Current projects

Sensory Objects

Interactive Sensory Objects Developed For and By People with Learning disabilities is engaging people with learning disabilities as co-researchers in workshops that explore how we can create interactive multisensory objects to help enhance museums or heritage sites. The project is being led by artists, technologists, and multimedia specialists at the University of Reading and the Rix Centre, University of East London. The project is funded by the AHRC.

COBALT: Challenging Obstacles and Barriers to Assistive Living Technologies

The aim of the COBALT Project is to work with older people and health and social care staff to tackle the barriers to adoption of assisted living technologies (ALT) by educating the ALT industry about what end-users really want. COBALT is a collaborative multidisciplinary project between the University of St. Andrews, University of Sheffield, University of Reading and Age UK, funded by the Technology Strategy Board through the Assisted Living Innovations Platform (ALIP) programme.

NANA: Novel Assessment of Nutrition and Ageing

NANA is addressing the multifaceted challenges of assessing nutrition, physical function, cognitive function and mental health in the older population. Current gold-standard methods are burdensome and time-consuming for both the participant and the analyst. NANA is addressing these challenges through the application of sensitively designed technology. NANA is a collaborative multidisciplinary project between the University of St. Andrews, University of Sheffield, Bath Institute of Medical Engineering, and the University of Reading, funded by the New Dynamics of Ageing.

Virtual Environments & Technologies Supporting Therapy for Addiction

Alcohol and drug misuse not only damages the lives of individuals but also affects wider society. Despite this there are still a large number of people not getting the support they need to make positive changes to their lives. This project explores how technology can help provide support for people in tackling drug and/or alcohol misuse. This project is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Swanswell Charitable Trust.

Interfaces for Challenging Environments

Interacting with technology in the battlefield presents particular challenges related, for example, to having to perform tasks under stressful conditions while on the move and with restricted input and feedback channels. This project investigates novel interactions which can improve performance and decrease load on the operator. This project is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Rockwell Collins UK.

Improving Computer Interaction for Older Adults

Older adults are motivated to use computing technologies, but many technologies can be difficult and frustrating to understand and use. Nic Hollinworth is a PhD student studying aspects of computer interaction that particularly present difficulties for older adults, and investigating ways to address some of the challenges. His studies include the use of touch sensors to help older adults find 'lost' cursors and the use of familiarity to make interactions easier to learn and to remember.

Technology-supported Speech Therapy

Computer-supported speech therapies commonly do not have the flexibility for clinicians to create content that is personally-relevant for their clients. We are developing a set of tools that can deliver speech therapy on a mobile device, support clinicians to design therapy programmes that are grounded in the needs of the client, and allow remote monitoring and updating of the therapy. This project is a collaboration with Clinical Language Sciences and the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics at the University of Reading, and is supported by an EPSRC Bridging the Gaps grant.

Haptic Interfaces

We are investigating the potential for haptic interfaces (i.e. providing feedback through touch) to present information in situations where the eyes and ears are busy. We have developed a handheld haptic device with a rotating textured dial, that can communicate with a mobile phone. Used in conjunction with smartphone technology, it could be used to provide directional information to help guide a person along a route. This project was supported by an EPSRC Vacation Bursary.

Previous projects

Improving Computer Interaction for Older Users: An Investigation of Dynamic On-screen Targets

For older adults, computer access can be limited because they experience difficulties with using a pointing device to position a cursor and select targets on the screen. This project studies the use of dynamic targets, e.g. expanding icons, as a means of improving target selection for older adults. This project is part of the EPSRC/BBSRC-funded SPARC (Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity) initiative.

Cursor Control for People with Motion-impairment

My PhD investigated improving cursor control and target selection for people with motion-impairment. One aspect of this was a submovement analysis of mouse movements of people with a range of motor capabilities. This work was awarded best student paper at ASSETS 2004. The research also examined the use of haptic feedback as a form of assistance, using the Logitech Wingman force-feedback mouse.