Co-design to develop fresh ideas
University of Auckland, School of Computer Science
Mar 25 | 4 minutes read
Development of new discoveries and inventions are driven by collaborative efforts of business and universities. Together they are actively carrying out co-design initiatives as the desire to develop novel solutions to solve real-world problems grows.
An earthquake simulation game that saves lives, analysing the breath of movie goers to ‘detect’ fear, and reviewing consent in healthcare are just some of the many intriguing co-design projects in progress between the University of Auckland and industry.
The University of Auckland is exemplary in applying co-design methods, and through working with industries and businesses, researchers at the university have developed new inventive methods to solve real-world problems.
Virtual reality (VR) set to save lives when tragedy strikes
Researchers led by Ph.D. candidate Zhenan Feng at the University of Auckland have developed an earthquake simulation game that could save lives during disasters.
The virtual reality (VR) game plunges the player into real-world simulated environments when an earthquake strikes allowing the player to select decisions that would ultimately teach them the best evacuation process.
The simulation was developed as an interesting and interactive alternative to traditional safety posters and videos, which the team hoped would make retaining the information easier for children.
The game was designed with an understanding that actions that would increase a person’s chance of surviving needed to be so deeply ingrained that it could be carried out as a reflex.
Feng said that the concept for the game is highly adaptable and could be applied to any emergency, from fire evacuations to terrorist threats.
The simulation is currently being commercialised by CAS Ltd (Compliance Audit Systems), a company that developed the ACABIM system to automate code compliance checking for building plans submitted to councils across New Zealand.
New techniques to detect phishing attacks
Researchers at the University of Auckland developed a novel technique that allows a semi-supervised mechanism, Pelican to detect new phishing attacks.
This research and development project received funding from InternetNZ, and was led by Dr. Yun Sing Koh, Senior Lecturer at the School of Computer Science at the university.
This idea was developed to solve real-world problems where regular phishing systems fail to work well in a real-time context, fail to respond to newly emerging phishing attacks, do not work in a real-world environment due to class imbalance, and also fail to address phishing threats in populations with a small amount of phishing.
Empowering technology with the power of human interaction
University of Auckland’s resident expert in human-computer interaction has conducted studies to investigate how humans interact with their mobile devices to gain an in-depth understanding of what happens at the precise moment of contact between humans and machines.
Dr. Danielle Lottridge from the university’s School of Computer Science’s and her team’s research draws on the fields of human-computer interaction and human factors engineering to better understand humans today and to also design better technologies of tomorrow.
Dr. Lottridge has collaborated with major business players such as Google and Yahoo and participated in Silicon Valley projects to advance new technologies across various sectors.
Harnessing the power of data for healthcare-related industries
Senior lecturer at the University of Auckland’s School of Computer Science, Dr. Muhammad Rizwan Asghar is part of a team involved in a research project that aims to review privacy and consent management in healthcare.
The project was carried out by reviewing legal and regulatory requirements in several countries including New Zealand which found a clear absence of systems that allow for the collection of, and access to, some of the new data with potential for use in health.
To solve this issue, Dr Asghar’s research suggests that what is required is “dynamic consent”. Dynamic consent would enable patients to freely approve or withdraw their consent for the use of any identifiable data and always remain informed about why and how their data is being used.
The outcome of Dr Asghar’s research is set to recommend changes and enhancements required to better prepare for the onslaught of data in the currently evolving data-driven healthcare area to offer patients personalised care, and better data privacy.
Studying organic contaminants and the ‘smell of fear’
Joerg Wicker, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland’s School of Computer Science researched and developed a system, enviPath which is used to study and record organic environmental contaminants such as pesticides in soil.
Wicker also studied the physiological response of humans to emotional events or stimuli by measuring the levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) exhaled by humans in response to stimuli. This finding opens a whole new area for data of research across sectors.
What real world problem does your industry face and what co-design solution could research offer?
If you would like to be a part of co-design projects, please get in touch by visiting Computer Science research to explore your company’s new ideas.