Recent research papers

It’s been a busy period of research with the research exercise coming towards a conclusion and new grant opportunities appearing. Barry Herbert is in the last stages of writing up his PhD but we managed to get a paper out the door and accepted for ITAG. This paper presents results of an experiment which investigates user typology for the gamification of a virtual learning environment. We show that it is possible to distinguish between variation in the ways that learners can be motivated to engage within learning processes and content.

  • Barry Herbert, Darryl Charles, Adrian Moore, Therese Charles, “An Investigation of Gamification Typologies for Enhancing Learner Motivation”, ITAG: Interactive Technologies and Games – Education, Health and Disability, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, 2014

Extending these ideas and applying them within a rehabilitation context we developed a new framework called PACT (people, aesthetics, context, technology) and we are looking forward to presenting a short paper on this at ICDVRAT. PACT has an implicit focus on participatory design and involvement with all of the relevant stakeholders from the beginning of a rehabilitation design process. The emphasis on gamification within the PACT framework has a number of significant advances. Firstly, the outcome of a gamification process may not be an obvious game but may simply result in the addition of fun feedback (e.g. points and badges) to a non-game context (e.g. physical movements round the home), could recommend the use of gaming hardware in a non-game context (e.g. digital painting), or the use of game worlds to immerse and inspire (e.g. walks with friends in virtual game worlds). Secondly, new advanced gamification approaches can help tailor system design to account for diversity in motivation between different people.

  • Darryl Charles, Suzanne McDonough, “A Participatory Design Framework for the Gamification of Rehabilitation Systems”, ICDVRAT: The 10th International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality and Associated Technologies 2014.

Craig Hull is just about to start his second year of his PhD and he recently presented his first paper (below). I’m particularly pleased that we received generally positive feedback on this approach and that we managed to get the word FRAGED into the title – Babylon 5 :-). We should see if we can get “smeg” and “frak” into future paper titles.

  • Craig Hull, Darryl Charles, Philip Morrow, Gerard Parr, “FRAGED: A Framework for Adaptive Game Execution and Delivery to Improve the Quality of Experience in Network Aware Games”, PGNET 2014.

We also just received news that our research with the Leap Motion controller for use in stroke rehabilitation was accepted for publication in Jatech. This technology has a lot of potential and we need to try to find some funding to be able to take it forward.

  • Charles, D.K., Pedlow, K., McDonough, S., Shek, K. & Charles, T. (2014). Close Range Depth Sensing Cameras for Virtual Reality based Hand Rehabilitation. Journal of Assistive Technologies

In September Dominic Holmes is starting a PhD with us at Ulster to investigate the use of modern game hardware and software to create tailored and motivating exercise programmes to help prevent falls. He will focus on adherence to exercise as a measurement of success and investigate variation in engagement mechanisms between users. The fun part will be a chance to work with Oculus Rift VR (or similar) , Leap/Kinect/Myo controllers and the Omni-Treadmill. Dominic has been shortlisted for the Creative Buzz Award for his excellent work on his final year project. He designed and made a feedback jacket for connecting to a computer game via an Arduino microcontroller – it helps provide a more immersive gaming experience by supplying haptic feedback around a player’s body, e.g. when shot a player will feel the motion of an actuator in the area of the body that correlates to where they have been shot in-game. We hope that he will be able to use some of these approaches in his PhD. Dominic will be at Culture Tech in Derry/Londonderry in September for a 4 day bootcamp – I will put more information up about this closer to the event.