Janet Gibbs

Janet Gibbs

Sensory Substitution for Gamers – novel ways to engage with video games

Janet is exploring the possibilities of interfacing ‘sensory substitution and augmentation’ (SSA) to computer games. Substitution is seen as assistive technology for sensory impaired users, for example offering visual experience to blind users. Augmentation can induce perceptual experience outside our normal spectrum, such as directional and proximity sensing. Both offer new ways of engaging with the user’s spatial environment. Interfacing them to digital games, we‘d expect to do the same for a virtual game world, but this is yet to be confirmed. Will SSA be effective in a virtual environment, and are such unfamiliar perceptual skills easily learned? What physical devices would be both comfortable and satisfying in use, and can we design innovative game experiences to take advantage of them? In a combination of empirical and theoretical work, Janet aims to identify and develop novel gaming interfaces to bring fresh challenges to players.

Janet is working towards her PhD in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence, building on earlier studies for her MSc in Cognitive Computing at Goldsmiths. Her work brings together cognitive science and philosophy of mind with games computing and HCI, to seek new ways of engaging with computer and VR games. Janet enjoys pushing the boundaries of technology. Her earlier career has encompassed the introduction of word processing and automated publishing to an international legal publishers and their typesetters. She also contributed to the building of a ground-breaking legal database, designed for the then new technologies of CD-ROM and online services.

Home institution: Goldsmiths

Supervisors: Dr Marco Gillies, Dr Adrian Clark

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