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Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Next deadline - November 24, 2021

The Berkeley Center for New Media is pleased to announce two undergraduate research fellowships are open for application for Spring 2022! Selected students will have the opportunity to work closely with new media graduate students on dissertation-level research. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $1,000.

If you are interested in multiple projects, please submit separate applications for each project.

Applications are now open. Applications are due on November 24, 2021. Apply here.

Projects for Undergraduate Research Assistance 2022

Ambisonics

This project examines the research and development leading to the creation of “Ambisonics,” the so-called “three-dimensional” sound format that provides the technical basis for the immersive soundtracks of contemporary video games, Virtual Reality, and IMAX cinema. This digital format uses algorithmic processes to arrange auditory information around a virtual space, creating a complex soundscape through an exponential increase in channels and loudspeakers. Ambisonics was originally developed by an international group of acoustic scientists in the 1970s. The project examines how these researchers worked across the burgeoning fields of information theory, psychoacoustics, and multichannel sound technology to create new representations of acoustic space. In conversation with new media and disability studies, it explores how this sound technology creates a new experience of auditory immersion in the digital age, as well as a normative understanding of the hearing body.

An undergraduate researcher would be of great assistance through primary research online, looking into the literature on the development, application, and early public reception of Ambisonics. This would involve finding discourse on Ambisonics and immersive sound in the technical documents of patents, trade literature, and the popular press. An undergraduate researcher would assist in finding these primary documents, skimming them for relevant information, and offering their own expertise in interpreting how the authors are discussing technology, hearing, and space.

Immersive Virtual Environments and Patient-Centered Design in the Pediatric Healthcare Built Environment

Innovating the pediatric space to improve the patient experience involves an understanding of multiple factors that influence the patient experience – including spatial and environmental design of the physical environment – to accommodate operational and user-specific needs, that in turn adapt to the affordances of the space. With the significant impact of built environment design on patient experience and health outcomes, more research is required in pediatric research through partnerships between children’s hospitals, healthcare planners and architects. This study examines the feasibility of innovative technology such as virtual reality as a tool for collaboration using a mixed-methods study design among a study population of hospitalized children admitted as inpatients at a Children’s Hospital. The mixed methods study explores perceptions of hospitalized children from the spatial and environmental design of the patient room in pediatric healthcare facilities. The study design includes methods such as surveys, art based methods, interviews, and an experimental design using virtual reality and biometrics on spatial and environmental design.

The research is ongoing and the focus in Spring 2022 will be on data analysis of surveys, interviews, and pilot study in VR. It will also include planning and setting up of the experimental study in VR based on the pilot study findings.

Fellows will work on:

1. Data analysis of surveys and interviews conducted in Fall 2021: R for the statistical analysis of the surveys and MaxQDA for the qualitative data analysis from the interviews.
2. Data analysis of pilot experimental study in VR: The pilot study includes data in VR from eye tracking and fEMG (stress/emotion) and qualitative data from interviews conducted with the pediatric population. The pilot is planned for completion by the end of 2021 with preliminary findings targeted in early Spring 2022.
3. Setting up of the full-fledged experimental study in the healthcare setting.
4. The mixed methods research includes different research methods and analysis, and an innovative study on feasibility of a technology with the pediatric population for application in healthcare settings.

Skills:
1. Knowledge and experience with R for survey data analysis.
2. C# for coding in Unity for the immersive virtual experiments using virtual reality.
3. Assisting with the setting up of the experimental study using VR for the larger study that involves use of fEMG and eye tracking etc.
4. Interest in data analysis/virtual reality/biometrics/psychology/working with children.
5. Knowledge in Unity will be great but not required or mandatory.

Previous Undergraduate Research Fellows and Projects

2021 funded candidates and projects here!

2020 funded candidates and projects here!

2019 funded candidates and projects here!

2018 funded candidates and projects here!

2017 funded candidates and projects here!