I'm an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and the Coordinator of the Game Design minor program at Elon University. Prior to joining Elon, I worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University. I'm currently working in the Games User Research domain to explore the insights of the player experience in games. I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Genoa, Italy. During my Ph.D. research phase, I investigated the impact of Serious Games in the automotive sector, and I was also associated with an Industrial European Union (EU–FP7) project on safe and collaborative Transportation. I earned my Master's Degree in Artificial Intelligence from Heriot-Watt University, U.K., where my research and analyses focused on Human-Robot Interaction. My research interests include artificial intelligence, serious games, human-computer interaction, brain-computer interface, game user research, immersive technologies, and user interface design.

Profile

Pratheep profile picture

Ph.D., in Science and Technology for Electronic and Telecommunications Engineering

University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

Research Focus and Specialization:  Serious Games and Gamification Methods

    I received my Ph.D. in Science and Technology for Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering (STIET) from the University of Genoa, Italy. My Ph.D. thesis was titled - "The Design and Implementation of Serious Games for Driving and Mobility." 

 

     My research activities during the Ph.D. phase were centered on the improvisation of vehicle driver behavior using social Serious Games and Gamification methodologies. I was associated with an Industrial European Union research project (EU-FP7) -  TEAM (Tomorrow's Elastic Adaptive Mobility). The project's goal was to exploit mobile devices to improve transportation safety and reduce the fatalities in European Union. I proposed using serious games to motivate and induce green and safe driving behaviors in road users. In this project, our research team at the University of Genoa (ELIOS Lab) collaborated with various research institutions (VTT, Finland; Objective, Germany; ICCS, Greece) in Europe for the integration and deployment of the modules that I developed in the context of TEAM project. I also participated in several plug-in and field tests that were carried out in Genoa - Italy, ASTA (All Service Test Area) Zero - Sweden and CRF (Center for Research FIAT) - Italy.

Ph.D title defense

Picture from my Ph.D. title defense at the University of Genoa, Italy

M.S. in Artificial Intelligence

Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Research Focus and Specialization:  Human-Robot Interaction and Behavioural Models

   I completed my M.S. in Artificial Intelligence at Heriot-Watt University, U.K.

For the master's dissertation project, I was involved in the development of a Human-Robot Interaction system using the NAO Torso Humanoid robot. The theme of this project was to incorporate a multimodal interaction(speech and vision) system in the robot and facilitate the robot to handle interaction with two human participants. I developed two prototypes in this research, the former one was equipped with speech recognition and face detection modules and the latter one was just equipped with a speech recognition module. The final aim was to compare these two systems with test users to understand the impact of multiple inputs for a humanoid robot. For this research project, I was awarded the "Best Poster prize for the most innovative project in MSc Cohort" by the Mathematical and Computer Sciences(MACS) department at the Heriot-Watt University.

Innovative project award

Received the Best Poster prize from Abelon Systems Limited, Edinburgh, U.K. for my research project in Masters

Thesis discussion

Thesis review session at Heriot-Watt University - I was explaining my project and its outcomes to the review committee 

Postdoctoral Researcher, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 

     In my Post-doc research, I worked on Games User Research (GUR) domain to explore the player experience in games. I developed a prototype framework called "ARAPID - As Rapid As Possible Iterative Design", for game designers. In this framework, I utilized the potential of online crowdsourcing, Unity framework tools,  and AWS modules to increase the iteration speed involved in the game development pipleline. I targetted to tightly couple the testing and development phases so that the game designers will have absolute control of the user testing phase directly from the development workstation. As the existing iterative design requires a massive duration (several days to weeks) to perform usability studies and to derive conclusions. Having these setbacks in consideration, I introduced rapid user testing to the existing iterative development process and thus redefining the cycle as "Rapid Iterative" Design. The process of launching the user tests, extracting the results, and making decisions on the design modifications would just take a couple of minutes in the case of Rapid Iterative approach(ARAPID). 

Screen Shot 2022-05-25 at 17.27.46.png

ARAPID - Analytics module integrated in Unity game Engine

Visiting Scientist, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 

     I served as a Visiting Scientist in the College of Computer Science department from January 2018 - March 2018. During this term, I worked on a research project on Game Analytics and Player Behavior estimation. For estimating the player behavior and understanding the gameplay patterns, I developed a 2D platformer game("Cyborg - 2D") using the Unity game development engine. In addition to this, I Incorporated the backend services to Cyborg -2D using AWS (Dynamo DB, S3). Additionally, I incorporated the SDKs of Amazon Mechanical Turk in Unity and accessed the online crowdsourcing module directly from the Unity interface, and initiated the control of the user tests. Through this module, I had a base prototype for testing and gathering player analytics within Unity. 

Robotics Engineer, Lema Labs Technologies, IIT Madras Research Park

     As a robotics engineer at Lema Labs, I was predominantly associated with teaching and development activities. My main job role comprised of the following activities:

    

  • Deliver lectures to students from various engineering institutions

  • Monitor student progress and assist them in building autonomous robots right from scratch

  • Support the development team with R&D of new robots and test the prototypes

  • Content creation and formulation of problem statements for the courses

  • Manage the hiring process of new employees and screen the candidates for the interviews

  • Train the new employees in technical aspects concerning the teaching and development activities