Academic research relating
to tech and beyond.


Seniors and Mindfulness-Based VR Experiences

Impacts on Quality of Life

Master's Thesis


Virtual reality technology has recently received much acclaim for therapeutic effects due to its highly immersive nature. Perhaps the demographic that could most benefit from VR is the rapidly growing population of senior citizens. As the potential of virtual reality continues to unfold, it is clear that both the ancient practice of mindfulness and the new VR technology can significantly improve physical, mental, and social well-being.

How might these two powerful conditions benefit older adults who reside in assisted living centers? The results showed senior participants experienced high levels of presence and enjoyment when using VR. Furthermore, seniors reported significant increases in overall life satisfaction, health, social relationships, independence, and emotional well-being after only three weeks of VR mediation sessions.

Did You Say Buttonless?

Exploring Alternative Modes of Sensory Engagement for Augmented Reality
Storytelling Experiences

Published and presented at HCII 2020

Concept of augmented reality technology being used in mobile pho

Augmented Reality designers and content creators continue to explore ways to engage audiences. However, studies have yet to focus on how different modes of interaction affect understanding and immersion in AR environments. To address this, a simulation and focus group was conducted to elicit feedback about five different modes of interaction: sound, touch, haptic feedback, presence, and gesture. Results identified four themes, with gesture interaction garnering more appeal and immersion than alternatives. Accessibility and self-consciousness in public settings were illuminated during the simulation, highlighting barriers for some modes of interaction.

App to Tabletop

A Physical Digital Game Hybrid

Poster - Presented at the Make, Play, Learn Conference 2020


To strengthen connections across generations of Ball State University's alumni and students, a team of graduate students in the Center for Emerging Media Design & Development (EMDD) designed a location-based mobile game. The game, titled That's BS, encourages players to explore campus and unlock community-driven stories. The showcased stories are told in the wacky style of alumni David Letterman's humor through videos, audio files, and animation. The goal is to engage and create place attachment among students, alumni, and community members. Players are encouraged to walk around campus unlocking stories about campus life throughout the decades. Players are prompted at each hotspot location to choose from multiple experiences and test their trivia knowledge. As players advance, access is opened to the second That's BS component - a touch-screen tabletop experience. The bridge between digital and physical gameplay is discussed.

Common Milkweed

An Alternative Cellulose Fiber Source for Making Paper with Strength and Moisture Resistance

Published and presented at TAGA 2019 and GCEA 2019

Macro photo of swamp milkweed seed pod

Sustainability in paper manufacturing is a timely topic of interest, and public support is evident. If we reduce the consumption of paper products, we will save more trees, and paper manufacturers are looking for fiber alternatives. A somewhat unrelated concern is the dramatic decrease in the population of Monarch butterflies due to the decimation of common milkweed plants. In specific locations, populations of monarch butterflies have decreased by over 80%. Could both problems be solved with the same solution? This study explores common milkweed as a commercially viable plant material for paper and packaging production and provides evidence of its merits.