We are investigating the different ways that people experience nature with technology, and the effects on attitudes to wildlife and the environment, this will help us design future technologies to help people understand, appreciate and enjoy the natural world.
Increasing urbanisation and changing lifestyles mean people have fewer opportunities to experience and learn about the natural world. This could have negative consequences for the environment, and for the wellbeing of human populations and individuals. Digital technologies are being used in natural settings in a variety of ways, including as part of outdoor recreation, environmental education, advocacy and activism, citizen science and wildlife observation. Digital media allows people to experience nature remotely where this would otherwise be difficult. Our project explores how technology can be designed to help people re-engage with nature.
Engaging with nature through technology
We reviewed HCI literature to understand how the field has considered digital technology for engaging with nature. We identify six roles proposed for technology in nature engagement, encompassing varied forms of direct and indirect experiences of nature.
Digital Technologies for Urban Nature Sites
This PhD project is investigating the design and use of digital technologies for urban nature experiences, at sites such as parks, community gardens, environmental education centres, and botanical gardens.
Kinecting with orang-utans
In collaboration with Zoos Victoria, this project designed and studied an interactive digital system to enrich and empower the lives of orang-utans at Melbourne Zoo.
Virtual Reality and climate change communication
Using a purpose-built VR app which places the user in a dystopian future where rising sea-levels are impacting familiar urban scenes in Melbourne we investigate how immersive VR experiences can provoke discussion and engagement around climate change in the public domain.
Virtual reality for nature-based mindfulness
This study aimed to explore how VR can support mindfulness practice and to understand user experience issues that may affect the acceptability and efficacy of VR mindfulness for users in the general population.
- Greg Wadley, Senior Lecturer
- Wally Smith, Associate Professor
- Ryan Kelly, Research Fellow
- Eduardo Velloso, Senior Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction
- Simon Coghlan, Senior Research Fellow
- Wendy Cavenett, Graduate Researcher
- Mia Cobb, Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences
- Marcus Carter, Department of Media and Communications, Arts & Media, The University of Sydney
- Kathryn Williams, Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne