Masters Projects

Here is a collection of research projects and software development projects proposed by researchers in the Interaction Design Lab, for masters students. For more details about a particular project, students should contact supervisors directly.

Gaze Tracking

Supervisor: Eduardo Velloso

  • Gaze-Aware Intelligent User Interfaces

    This project aims at using machine learning and artificial intelligence methods and techniques to build interfaces that monitor, interpret, and respond to users’ eye movements. Potential applications domains include educational systems that generate practice exercises to account for learner’s attentional shifts, workplace systems that optimize users’ productivity, and IDE plugins for remote programming that communicate where different programmers are looking at.
    Expected background: strong programming skills (C#), knowledge of machine learning/AI

  • Eye Tracking as a Game Controller

    Modern eye trackers, such as the Tobii EyeX and the SteelSeries Sentry, are being marketed specifically for the gaming market. In this context, creating novel game mechanics and experiences that benefit from gaze information is a largely untapped gold mine. The goal of the project is to design and build these novel game experiences involving the players' gaze.
    Expected background: strong programming skills (C# and Unity), interested in building games

  • Eye Tracking for Game User Research

    The eyes offer a powerful window into users' cognitive processes. The goal of this project is to design an optimal methodology for evaluating games using eye tracking. Though there is some understanding of how to evaluate conventional systems using eye tracking data, little is known about how it can be useful for evaluating games. It will involve recording eye tracking data of novice and experienced players and analyse how the data can inform the game design.
    Expected background: strong data analysis skills, interest in games and in conducting user studies.

  • Attentive User Interfaces

    We now live in a world where multiple devices and application are fighting for our attention, leading to undesired interruptions and annoying distractions. This project aims at developing interfaces that monitor our cognitive processes through eye tracking and thermal imaging to focus our attention and increase our productivity.
    Expected background: strong programming skills, combining data analysis with human-computer interaction.

Wearable and IoT

Supervisor: Eduardo Velloso

  • Wearable Support for Weight Lifting Activities

    Though there are many fitness trackers available in the market nowadays, few of them aim at providing qualitative feedback for weights training. The goal of this project is to investigate different approaches for providing feedback to weight lifters. We will investigate how different feedback modalities (e.g. audio, smart watch, smart phone, web) can operate at different temporal (during the exercise, after each repetition, after each set, after the whole programme) and spatial (at the gym, on the go, at home) levels.
    Expected background: a strong programming background, interested in building cross-device (I.e. integrating several devices, such as watches, phones and laptops) interactions, who are able to build functional and aesthetically pleasing interfaces.

  • A Review of Quantified Self Systems for Sports and Fitness

    As wearable sensors become increasingly more popular and inexpensive, the number of available systems in the market increases every day. Fitbit, Microsoft Band, Apple Watch---all offer some kind of fitness functionality. However, upon closer inspection, we see that these systems are very different, coming in various shapes and forms, as well as offering very different types of functionality. The goal of this project is to understand the landscape of fitness trackers currently in the market as well as how these systems relate to the existing academic literature.
    Expected background: Wearable Computing, Fitness, and/or Human Computer Interaction. strong writing skills, the ability to synthesise concepts from the literature, and will involve substantial qualitative research.

Mental Health

Supervisor: Jorge Goncalves and Greg Wadley

  • Mental health: forum usability

    Youth mental health disorders are currently the greatest cause of disability in young people worldwide. Governments around the world are seeking ways to reduce the cost of delivering mental healthcare by incorporating modern technologies into treatment. Not surprisingly, technology and youth mental health treatment is one of the fastest growing areas in ehealth. In this project, you will collaborate with the Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health (the world leading youth mental health organisation) in Melbourne, to help them analyse how their online social media based interventions are used by patients. Orygen’s ehealth program involves a multidisciplinary team of 35 researchers working across 3 national and 4 international universities and 10 youth mental health services. Specifically, the work will focus on analysing which features and functionality of online social media interventions are most popular. Ideally, you will provide insight into how the intervention is currently used, and develop recommendations on how it can be improved. Your work will enable Orygen to provide better mental health services to thousands of young people both across Australia and worldwide.
    Expected background: Databases, scripting and data wrangling, some statistical or numerical analysis, ability to conduct interviews.
    Preferred background: Knowledge of R and/or Python is preferred but not necessary. Knowledge of linux scripting preferred but not necessary.

  • Review on Mood inference in-the-wild

    Mental wellbeing plays a profound role in people’s health and quality of life. Mood tracking using various technologies is an active research topic. A core challenge is how to accurately and reliably measure mood data with the help of various technology in-the-wild. The goal of the project is to create a thorough and detailed literature review on mood inference in-the-wild. The literature review should provide a detailed summary of all previous related research on the the topic, highlighting their strength and weakness.
    Expected background: strong writing skills, the ability to synthesise concepts from the literature, interest in the research topic.

  • Youth Mental health: online post analysis

    Youth mental health disorders are currently the greatest cause of disability in young people worldwide. Governments around the world are seeking ways to reduce the cost of delivering mental healthcare by incorporating modern technologies into treatment. Not surprisingly, technology and youth mental health treatment is one of the fastest growing areas in ehealth. In this project, you will collaborate with the Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health (the world leading youth mental health organisation) in Melbourne, to help them analyse how their online social media based interventions are used by patients. Orygen’s ehealth program involves a multidisciplinary team of 35 researchers working across 3 national and 4 international universities and 10 youth mental health services. Specifically, the work will focus on analysing the popularity of posts, and attempting to predict which posts become popular, and why. Your work will enable Orygen to provide better mental health services to thousands of young people both across Australia and worldwide.
    Expected background: Databases, scripting and data wrangling, some statistical or numerical analysis, ability to conduct interviews.
    Preferred background: Knowledge of Weka or other machine learning tools is ideal but not necessary. Knowledge of R and linux shell scripting is preferred but not necessary.

Mobile Sensing

Supervisor: Vassilis Kostakos

  • Web Application for Creating Smartphone Studies

    This work will contribute to a global open-source project led by the University of Melbourne (http://www.awareframework.com). The overall project aims to make it easy to conduct experiments using smartphones, and to collect sensor data from smartphones. Your role will be to improve an existing website (http://create.awareframework.com) written in Javascript/NodeJS. The website is used by scientists to define the experiments they want to conduct. It allows scientists to define questionnaires, and define which sensor values trigger certain questionnaires on the phone (e.g. launch a questionnaire whenever the user runs the Facebook app). You will only work on the front-end, making sure that the website is usable and stable. Your work will help a variety of scientists who are using this tool, including medical doctors, psychologists, epidemiologists, sociologists, education experts, and computer scientists.
    Expected background: Javascript/NodeJS, Databases, scripting and data wrangling, ability to conduct interviews.
    Preferred background: Usability engineering, CSS, interaction design.

  • Visualisation Dashboard for Smartphone sensor data

    This work will contribute to a global open-source project led by the University of Melbourne (http://www.awareframework.com). The overall project aims to make it easy to conduct experiments using smartphones, and to collect sensor data from smartphones. Your role will be to develop an application using R Shiny Dashboard to visualise smartphone sensor data stored in a MySQL server. You will work closely with scientists to identify the requirements for the visualisation tool. Then, you will implement the tool to visualise the sensor data in a way that is suitable for scientists. Your work will help a variety of scientists who are using this tool, including medical doctors, psychologists, epidemiologists, sociologists, education experts, and computer scientists.
    Expected background: Databases, scripting and data wrangling, some statistical or numerical analysis, ability to conduct interviews.
    Preferred background: Knowledge of R and Shiny Dashboard is preferred but not necessary.

  • Android Visualisation App for Smartphone Sensor Data

    This work will contribute to a global open-source project led by the University of Melbourne (http://www.awareframework.com). The overall project aims to make it easy to conduct experiments using smartphones, and to collect sensor data from smartphones. Your role will be to develop an Android application to visualise smartphone sensor data stored in local sqlite files. You will work closely with end-users to identify the requirements for the visualisation tool. Then, you will implement the tool to visualise the sensor data in a way that is suitable for end-users. Your work will help a variety of scientists who are using this tool, including medical doctors, psychologists, epidemiologists, sociologists, education experts, and computer scientists.
    Expected background: Android development, databases, some statistical or numerical analysis, ability to conduct interviews.
    Preferred background: Knowledge of scripting and d

Virtual and Augmented Reality

  • Hololens

    We aim to explore the combined possibilities of body tracking and holograms using HoloLens and Kinect. The project will develop Windows 10 Universal app that connects to a Unity application that provides body tracking using a Microsoft Kinect. The project also expands to integrate other natural user interfaces with HoloLens, such as gaze tracking and voice.
    Expected background: software engineering, augmented reality, human computer interaction, sensor, as well as windows app development.
    Supervisor: Hasan Ferdous

  • ARKit and Accessibility

    This project aims to utilize Apple’s ARKit framework and touch-screen devices to design augmented reality experiences that can be used to assist people with disabilities. The project will develop software that utilizes ARKit to build software that can visualize, on a smartphone or tablet screen, augmented data that the user may not otherwise have access too.
    Expected background: augmented reality, human computer interaction, touch-screen app development.
    Supervisor: Steven Baker

  • Virtual Reality for Archaeological Sites

    This project will work closely with the startup LithodomosVR (https://lithodomosvr.com) to improve an existing Android application that provides a Virtual Reality experience of archaeological sites. There is flexibility regarding the actual work that takes place, but some indicative ideas include:

    • Using GPS to identify the location of a person, and adapting the viewpoint of the Virtual Reality experience. This would primarily target outdoor settings.
    • Using some kind of camera tracking to identify the location of a person, and adapting the viewpoint of the Virtual Reality experience. This would primarily target indoor settings.
    • Develop code to track what users are actually doing within the Virtual Reality experience (e.g. what they are looking at, for how long), and develop a way to visualise this data.
    • Develop code to allow users to give feedback on a particular scene. For instance, a user could leave a comment regarding a particular statue within a scene.
    Expected background: Mobile development, scripting and data wrangling.
    Preferred background: Software development.
    Supervisor: Vassilis Kostakos

  • Developing virtual reality apps for youth mental health

    The student(s) will develop VR apps which will used to improve the mental health of young people. This is a software development project and is part of this funded research project: https://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/vrt4ymh/ . You will program for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and/or Samsung Gear VR hardware. This can be a group project, with different group members specializing in different aspects of production.
    Expected background : experience with Unity platform and programming in C#.
    Preferred background: 3d modelling in e.g. Blender or Maya
    Supervisor: Greg Wadley

Ageing and Technology

Supervisor: Jenny Waycott

  • Scoping review of emerging technologies in aged care

    This project aims to produce a critical analysis of the current state-of-the-art of emerging technologies that are being used to enrich the lives of the oldest old (those aged over 80). Technologies like virtual reality, social robots, and gesture-based gaming are now being used in a range of aged care settings to provide social and emotional enrichment for older adults. In order to inform further development in this space, it is important to map current uses and collate existing evidence about the effectiveness of these interventions. This project will involve conducting a systematic literature review of scholarly research in this area. It would suit a 25-point MIS project.
    Expected background: strong writing skills, interest in the topic, and ability to critically review and synthesise academic literature.

  • Virtual reality in aged care

    This project aims to identify current uses, benefits, and challenges of virtual reality as diversional therapy in aged care. There are now several vendors offering virtual reality experiences especially designed for people with dementia or people in advanced old age. However, there is limited scholarly research examining the opportunities and challenges associated with deploying virtual reality in residential aged care settings. This research will involve conducting surveys and interviews with aged care staff to determine how virtual reality is currently being used and to identify any ethical or social challenges that might prohibit its effectiveness in this sensitive setting. It would suit a 50-point MIS project
    Expected background: strong writing skills, interest in the topic, knowledge of qualitative data collection and analysis methods

  • The design and use of social robots as companions for older adults

    Social robots and robotic pets (e.g., Paro the seal) are now being used to provide companionship for people in advanced old age. This project aims to examine whether robotic companions can foster security and emotional wellbeing among older adults and investigates the ethical and social challenges associated with this emerging technology. The project could involve a systematic review to identify scholarly research on the ethical issues associated with deploying robotic companions; surveys or interviews with care providers; or an observational study of the robotic companion in use (subject to approval from the university’s ethics committee). It would suit a 50-point MIS project.
    Expected background: strong writing skills, interest in the topic, knowledge of qualitative data collection and analysis methods

  • Smart flooring for preventing falls

    Preventing falls is a significant challenge and concern in contemporary aged care. In the 75+ age group, more Australians died from falls in 2011 than deaths from car accidents across all ages. Falls are linked to changed behaviours such as fear of falling, activity restriction, anxiety and depression, loss of independence and social isolation. While there are many sensor-based monitoring devices that detect falls and alert emergency service providers in the event of a fall, emerging technologies are now being developed that aim to prevent falls. For instance, smart flooring sensors can record mobility patterns and detect gait changes that can indicate a risk of falling. This research will examine how smart flooring is being used, and how aged care staff make sense of the data collected through smart flooring sensors. The project will involve surveys and interviews with aged care staff and possibly analysis of sensor data. It would suit a 50-point MIS or MIT project.
    Expected background: strong writing skills, interest in the topic, knowledge of qualitative data collection and analysis methods, knowledge of quantitative data analysis methods