Projects |

Projects

  • Mad Science

    A collaborative playful platform that enables players to participate in and create playable scenarios to study human behavior.

    About
    In Mad Science players are immersed into situations where they need to make a decision that involves taking an action or responding to a conversation. The platform is set within a light-hearted take on the mad scientist theme, where we conceive of a “mad scientist” as someone who is intrinsically curious and makes use of inventive and playful ways to explore human behavior. In the world of Mad Science, users join the corporation Mad Science Inc. as one their new mad scientists and are provided with science fiction scientific machinery that allows them to create any kind of scenario, from ethical dilemmas to political conflicts to goofy situations, and then study people within that social context. With a step-by-step tutorial, users become acquainted with the corporation’s proprietary scientific machinery to create social experiments. For more information, see website.

    Acknowledgments
    This project is made possible with seed funding from the College of Arts, Media & Design and Northeastern University and by funding from DARPA and NSF.

  • Geo Explorer

    A virtual playground for civil engineers that mixes virtual environments with other educational activities through a mobile app.

    About
    The game Geo Explorer aims to address the pressing need of a lack of relevant practical experience in engineering education. Facing 21st century challenges such as climate change it is critically important to engage students with challenging real-world problems to develop sense-making capabilities. This mixed reality and mobile game focuses on transforming geotechnical engineering curricula. The game connects virtual environments with other educational activities and makes students truly feel they are an engineer working for a company. For more information, see website.

    Acknowledgments
    This project is made possible with funding from the National Science Foundation.

  • Building Systems from Scratch

    An innovative curriculum where middle school students learn about climate science through building a game.

    About
    Addressing the need to educate our students with computational skills to think about alarming problems such as climate change, we seek to build an innovative curriculum where students will learn about climate science through building a game using Scratch, a visual programming environment. Through modeling and simulating climate topics in a game, students will learn the necessary computational and systems thinking skills that will help them to critically assess and understand complex problems and then seek (computational) solutions for it. The curriculum will be developed through iterative deployment with collaborating schools in Cambridge and Lowell. For more information, see website.

    Acknowledgments
    This project is made possible with funding from the National Science Foundation.

  • GrACE

    A game aimed at teaching computer science concepts to a broad audience through procedurally generated puzzles.

    About
    Computational skills are critical in today’s society and there is a need to broaden interest in learning these skills. Additionally, from our point of view too much focus is put onto learning to code and not on understanding the concepts behind computing, and the relevance of computing in society. We are developing a game called GrACE (named after Grace Hopper) to teach computer science concepts across a broad range of middle school students, and target in particularly girls who are alarmingly less interested in computing. We further explore the effectiveness of both procedural content generation and collaborative learning to teach computational thinking. For more information, see website.

    Acknowledgments
    This project is made possible with funding from the National Science Foundation.

  • Debris

    Game-based experiments to explore how humans and algorithms can work together to solve critical infrastructure problems.

    About
    Designing and managing critical resilient infrastructures is of societal relevance. It is also difficult due to the complex nature of these systems. Multiple objectives and stakeholders have to be considered, which makes optimization a tough problem. We aim to investigate if such optimization can be improved by having humans and algorithms work together in exploring the solution space, and intend to do this through game-based experiments. The context of this work is the debris collection problem, where multiple companies have to collect debris after a disaster in the shortest time possible, with equal maximized profits, and with the least number of overlapping regions in which they operate.

    Acknowledgments
    This project is made possible with seed funding from Northeastern University.

  • VistaLights

    A game to explore decision making and the use of decision aids for managing resilient supply chain systems in critical infrastructures.

    About
    Games are about making decisions and in this project the aim is to study and improve decision making in a critical infrastructure context. In the current game called VistaLights, players have to manage a port by prioritizing ships and dealing with disruptions when they occur. The game is modeled after the Port of Houston. Aspects we consider are how decisions change over time, what role decision aids have, and how decisions vary per individual. In building the game, we anticipate making variations in the same environment or creating scenarios for other kinds of infrastructures by creating a flexible scenario generator and using a basic art style.

    Acknowledgments
    This project is made possible with support from the Shillman foundation.

  • RePresent

    A game to help pro se litigants navigate the court systems and advocate for themselves in court.

    About
    Millions of people represent themselves in court because they cannot afford a lawyer or choose not to. Going to court is not what people do everyday and therefore this can be emotional experience, especially if the stakes are high. With the game RePresent we hope to complement efforts to inform self- representatives or pro se litigants preparing their case by having them experience preparing for and being in court in virtual scenarios. At the moment the game only has one scenario, a small claims case, but we intend to expand the number and types of scenarios in the future. For more information, see website.

    Acknowledgments
    This project is made possible with funding from the Legal Services Corporation.

  • Embrace.

    A social game to improve the self-management needs of women with cancer and foster empathy among friends and family.

    About
    Millions of female cancer survivors exist in the USA alone and these women experience multiple physical and psychological symptoms post-treatment. These survivors need to know how to manage their symptoms and engage in health promotion behaviors in order to avoid additional health problems and reduce risk of cancer recurrence. With Embrace we attempt to foster these positive behaviors by teaching survivors how to use cognitive tools when confronted with difficult situations and connecting them to other cancer survivors. Additionally, we believe that by having close friends and family play the game they can gain empathy with the survivor and can help in encouraging positive behavior.

    Acknowledgments
    This project is made possible with seed funding from the College of Arts, Media and Design.

  • TinySea

    A game to teach how climate change is impacting underwater ecosystems by letting you control what the ecosystem looks like in a tiny sea.

    About
    The impact that climate change has on underwater ecosystems depends on various factors. With this project we teach how varying species perform under different temperatures and how the ecosystem changes if the temperaturechanges. With TinySea we teach this by letting players gain control of an emptytiny sea where they can purchase fictional species and place them in the environment. If they cope well in the environment, they will reproduce. If not, they  may die out of heat or cold. Funds to buy new species can be earned by fishing them or if others fish them. Players further need to pay attention to making a balanced ecosystem because there is a hierarchy where the bigger species eat the smaller ones. If there is no food left, the bigger species will starve.

    Acknowledgments
    This project is made possible with seed funding from the Marine Science Center.

  • Urban Heat

    A game to explore long-term policies to make cities resilient for urban heat islands and extract feedback from players about the model and their preferences.

    About
    Due to climate change and urbanization it is to be expected that cities across the world will increasingly face the issue of urban heat islands. In order to make cities resilient towards urban heat islands it is important to start thinking about how to mitigate these effects through thoughtful urban planning and policy measures. We created a simulation game, based on a system dynamics model of how urban heat islands develop in cities, where players can explore policy strategies and see their impacts under varying conditions. Additionally, we aim to collect from feedback about the model and their preferences in order to improve the simulation game and to understand their preferences.

    Acknowledgments
    This project is made possible with seed funding from Northeastern University.

  • Levee Patroller

    A game to train inspectors how to recognize and deal with levee failures in order to prevent flooding.

    About
    Flooding has always been a risk for the Netherlands, a country where half of its population lives below sea level. In order to prevent flooding there are people called levee patrollers who inspect levees, which are artificial and natural barriers that protect the land from flooding. The problem is, how can you recognize and deal with issues that may arise with levees if these failures rarely happen? For this reason we have developed a simulation game where players have to find failures and make sense of them. If they do not find a failure or mitigate a found failure on time, then a flooding will be the result. For more information, see website.

    Acknowledgments
    This project was part of my MS thesis and PhD thesis, both supervised by Prof.mr.dr. Hans de Bruijn and Prof.dr. Igor Mayer, and supported by Deltares.