Science and Engineering

Computer human interaction



Our discipline is comprised of researchers in human-machine interfaces, games research, participatory design and software engineering (e-science).

We research and design innovative software systems and technologies, with a focus on understanding how they are used by particular communities. We do this with a view to developing new forms of socio-technical systems.


We have a prominent role in teaching across a number of the degree programs, including:

  • interaction design
  • participatory design
  • big data
  • e-science (environmental monitoring)
  • ICT4D
  • digital games and player experience.


The Category 1 funded research projects we are currently leading are:

New information access technologies for people with intellectual disability

Project leader
Professor Margot Brereton
Project summary

This project aims to co-design a social, interactive and visual internet search interface for people with intellectual disability. Enabling choice and independence is key to the new National Disability Insurance Scheme, but people with intellectual disability are effectively excluded from much of the web.

This project will investigate ways to access and provide information using technologies such as interactive avatars, virtual worlds and trusted social support. Expected outcomes are new search interface technology, a theoretical framework and new web accessibility guidelines.

Human Internet of Things: enabling people to connect through their things

Project leader
Professor Margot Brereton
Project summary

The 'Internet of Things' promises a future in which everyday things are all connected to the internet enabling them to share data and communicate with one another. The vision is technology-centric and things cannot be built by end users.

This project aims to research how the 'Internet of Things' can be democratised: designed and built by everyone young and old, of different cultures and remote, with a domain focus on enabling social engagement and connectedness. People are expected to be able to connect through familiar objects such as their tables and kettles, and build interfaces themselves with intuitive building blocks. Anticipated project outcomes include new toolkits, new creative practices, a theoretical model and example networks of things connecting people in new ways.

Bio-acoustic observatory: engaging birdwatchers to monitor biodiversity by collaboratively collecting and analysing big audio data

Project leader
Professor Paul Roe
Project summary

This project will research how to crowd-source the collection and analysis of environmental animal sounds (for example, birds, frogs). This will enable a bio-acoustic observatory which provides a scalable, objective and permanent record of the environment, something hitherto impossible. The project will investigate how to engage the community of birdwatchers to extend their pastime online with new kinds of interactive tools to enable collaborative analysis of big audio data, and new kinds of birding experiences.

Outcomes will be: new approaches to physical/virtual engagement in human-computer interaction; new approaches to analysing big data; a new validated ecological monitoring technique and concepts for sustainable knowledge generation communities.

Interdisciplinary and inter-institution projects

Some of the projects we are contributing to with other disciplines and institutions are:

  • Visual analytics for next generation sequencing, 2014-2017

Student topics

Are you looking to further your career by pursuing study at a higher and more detailed level? We are currently looking for students to research with us. Contact our staff to find out more about research opportunities, or take a look at our school's available student topics.


School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  • Level 12, S Block, Room 1221
    Gardens Point

  • Postal address:
    School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
    GPO Box 2434
    Brisbane QLD 4001