Software engineer Dr Shamus Smith is an expert in virtual environments and human-computer interaction.
Smith's interdisciplinary research involves exploring how advanced interactive technologies are applied to real-world problems. His current research interests include touch-based technologies (e.g. multi-touch tables and haptic devices), the reuse of gaming technology (e.g. for hazardous environment simulation and healthcare applications) and technology enhanced learning.
Smith joined the University of Newcastle in 2013. Before moving to Newcastle, he was a Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences at Durham University (UK). As well as his role as Senior Lecturer in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Smith is a co-leader of the newly established Global eHealth Research and Innovation Cluster. The aim of the Cluster is to facilitate collaboration between innovators from the fields of health and medical sciences, engineering, design, communication, information technology, education, mathematics, business, humanities, physical, environmental and social sciences.
Smith's recent work has focused on the use of virtual environments for training in hazardous environments, including simulations for medical procedures and fire evacuation drills. One of Smith's studies reused gaming technology to create a virtual environment to simulate fire evacuee behaviours and evacuation scenarios in 3D virtual buildings. Using a virtual environment can provide dynamic experiences over a wide variety of scenario-based environments, which has implications for future training and support for those in the front line of hazardous situations.
Smith's interdisciplinary research involves collaborating with colleagues across the university, industry and internationally. Current projects include work with Professor Graham Brewer and his team from the School of Architecture and Built Environment. It explores whether gaming technology can provide robust and usable virtual environments with data extracted from Building Information Modelling (BIM). BIM is a process used to generate and manage digital representations of the physical and functional characteristics of a building, which can be a time consuming process for interactive virtual environments.
With Dr Erica Southgate from the School of Education, and The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education, Smith is using gamification to explore m-learning to support literacy. The project aims to develop a prototype app for mobile devices (smart phones/tablets) to improve the literacy of enabling and undergraduate students. Also with Professor Clare Collins from the School of Health Sciences, and colleagues at the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Smith is helping to develop new technologies to enable 3D scanning of body shapes to estimate body composition and classify disease risk.
With nearly $3 million in funding from 13 grants and more than 50 publications to his name, Smith currently leads the Advanced Software Interfaces Group at the University. He teaches undergraduate software engineering subjects and supervises undergraduate research projects and PhD students.