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Madeline Balaam

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About me

My research is concerned with Interaction Design for health and wellbeing. I am driven by a desire to design technologies which better meet the needs and practices of people in their everyday lives and in doing so I apply participatory and user-centred design methods. For the last decade my research has focussed on the design, development and study of intimate technologies. Within the field of HCI intimate technologies typically concerns technologies that relate to an intimate body part, intimate body process, or intimate relationships.

I am extremely interested in the possibilities for revolutionising interactions with the intimate body, and intimate body processes through digital innovation. I lead a research group who share very similar interests, and together we have re-imagined menstrual technologies with the 'Menarche Bits', explored how intimate technologies should touch the intimate body with the 'Pelvic Chair', and examined the possibilities for new digital experiences that transform the menopause transition. In much of this work we use soma design to help the design work engage more fully with the sensory, emotional, full-bodied experience of being in the world.

Much of this agenda can be traced back to the design and development of a user-generated app called FeedFinder that supports breastfeeding mothers in finding, reviewing and adding locations for public breastfeeding, which we started working on back in 2013 and which we continue to support and research today. FeedFinder currently has around 8000 users, with well over 5000 places for public breastfeeding reviewed and mapped in the UK and worldwide. In itself it is a unique dataset describing women's experiences of breastfeeding in public, which we have publised in BMJ-open.

Following from this, myself and Teresa Almeida developed Labella, a prototype to explore how humour and mobile technologies can raise women's knowledge of their intimate anatomy. We were so happy to have this work be awarded a 'best paper' award at CHI 2016. In particular, it was really interesting to demo the technology to the CHI attendees and find out what people thought of our work. Thinking more broadly about the role for digital technologies and HCI in women's health, Teresa and I also published a paper describing the opportunities and challenges for HCI within women's health and intimate care, which was also published at CHI 2016.

Prior to joining KTH I was a research fellow in the Interact Lab within the University of Sussex, working on projects like the shyness in pervasive computing project and the motivating mobility project.

I completed my DPhil in the IDEAs lab. My work investigated how the learning context influences the emotions experienced by students. This work was aided through the Subtle Stone, a novel technology that I designed and developed to support students in their private communication of emotional experience to their class teacher (and a researcher).

For my publication list please see here:


Degree Project in Computer Science and Engineering, specialising in ICT Innovation, Second Cycle (DA256X), examiner | Course web

Degree Project in Computer Science and Engineering, specialising in ICT Innovation, Second Cycle (DA258X), examiner | Course web

Degree Project in Computer Science and Engineering, specializing in Interactive Media Technology, Second Cycle (DA232X), examiner, teacher | Course web

Degree Project in Media Technology, First Cycle (DM128X), examiner | Course web

Interaction Design Methods (DH2628), course responsible | Course web

Program Integrating Course in Interactive Media Technology (DM2679), teacher | Course web

User Experience Design and Evaluation (DM2630), examiner, course responsible | Course web

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Publication list