zach toups, ph.d.
assistant professor, computer science
@ new mexico state university
My active website at NMSU is http://www.cs.nmsu.edu/~ztoups
Digital game play is the human-computer interface in its purest form;
people play games in order to experience interfaces. My
research develops gameplay through which participants practice
real-life skills, with an emphasis on disaster-response contexts and
team coordination. My work incorporates ethnographic approaches to
understanding existing practice; zero-fidelity simulations that
capture abstract, human-centered aspects of practice; mixed reality
computing that engages players in human-human, human-environment, and
human-computer interaction; and mobile, collaborative technologies
that support sensemaking in disaster.
My research thus lies in and around the intersection of
human-computer interaction, games, mixed reality, and disaster
response. Further research interests include serious gaming, game
mechanic design, sensor-driven interfaces, team coordination,
ethnographic approaches, and signal processing. My dissertation and
ongoing research project involves working on the Team Coordination Game (TeC).
TeC iteratively develops zero-fidelity, non-mimetic simulation
mixed reality game designs for studying and enhancing the team
coordination capabilities of emergency responders. An ethnographic
study with the Brayton Fire Training Facility informs the
designs. Game user studies with fire emergency response students
evaluate its effectiveness for teaching team coordination. A
component of TeC research develops an ergonomic wearable computing
platform with head-mounted display, orientation and location sensors,
and radio communication.
I have previously done research and engineering at the Texas A&M Center for Applied
Technology working on information dashboard interfaces, and the TEEX
/ TEES Crisis Response Innovative Technologies Lab (at the Disaster
Ops Training Center), where I worked in disaster sensemaking. I
maintain a research relationship with my advisor, Andruid
Kerne, at the Interface
Ecology Lab. I previously interned at the Yahoo! Research Internet
Experiences Group with Elizabeth
Churchill and Ayman
Shamma investigating the use of mobile devices in shopping.
publications, presentations, and exhibitions:
Toups, Z. O., Kerne, A., Hamilton, W. A.
The Team Coordination Game: A zero-fidelity simulation abstracted from fire emergency response work practice
ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (ToCHI) 18
, 4, 2011, 37 pages, [DOI:10.1145/2063231.2063237
Toups, Z. O., Hamilton, W. A., Kerne, A.
Zero-fidelity simulation: Engaging team coordination without physical, functional, or psychological re-creation
accepted to Proc. MODSIM World 2011
Toups, Z.O., Kerne, A., Hamilton, W. A., Shahzad, N.
Zero-Fidelity Simulation of Fire Emergency Response: Improving Team Coordination Learning
Proc ACM SIGCHI 2011
Vancouver, BC, Canada, 7–12 May 2011, 1959–1968, [DOI:10.1145/1978942.1979226
Toups, Z. O., Kerne, A., Hamilton, W.
Game Design Principles for Engaging Cooperative Play: Core Mechanics and Interfaces for Non-Mimetic Simulation of Fire Emergency Response
Proc ACM SIGGRAPH Games 2009
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, August 3–7, 2009, 71–78, [DOI:10.1145/1581073.1581085
Toups, Z. O., Kerne, A., Hamilton, W., Blevins, A.
Emergent Team Coordination: From Fire Emergency Response Practice to a Non-Mimetic Simulation Game
Proc ACM Group 2009
Sanibel Island, Florida, USA, May 10–13, 2009, 341–350, [DOI:10.1145/1531674.1531725
Hamilton, W., Toups, Z. O., Kerne, A.
Synchronized Communication and Coordinated Views: Qualitative Data Discovery for Team Game User Studies
Ext Abs ACM Computer Human Interaction 2009
Boston, Massachusetts, USA, April 4–9, 2009, 4573–4578, [DOI:10.1145/1520340.1520702
Toups, Z. O., Kerne, A., Hamilton, W.
Motivating Play through Score
ACM Computer Human Interaction 2009 Workshop on Engagement by Design
Boston, Massachusetts, USA, April 4–9, 2009.
Kerne, A., Toups, Z.O., Dworaczyk, B., Khandelwal, M.
A Concise XML Binding Framework Facilitates Practical Object-Oriented Document Engineering
Proceedings of ACM Symposium on Document Engineering
Sao Paulo, Brazil, 16–19 September 2008, 62–65.
Toups, Z. O., Graeber, R., Kerne, A., Tassinary, L., Berry, S.,
Overby, K., Johnson, M.,
Design for Using Physiological Signals to Affect Team Game Play
Augmented Cognition International
, Oct 2006: San Francisco.
Toups, Z., Overby, K., Kerne, A., Graeber, R., Cooper, T.,
, ACM SIGCHI Intl Conf on Advances in
Computer Entertainment, June 2006, Hollywood.
Alley, E. Cooper, T., Graeber, R., Kerne, A., Overby, K.,
Chair: Exploring Censorship and Social Presence through
Proc ACM Multimedia 2005
Toups, Z. O., Kerne, A., Caruso, D., Devoy, E., Graeber, R.,
Signals: A location aware game for studying the social effects of
Proc Ubicomp Extended Abstracts
, Sept 2005: Tokyo.