Research

I currently research interactive touch surfaces and games/gamification.

2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
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.