Tara Collingwoode-Williams

Tara is a PhD student from Goldsmiths University taking her Mphil/PhD in Intelligent Games/Game intelligence with a focus on Avatar Embodiment and Interaction within Virtual Reality. Before this she graduated with a Bsc in Creative Computing. Over the years, her interdisciplinary profile has enabled her to work as a Technical Support and Researcher with many organisations in relation to her research, such as UCL, Great Ormond Street Hospital, George Mason Serious Games Institute in the United States where she also co-lectured a XR Games Module and, more recently as an Associate Lecturer in Goldsmiths University teaching Unity based XR experience development. Currently, she is contracting for USTech as an Assistant UX researcher at Facebook whilst completing her PhD program.

With this rise in demand for Head Mounted Displays (HMDs), so is the need to create Embodied Shared Virtual Environments (ESVE) where users may experience authentic social interactions.  Tara’s research presents an exploratory examination of Embodiment - meaning the subjective feeling of owning a virtual representation in VR, and specifically Consistency in Embodiment  - relating to how we prioritize and syncronise objective attributes of embodiment (i.e avatar representation) in order to create ESVEs which supports more intuitive social interaction.  The goal is to understand how different technical setups could have a psychological impact on participants' experiences in ESVE. This research hopes to inform development of successful social interaction in a variety of applications in VR, ranging from training to gaming.