Listed below are a selection of past research projects I have completed. If you wish to know more about the projects, please feel free to contact me.
Digital brain switch
The rise in the use of digital technologies challenges work life boundaries, particularly as individuals increasingly work from a range of locations, experience frequent interruptions and feel required to “stay connected” through multiple communication channels. The central research question to be explored in this project is: How do modern communications affect our ability to manage transitions across work life boundaries? This project is funded by EPSRC and is a collaboration between Lancaster University, Royal Holloway, Open University and University of Kent. Please visit the project website for more information.
Computer-based health intervention
Sexually transmitted infections (STI) and unwanted pregnancy are major public health problems. Condoms are effective for prevention, but there are many barriers to successful use. Interactive computer-based interventions (ICBI) are highly suitable for sexual health issues: access can be private and self-paced, and programme content can be tailored for individuals. In collaboration with the e-Health unit in UCL, this project (funded by NIHR) aim to design and test ICBI in an attempt to address this issue. [more information]
Persuasive technology and energy consumption
152 million tonnes of carbon (MtC) was produced in the UK in 2009. The domestic sector accounts for 41.7 million tonnes, which is about 27% of carbon emissions in the UK resulting from energy consumption. The consumption of electricity in residential buildings is highly dependent on the behaviours of the residents. Therefore, we need to approach this issue not just with technological solutions but behavioural change as well. To address these challenges, we have designed, configured and implemented a robust Persuasive Feedback Support System (PFSS) to facilitate energy conservation and carbon emission reduction. The four week deployment of PFSS, with 16 halls of residents at University of Kent (112 students) revealed that overall the use of real time feedback system reduced energy consumption significantly when compared to baseline readings. [more information]
Internet of plants
Currently, cities’ food systems are often unsustainable. For instance, London’s ecological footprint is 200 times its surface area, requiring more than the entire productive area of Britain to sustain itself, whilst 47% of the food the UK is imported. Cities can be transformed from being only consumers of food and other agricultural products into important resource-conserving, health improving, sustainable generator of these products. In this project (funded by EPSRC), we explore how digital technologies can support effective urban agriculture. One major challenge of this community-driven agriculture is the lack of specialist knowledge in growing food efficiently and safely. Ensuring efficient use of resources requires an ability to know the quantities the crop requires and being able to deliver accurately that requirement, avoiding waste. Therefore, our aim is to investigate the potential of using low-cost sensor and social-media technology to support community-driven urban agriculture. [more information]
Avatar technology and cyberbullying
The project looked into the effectiveness of computer-mediated communication on conflict resolution among younger users in the context of bullying. Working in collaboration with Kent Integrated Youth Service and Project Salus, the study was funded by the KCC and included 68 secondary school students (aged 12-13) from three Kent schools. The study found out that AvatarKinect users reported more positive changes in perceptions toward their partner. Skype users seemed to generate more ideas, whilst AvatarKinect produced better quality ideas. Gesture-based avatar technology appears to be a useful modality to help resolve bullying in schools. A dissemination event which included student presentations from Borden Grammar School in Sittingbourne and the Archbishop’s school in Canterbury was held at the University of Kent on 3rd May. [more information]
Cyber-influence and social media
The project demonstrated a tool that can autonomously assess whether an individual is influential amongst their peer group by automated analysis of online social networking content; observing how rapidly, widely and deeply ideas originating from a particular individual propagate through the Facebook graph of their social network contacts. Messaging between participants was monitored and fitted into a model. Software agents were developed to observe how information propagates through the visible graph. By the form of spreading of information, the agent assessed how influential the users were amongst their peers. This is a collaborative project between the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, the School of Psychology (Dr. Karen Douglas) and Roke Manor (funded by DSTL).
Social media as assistive technology
We received funding from two companies to enhance the design of and evaluate communication technology use in care homes. One company, Vision4Technology, is developing an easy-to-use video call system for older people. We carried out heuristic evaluation to improve the interface design of the system and conducted observational studies to assess the acceptability of the system by the residents and their relatives.
The second project aimed to enhance communications for care home residents using social media such as online social networking (e.g. Facebook, mobile apps, etc). The ultimate goal of this project was to allow for more independent living, giving residents control over their day-to-day communication with their networks outside the home. We carried out comprehensive evaluation studies to assess the impact of this communication system to the residents, carers and relatives.