Dr. Alissa Antle (left) and Dr. Halil Erhan (right)


SIAT's Dr. Alissa Antle and Dr. Halil Erhan awarded federal discovery grants to support their research

July 04, 2022

Two School of Interactive Arts & Technology (SIAT) professors have recently been awarded Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant funding.

Dr. Alissa Antle and Dr. Halil Erhan have each been awarded significant grants to support new and innovative research projects. NSERC Discovery Grants recognize creativity and innovation in research and support ongoing research programs with long-term goals. This recognition at the federal level speaks to the extraordinary and diverse research taking place in SIAT.

Read more about their research below:

Dr. Alissa Antle | $41,000 NSERC Discovery Grant

Changing the game: Design and evaluation of mobile and biowearable technologies to support children’s emotion regulation skills development in everyday life

In Canada alone, about one in five adults live with mental illness and half of these lifelong mental health disorders are established by the age of 14.

Emotion regulation is a fundamental life skill with long-term positive impacts on various mental health disorders, well-being, adjustment, and academic performance. Learning to regulate emotions in early childhood has lifelong advantages and involves understanding how cognitive and/or behavioral strategies can be used to modify emotional experiences. For example, this could look like redeploying attention away from a stressor or relaxing the body to modify an anxiety response.

Skills development is challenging because it requires practice of psychomotor strategies in safe emotionally evocative situations, involves internal processes that are difficult to articulate, and requires supports for individuals to transfer skills from training sessions into everyday life.

Antle’s past research has provided evidence that mobile-biowearable computing technologies offer accessible solutions to these challenges through:

  1. artificially generating emotionally evocative practice scenarios (using games, smart toys, etc.);
  2. child-specific biofeedback on internal regulation processes; and
  3. mobile delivery of personalized in-situ supports.

The goals of this research project are to identify interaction mechanisms that may result in significant gains in skills development and to develop innovative enabling technologies that instantiate these interaction mechanisms using child-centred design practices. Two different mobile-biowearable systems will be a key outcome of this research program.

Learn more about this project:

Dr. Alissa Antle

Dr. Alissa Antle is a SIAT professor whose research pushes the boundaries of computation to augment the ways we think and learn. As a designer and builder of interactive technologies, her goal is to explore the ways in which these innovations can improve, augment, and support children’s cognitive and emotional development.

Dr. Halil Erhan | $26,000 NSERC Discovery Grant

Application of Design Data Analytics in Computational Design of Built Environments

Designers explore multiple design alternatives. They begin with incomplete, imprecise, and changing design goals, and they distill complex emerging design data into meaningful and pragmatic design ideas for finding 'satisficing' solutions.

Current design systems lack support for data-informed design exploration: first, they only support a single-state model, forcing designers to work sequentially. Second, they lack features for dealing with large, diverse, dynamic volumes of design data that grow rapidly as alternatives are explored. These drawbacks are interrelated and must be addressed holistically by improved systems to better support working with alternatives.

Erhan's research addresses the need for devising new computational design tools and workflows for working with alternatives and their data. This need is more emphasized when large volumes of alternatives become an integral part of design exploration. Erhan proposes developing novel computational systems to directly support data-informed design exploration by adapting the state-of-art methods from other related disciplines such as visual analytics.

The long-term goal of this research project is to develop a methodology for working effectively with alternatives. The mid-term objectives are: (1) to develop computational methods for searching large collections of design alternatives assisted by making use of emerging design data; (2) to identify types and sources of data and explore visual data analysis tools that designers can use; (3) to develop workflows for data-informed exploration of alternatives.

Design Sense Teaser

Learn more about computational design on the SIAT Computational Design Lab's YouTube.

Dr. Halil Erhan

Dr. Halil Erhan is an associate professor of interactive systems and design at SIAT and co-director of the SIAT Computational Design Lab. His research investigates ‘design’ as a situated, cognitive, and collaborative process, and aims at improving ‘design’ by augmenting the capabilities of designers with effective and engaging tools mainly for ‘creating’ built-environments, interactive objects and systems.