Seminar: Playing at Planning and Collaboration: Designing Support for Disaster Responders Using Games

Event Date: 
Mon, 2018-02-19 10:00 - 11:15

Location:  310 Kelly Hall
Speaker: Zachary O. Toups

In this talk, I outline my primary line of research that aims to support training disaster responders and building information technologies for them with an emphasis on learning from games to design systems. I start from multiple participant observations of disaster response training: fire emergency response; urban search and rescue; and incident command. I connect these observations with analysis of game designs to formulate design principles that support collaboration and planning. Using the principles, I discuss three systems that we developed: the Team Coordination Game, a wearable interface to the mixed reality Icehouse Challenge, and the Team Collaborative Planning Game. I conclude by discussing a developing research agenda that synthesizes game designs, develops practical wearable interfaces, and tests those interfaces through games played in physical reality

Zachary O. Toups has been an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at New Mexico State University since August 2013, where his research areas include intersections of collaboration support, game design, wearable computers, and disaster response. His current projects explore how game players gather and share information in-game; how games can teach disaster planning activities; how wearables can support human-human and human-drone collaboration; and how games can be used to design and test wearable computer interfaces. He asserts that digital game play is the human-computer interface in its purest form: people play games in order to experience interfaces.
In his present position, Prof. Toups has brought in over 1 million USD in research funding from the US National Science Foundation and Army Research Lab, including an NSF CAREER award. He directs the Play and Interactive Experiences for Learning (PIxL) Lab, which supports five Ph.D. students and a number of M.S. students. He is the Co-Chair for the ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Human-Computer Interaction and Play (CHI PLAY) for 2016 and 2017, and has served in a number of roles for CHI PLAY, the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, and other conferences. Prof. Toups received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Texas A&M University in 2010 and his B.A. of Computer Science from Southwestern University in 2003. In between his Ph.D. and appointment at NMSU, he researched information technology to support disaster responders at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service with the Texas Task Force 1 elite urban search and rescue group.