Research

I currently research interactive touch surfaces and games/gamification.

2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Present
Interactive Surfaces and Spaces
Games and Gamification
Contextual Musical Choice
Astronomy
Undergraduate
Masters
PhD

Interactive Surfaces and Spaces (2013-present)

I have investigated how our psychological needs are being met when we use a touch surface as compared to completing the same activity with a mouse. My work showed that at a psychological level, using a touch screen is a more motivating experience, possibly explaining the rise of the smartphones and tablet computers.  I have also looked at the combination of public use of large wall based touch surfaces and personal devices such as smart-phones, focusing on what barriers arise that would stop a person from using the system and how they can be mitigated

Games and Gamification (2012-present)

I look at how games and gamification can be used for motivation. For example, I created Reading Garden, a game that encourages university students to keep up with course readings. Another game, Vortex Mountain, is a elementary school classroom-exergame which combines exercise with learning to transform a sedentary activity to an active one. I also am contributing to a project that is working on ways to support collectors of sports memorabilia, first by studying how and why they collect, and then by creating a gameful prototype that allows them to digitize their collections without losing the support they have for narrative, context, and organization, in real life.

Context Aware Music Recommender Systems (2010-2012)

My Master's thesis attempted to predict what music people wanted to listen to based on not just the musical features of the music, but the context of the listening experience: who, what, where and why. First I gathered data about actual listening experiences using smart phones that would occasionally query participants about their current listening experience. Then I created a model using machine learning to predict the musical mood of the listening experience. Finally, I compared these results to other existing models.

Astronomy/High Mass X-Ray Binary Star Systems (2008-2010)

As an undergraduate, I worked on a research team that investigated high mass x-ray binary star systems. These star systems are intriguing star systems that have one very large, very bright star and a smaller companion. The larger bright B type star often pulsates, and it may pulsate to the point it ejects its own mass causing a decretion disk to form around the star.  We studied the slowest known X-Ray binary pulsar, RX J0146.9+6121 and V832 Cas in the open cluster NGC 663. This work added to the collective understanding of stellar evolution of high mass binary star systems.