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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S02753X/1
Title: 4i: Immersive Interaction design for Indie developers with Interactive machine learning
Principal Investigator: Gillies, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Gibson, Ms RE Perry, Ms P Fiebrink, Dr R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Code Liberation
Department: Computing Department
Organisation: Goldsmiths College
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 02 September 2019 Ends: 01 September 2021 Value (£): 503,848
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Human-Computer Interactions
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Creative Industries Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Feb 2019 Digital Economy Investigator-led Research Projects 12 February 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This research comes at an important time in the development of virtual reality and immersive media, with a low cost, mass market devices (the Oculus Rift and HTC VIVE) being launched for the first time. The launch of the devices is being accompanied by the release of associated motion controllers, such as the VIVE controllers or Oculus Touch. The UK games industry is world leading and an important sector of the economy, with a total market value of £4.19bn in 2015 and is the largest games development industry in europe, with over 1900 video games companies. Virtual Reality is the fastest growing sector of the UK entertainment industry and is predicted to reach £1.2bn by 2022, and be the largest in Europe (all statistics from UKIE, the UK Interactive Entertainment trade body, http://ukie.org.uk/). This expansion comes at a time in which small independent developers are increasingly important in the games and media industry. These small developers have increased the diversity and creativity of the industry, particularly with more work that is influenced by fine arts and literature (though there is considerable work still be done as women and BAME people are still underrepresented in the industry. As immersive media develop it is vital that independent developers and artists are able to play an important part to ensure that the medium fulfills its potential. This means not only small developers typical of the current games industry, but also populations that are currently underrepresented.

This project aims to enable independent developers and artists to design and implement movement based interaction for immersive media such as Virtual, Augmented and Mixed reality. The design and implementation process will be immersive in the sense that designing will occur inside the immersive medium, rather than at a desktop computer or on paper, and designing and implementation will happen by moving, so that designers can have a true sense of this movement. The key to this apoach is Interactive Machine Learning (IML), where design is specified through examples of movement which are used as input to a Machine Learning algorithm, which "learns" to recognise those movements. However, this will be interactive: users will not simply gather a data and send it to the algorithm as a one off, but gradually add examples to refine and tweak the results, just as a design refines a product.

The tools will be developed collaboratively with users to ensure they meet the needs of our user groups and to understand how they perform immersive interaction design. This user research will be done, in the wild, with working developers and artists via a series of hackathons, game jams and choreographic coding labs. Since the challenges of this research are as much creative as they are technological, this method will be informed by arts practice in two ways. Firstly, we will work with developers to create interaction design workflows that centre around movement, these will be informed, and guided by the movement expertise of dance practitioners from the University of Coventry. Secondly, the short, user centred hackathons will be supplemented with a longer process of arts practice based research in which the tools will be used to create fully realised work, and the process of creation is reflected on. This practice research will be performed by Gibson/Martelli and two resident creators to be hired as part of the project.

The challenges of this project cannot be addressed simply with technology as the creation of immersive movement interaction is as much a creative as a technological problem. As such this project will be based on an close interaction between technology and artistic practice. The research will have 4 elements, the first two being technological and the second two artistic:

1) The development of immersive editing tools

2) User Centred Research

3) Movement Understanding from dance

4) Practice based arts research
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.gold.ac.uk