing of Devices and Stories during Family Mealtimes
Ferdous HS, Vetere F, Davis H, Ploderer B, O&#39, Hara K, Comber R, Farr-Wharton G, ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems6960-6972
Technologies and Social Justice Outcomes in Sex Work Charities: Fighting Stigma, Saving Lives
Strohmayer A, Laing M, Comber R, ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems3352-3364

2016

Re-Making Places: HCI, 'Community Building' and Change
Crivellaro C, Taylor A, Vlachokyriakos V, Comber R, Nissen B, Wright P, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 20162958-2969
TableTalk: integrating personal devices and content for commensal experiences at the family dinner table
Ferdous HS, Ploderer B, Davis H, Vetere F, O&#39, Hara K, Farr-Wharton G, Comber R, 2016 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing132-143
Interactivity: Looking at the vagina through Labella
Almeida T, Wood G, Comber R, Balaam M, CHI EA '16 Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems3635-3638
SOLE meets MOOC: Designing Infrastructure for Online Self-Organised Learning with a Social Mission
Celina H, Kharrufa A, Preston A, Comber R, Olivier P, 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '16)484-496
Factors important for women who breastfeed in public: a content analysis of review data from FeedFinder
Simpson E, Garbett A, Comber R, Balaam M, BMJ Opene011762
ResViz: Politics and Design Issues in Visualizing Academic Metrics
Elsden C, Mellor S, Olivier P, Wheldon P, Kirk D, Comber R, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 20165015-5027
App Movement: A Platform for Community Commissioning of Mobile Applications
Garbett A, Comber R, Jenkins E, Olivier P, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 201626-37
ThoughtCloud: Exploring the Role of Feedback Technologies in Care Organisations<strong> </strong>
Dow A, Vines J, Comber R, Wilson R, CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems3625-3636
On Looking at the Vagina through Labella
Almeida T, Comber R, Wood G, Saraf D, Balaam M, CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems1810-1821
HCI and Intimate Care as an Agenda for Change in Women's Health
Almeida T, Comber R, Balaam M, Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 16)2599-2611

2015

Iterative development of an online dietary recall tool, INTAKE24
Simpson E, Delve J, Poliakov I, Foster E, Jackson D, Comber R, Olivier P, Adamson A, Proceedings of the Nutrition SocietyE117-E117
Disruption as a Research Method for Studying Technology Use in Homes
Poole ES, Comber R, Hoonhout J, Interacting with Computers13-20
Understanding the lived experience of adolescents with type 1 diabetes: opportunities for design
Webster M, Foster E, Comber R, Bowen S, Cheetham T, Balaam M, Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '15)140-149
Educating adolescents at risk of anaphylaxis (the ERA study)
Davidson NA, Vines J, Bartindale T, Comber R, Balaam M, Mcnaney D, Sutton S, Green D, Michaelis L, Salter L, Olivier P, Vance G, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress55
Contesting the City: Enacting the political through digitally supported urban walks
Crivellaro C, Comber R, Dade-Robertson M, Bowen S, Wright P, Olivier P, CHI 2015 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems2853-2862
Exploring Learning Ecologies among People Experiencing Homelessness
Strohmayer A, Comber R, Balaam M, 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems2275-2284
Designing Alternative Systems for Local Communities
Vlachokyriakos V, Comber R, Crivellaro C, Taylor N, Kuznetsov S, Kavanaugh A, Le Dantec C, Kim BJ, CHI EA '15: Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems2333-2336
FeedFinder: A Location-Mapping Mobile Application for Breastfeeding Women
Balaam M, Comber R, Jenkins E, Sutton S, Garbett A, Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems1709-1718

2014

Intimate care: exploring eTextiles for teaching female pelvic fitness
Almeida T, Comber R, Olivier P, Balaam M, ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems5-8 
Green food technology: UbiComp opportunities for reducing the environmental impacts of food
Clear AK, Comber R, Friday A, Ganglbauer E, Hazas M, Rogers Y, ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing553-558
BallotShare: An exploration of the design space for digital voting in the workplace
Vlachokyriakos V, Dunphy P, Taylor N, Comber R, Olivier P, Computers in Human Behavior433-443
BallotShare: Exploring the design space of digital voting in a workplace environment
Vlachokyriakos V, Dunphy P, Taylor N, Comber R, Olivier P, School of Computing Science Technical Report Series19
HomeSys 2014
Coughlan T, Mortier R, Mitchell V, Comber R, Ploetz T, ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing879-885
PosterVote: expanding the action repertoire for local political activism
Vlachokyriakos V, Comber R, Ladha K, Taylor N, Dunphy P, McCorry P, Olivier P, ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS'14)795-804
Temporal, affective, and embodied characteristics of taste experiences: a framework for design
Obrist M, Comber R, Subramanian S, Piqueras-Fiszman B, Velasco C, Spence C, SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '14)2853-2862
Not Sharing Sushi: Exploring social presence and connectedness at the Telematic Dinner Party
Comber R, Barden P, Bryan-Kinns N, Olivier P, Eat, Cook, Grow: Mixing Human-Computer Interactions with Human-Food Interactions320
Designing for human-food interaction: An introduction to the special issue on 'food and interaction design'
Comber R, Choi JH-j, Hoonhout J, O&#39, Hara K, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies181-184
Monadic Exploration: Seeing the Whole Through Its Parts
D&#246, rk M, Comber R, Dade-Robertson M, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems1535-1544
A pool of dreams: facebook, politics and the emergence of a social movement
Crivellaro C, Comber R, Bowers J, Wright PC, Olivier P, Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '14)3573-3582
Finding "real people": trust and diversity in the interface between professional and citizen journalists
Garbett AT, Comber R, Egglestone P, Glancy M, Olivier P, Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '14)3015-3024

2013

Unpicking the design space of e-Voting for Participation.
Vlachokyriakos V, Dunphy P, Taylor N, Comber R, Olivier P, International Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government 2013 (CeDEM2013)
Methods for studying technology in the home
Coughlan T, Brown M, Martindale S, Comber R, Ploetz T, Leder Mackley K, Mitchell V, Baurley S, CHI EA 2013: Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems3207-3210
BinCam: Designing for Engagement with Facebook for Behavior Change
Comber R, Thieme A, Rafiev A, Taylor N, Kraemer N, Olivier P, Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2013 SE - 799--115
Methods for studying technology in the home
Coughlan T, Brown M, Martindale S, Comber R, Ploetz T, Leder-Mackley K, Mitchell V, Baurley S, Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA)3207-3210
HCI in the press: online public reactions to mass media portrayals of HCI research
Vines J, Thieme A, Comber R, Blythe M, Wright PC, Olivier P, CHI 2013: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems1873-1882
Food Practices as Situated Action: Exploring and designing for everyday food practices with households
Comber R, Hoonhout J, van Halteren A, Moynihan P, Olivier P, CHI 2013: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems2457-2466
Negotiating Food Waste: Using a Practice Lens to Inform Design
Ganglbauer E, Fitzpatrick G, Comber R, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Designing beyond habit: opening space for improved recycling and food waste behaviors through processes of persuasion, social influence and aversive affect
Comber R, Thieme A, Personal and Ubiquitous Computing1197-1210
Food for Thought: Designing for Critical Reflection on Food Practices.
Choi JH, Comber R, Linehan C, Interactions (New York)46-47

2012

Food for Thought: Designing for Critical Reflection on Food Practices
Choi JH, Linehan C, Comber R, McCarthy J, Designing Interactive Systems793-794
Computer-assisted visual assessment for malnutrition: lower absolute error in assessments of food consumption using novel software application
Comber R, Moynihan P, Olivier P, 26th Annual Conference of HEART-UK532-532 abstract no. 16
Food and interaction design: designing for food in everyday life
Comber R, Ganglbauer E, Choi J, Hoonhout J, Rogers Y, O&#39, Hara K, Maitland J, Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '12)2767-2770
"We've bin watching you": designing for reflection and social persuasion to promote sustainable lifestyles
Thieme A, Comber R, Miebach J, Weeden J, Kraemer N, Lawson S, Olivier P, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing (CHI'12)2337-2346
Supporting visual assessment of food and nutrient intake in a clinical care setting
Comber R, Weeden J, Hoare J, Lindsay S, Teal G, Macdonald A, Methven L, Moynihan P, Olivier P, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing (CHI'12)919-922
Telematic Dinner Party: Designing for Togetherness through Play and Performance
Barden P, Comber R, Green D, Jackson D, Ladha C, Bartindale T, Bryan-Kinns N, Stockman T, Olivier P, Designing Interactive Systems (DIS)38-47

Associated Projects

  • App Movement - Community Commissioning of Mobile Technologies
    App Movement is a platform that was developed at Open Lab which enables any individual, community or organisation to propose, design and automatically generate a multi-platform mobile application. The platform raises research questions around...
    August 30, 2011
  • School in the Cloud web platform
    The School in the Cloud combines SOLEs and the Granny Cloud together through seven experimental facilities funded by the TED prize. In addition, countless teachers around the world are using SOLEs in various forms. Made by Many developed the first vers...
    August 30, 2011
  • Friends of Tynemouth Outdoor Pool
    This project investigated the appropriation of a Facebook page by a group of residents as site for discussion and where a campaign to save a derelict outdoor swimming pool developed. Through in-depth analysis of Facebook data, the project explores the ...
    August 30, 2011
  • MyPlace: Mobility and PLace for the Age-friendly City Environment
    The aim of MyPlace is to develop and test through real-world research a digital platform and toolkit that will enable members of the public to engage with local councils and other organisations more effectively in the research, planning and design of t...
    August 30, 2011
  • React!
    React! is a web app designed and developed to support teenagers who are at risk of anaphylaxis (severe food allergies) and their friends in learning about the signs of different types of reactions and what to do in such circumstances. The app itsel...
    August 30, 2011
  • Telematic Dinner Party
    In collaboration with Pollie Barden at Queen Mary, University of London, we explored how internet technology can help two remote groups in casual settings to interact with each other. We used a dinner party as the setting, as many people use meals as a...
    August 30, 2011
  • Portion Size Estimation
    Malnutrition is a widespread problem in hospitals, especially amongst people aged 65 and above. One contributing factor is a lack of accuracy when monitoring how much patients are eating and the nutritional value of the food they consume. Methods that ...
    August 30, 2011
  • BinCam
    BinCam was a personal informatics system intended to raise awareness among young people about what they throw away and how they might decrease the amount of waste they create. A camera phone was attached to the inside of a bin lid and, using the phone'...
    August 30, 2011
  • Ambient Kitchen
    The Ambient Kitchen is a platform for research in pervasive computing that was installed at Culture Lab in 2007. It is a proof-of-concept context-aware computing environment, originally designed to demonstrate the potential for technology to support ol...
    August 30, 2011
  • SiDE: Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy
    SiDE is an interdisciplinary research project aimed at realising the potential for digital technologies to transform the lives of people who are socially excluded. Poor health, disability, family breakdown, poverty and unemployment are just some of the...
    August 30, 2011
  • Balance@Home
    The aim of this project is to help European citizens to obtain consumer solutions for hassle-free guidance towards a balanced lifestyle regarding meal planning and preparation and personal choice. We explore methods for inferring eating habits in a...
    August 30, 2011
  • MappMal: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Prevention of Malnutrition
    Four in ten people over the age of 65 are at risk of becoming malnourished or of their condition worsening in hospital. This leads to an increased risk of complications and longer hospital stays. Furthermore, the toll of the high rate of malnutrition o...
    August 30, 2011
 
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