Professor Chittaro's principal interest is in the disciplined design and rigorous evaluation of digital technologies such as mobile apps, virtual reality experiences, video games, and affective computing systems. He particularly focuses on systems to train people in facing risky and stressful situations, and to promote positive attitude and behavior change in users, especially in the health and safety domains.
He has received research grants from a wide range of organizations, including the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the European Union (EU), the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR), and companies such as the Benetton Group and the Intesa Sanpaolo bank group.
He has served as chair for the ACM Web3D conference (program co-chair, 2004 and 2005), the ACM Mobile HCI conference (chair 2003, general co-chair 2007, associate program committee chair 2010), and as courses co-chair for ACM CHI 2008. He has been member of the ACM Mobile HCI Steering Committee for fifteen years (2003-2017). He has given tutorials at ACM conferences (Mobile HCI 2009, EICS 2011, Mobile HCI 2015), and chaired workshops at ACM CHI (2008) and Mobile HCI (2007). He has been chair of the Italian Chapter of ACM SIGCHI (2004-2006, 2006-2008). He has been Program Committee member for the ACM EICS conference (2011, 2012). He serves on the Editorial Board of the Personal and Ubiquitous Computing journal, available in the ACM Digital Library.
He has served for several other conferences: program chair of Persuasive 2014 (9th International Conference on Persuasive Technology); short papers co-chair of INTERACT 2005; meta-reviewer of INTERACT 2015; six times (2011-2016) Senior Program Committee member of Advances in Computer Entertainment (ACE); program committee member of INTERACT (2007, 2009, 2013), UMAP (2005, 2009, 2010), IFIP ICEC (2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018), AVI (2002, 2004, 2008, 2014, 2016), Persuasive (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Smartgraphics (2009, 2010, 2011). He has been keynote speaker at the IEEE Human-Systems Interaction Conference 2009, the IFIP World Computer Congress 2008, the Workshop on Engineering Multimodal Interfaces 2009, the IEE ICCSA 2006 international conference, the Mobility 2004 international conference, and Eurographics EG IT 2007.
He has been editor of special issues of international journals such as Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, Computers & Education. He is a member of the IFIP Working Group WG 13.5 (Resilience, Reliability, Safety and Human Error in System Development).
In addition to academic research, he is a strong advocate of the societal impact of HCI. He has enthusiastically worked with clinicians in various fields of health (e.g., physical rehabilitation, neurology, emergency medicine) as well as with safety experts in various areas (e.g., aviation safety, fire prevention, first response) to create innovative applications for real-world use. Two of his medical apps are currently in hospital use, while his aviation safety apps have received great attention from the public and the media, with a total of 4 million installations. They have also been featured on major TV stations such as Fox News and Discovery Channel as well as major news web sites such as TIME, Popular Mechanics, and Gizmodo.
In the 2008-2014 period, he was Coordinator of the Scientific Board and member of the Executive Board of GRIN (the italian association of university professors in Computer Science).
He has been evaluator for the scientific grants program of the US National Science Foundation ( NSF ), Austrian Science Foundation ( FWF ), Science Foundation Ireland ( SFI ), and the Joint Research Scheme between Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (RGC).