I am interested in bringing emerging technologies into the real world. From my research perspective, this implies (1) exploring user experience, (2) technology development, and (3) domain exploration. My research combines hardware and software prototyping, with varied evaluation methodologies and theories. To date, I have used hardware prototyping (building circuitry and sensor networks), computer vision, interaction design, and virtual and augmented realities to prototype novel systems, and qualitative, quantitative, and ethnographic studies, to explore these systems in use. I have explored applied technologies in archaeology, action sports, and the maker community. My current attention is on using electric muscle stimulation (EMS) to support and enhance physical performance.
Our interaction with technology has largely moved away from the static, desktop-based use of old. Inherent to this move, is an increasing role of our body in interaction, whether using gestures with mobile devices, using our whole body in VR, simply logging detailed information about ourselves through biometrics, or, in the extreme, giving control of our body to the computer. A key research focus of mine is in uncovering and harnessing the rich potential of our bodies to build better interfaces and improve user experience. I am interested in supervising PhDs in the following research areas:
- Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS). EMS enables us to take control of the human body’s movements with the computer. Thanks to recent advances in calibration techniques and hardware, we are now at a point where we can explore opportunities in correcting or boosting human performance with EMS. Imagine correcting your golf swing mid drive, or boosting your muscle recruitment, to keep you running faster for longer. Applicants should have experience in building hardware and electronics, programming, and (ideally) have an interest in sports and physiology.
- Future eTextiles and Body Tracking. We are on the cusp of producing biometric sensors and associated electronic circuitry entirely from fabric, and with a simplicity that can make full-body activity tracking viable. This research will combine the cutting edge in (1) digital fabrication, (2) eTextile materials and threads, and (3) body-based user interfaces (body-tracking through novel sensing techniques and activity recognition). Applicants should have an interest in digital fabrication, activity tracking, and user experience.
- Lie Detection on Mobile Devices. Research has suggested that lie detection is possible on mobile devices by examining different input features (such as touch pressure, accelerometer data, etc.). This opens many questions around how we design interfaces to best encourage truthful and accurate input. Candidates should have an interest in mobile interaction, psychology, signal processing, and machine learning.
- Input and Output in Virtual Reality. Although research has been exploring VR for decades, the latest hardware (such as that from HTC and Oculus), has enabled a myriad of new interaction possibilities and identified a wealth of outstanding challenges. For example, how can I feel virtual objects? How do I share VR experiences with my friends? While the research community has begun to address some of these questions, there remains plenty of work to be done. Candidates should have experience in Unity or game development, and have an interest in activity tracking and user experience.
If you'd like to do a PhD with me, get in touch. Tell me: (1) what you'd like to work on, (2) what skills you have, (3) about 2 pieces of related work and why you think they are interesting, and (4) something about how you are creative (which I think is important).
Human Computer Interaction, PhD, University of Bristol
- Human Computer Interaction
- Body-based User Interfaces
- User Experience (UX)
- Mobile Devices
- Wearable Computing