The Exertion Games Lab (exertiongameslab.org) in Melbourne, Australia, is seeking exceptional PhD and Post-Doc candidates to research novel interfaces around digital play.
The Exertion Games Lab is looking for candidates who value an interdisciplinary design studio environment. You will be highly motivated, willing to learn a variety of skills, extremely creative as well as technical, and also have highly developed analytical and communicative skills. Prior research experience (publications, etc.) is desirable and so are hardware prototyping abilities (Arduino, etc.) and programming skills. We are looking at potential for creativity, excellence and drive.
We are mostly interested in the following topics:
* Digital aquatic play: The candidate will prototype three digital water play systems and examine users’ aquatic body-environment interactions to derive an understanding of digital technology’s opportunities to facilitate novel bodily water play interactions in-water, on-water and underwater. An interest and experience with water-based activities, interactive technology, hardware prototyping (including actuators), human movement/performance and aquatic culture (including diving) is desirable. This work is in collaboration with Dr. Sarah Jane Pell (sarahjanepell.com).
* Interactive muscle memory (motor memory): The candidate will prototype interactive muscle memory systems and study their use in order to understand what designers can learn from remembering activities that involve the active human body in regard to designing interactive systems. This project will utilize the Exertion Games Lab’s Qualisys motion capture system and the electronic muscle stimulation system (amongst others). The candidate will engage with prototyping equipment to invent a series of future playful muscle memory experiences and study the associated user experiences. This work is in collaboration with Elise van Den Hoven (elisevandenhoven.com). See also our dedicated post about this on our website.
* Human-Computer Integration: The rise of technology that supports a partnership between user and computer highlights an opportunity for a new era of “human-computer integration”, contrasting the previously dominant paradigm of computers functioning as tools. This project focuses on embodied integration, where a computer tightly integrates with the person’s body. This project draws on a recent Dagstuhl Seminar (https://www.dagstuhl.de/en/program/calendar/semhp/?semnr=18322) that brought together leading experts from industry and academia, including those who are central to the development of products and ideas such as wearables, on-body robotics, and exertion systems. The goal is to address key questions around the design of embodied integration and to jump-start new approaches for a human-computer integration future.
* Interactive eating: This project explores the role of technology in facilitating playful eating experiences, developing a novel understanding of how interactive technology can – and should – be designed to promote positive eating experiences. The candidate will engage with prototyping equipment (laser-cutters, carvers, 3D food printers, …) around food to invent a series of future playful eating experiences and study the associated user experiences. The result will be generative research as well as a thesis in the field of interaction design, contributing to our understanding of experiencing the human body as play.
* Playing with flying pixels (quadcopters). With drones getting smaller and smaller, we regard them as physical pixels that can be placed anywhere in space, allowing us to experience digital content in the physical world in novel playful ways. These projects will utilize the lab’s Qualisys motion capture system and Crazyflie mini quadcopters. A passion for robotics including hard- and software design for quadcopters and motion capture is desirable.
* Interactive rock-climbing. The candidate will engage with a dedicated bouldering wall in our lab, together with AR, biosensors, etc. and study the associated “humility” experiences. The result will be a thesis in the field of interaction design, contributing to our understanding of experiencing the human body as play. Climbing experience desirable.
Entry requirements for PhD candidates:
You will need to have a four-year degree that includes a thesis or a three-year Bachelor and a Master’s degree by research, for exact details see the link below. Typical backgrounds are interaction design, human-computer interaction, game design, computer science, industrial design, electrical engineering, human movement/performance, sports science, performing and media arts but we are curious to hear what you can contribute.
All positions are full-time, 3 years, available to all nationalities, onsite, and by thesis, i.e. conclude with a thesis in the field of interaction design/HCI supervised by CHI 2020 general co-chair Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller. Applicants will first email an expression of interest, then apply to the general university admissions office.
Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller. Scholarships are available according to the standard Australian Postgraduate Award rate of approx. AUD 28,000 per year. The Exertion Games Lab hosts weekly presentation, writing and reading group activities to support the candidate. We are also offering a large space to research and design in an open plan lab environment.
Applicants will first email an expression of interest, then apply to the general university admissions office. This two-step process ensures that we are able to endorse your application.
The Post-Docs (Research Fellows) positions are paid on Academic Level B ($AU 97,203 – $115,429 pa, plus 17% employer superannuation).
The Exertion Games Lab researches the future of interfaces for playful experiences. Our research is focused on the merging of play, technology and the active human
body, drawing from research streams such as interaction design, human-
computer interaction and computer games research. We publish mostly at CHI, CHI PLAY, DIS, TEI, Ubicomp (IMWUT), and UIST.
The culture in the Exertion Games Lab is one of interdisciplinary
work. At the Exertion Games Lab, we do not just philosophize and write
about the future, we actively invent it. We emphasize the development
of working prototypes in order to fully understand what play is, why
we play, and how we will play in the future. We do this because we
believe playing is a fundamental part of what makes us
humans who we are, and an understanding of this brings us closer to
our vision of a better world filled with interactive technologies that
support human values.
You might find it useful to read about the lab’s vision: Mueller, F., Byrne, R., Andres, J., Patibanda, R. Experiencing the Body as Play. Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’18). ACM. Talk video. Best Paper Award (top 1%).
PhD entry requirements: https://www.monash.edu/graduate-research/faqs-and-resources/content/chapter-two/2-1
PhD information: https://www.monash.edu/it/our-research/graduate-research/how-to-apply
The Computer-Human Interaction and Creativity (CHIC) group at Monash (which was in the top 20 institutions at CHI’19, with a similar result to be expected at CHI’20 with 21 conditionally accepted papers): https://www.monash.edu/it/our-research/strengths/chic
Please submit your expression of interest, including CV and portfolio website if available by email to info at exertiongameslab dot org, with subject line “APPLICATION”.
We are looking forward to reading your applications!
The Exertion Games Lab