Summer 2022 Research with Haripriya Sathyanarayanan

15 Aug, 2022

Summer 2022 Research with Haripriya Sathyanarayanan

We're so pleased to be able to support our graduate students in their summer research! Read more about Haripriya Sathyanarayanan's work on Spatial Perception of the Pediatric Built Environment and Patient-Centric Design!

The BCNM Summer Research Grant was timely and supported my research this summer in different ways. I was able to get much needed student research assistance for my experimental studies and materials for the human subjects studies.

Background: My mixed-methods interdisciplinary research focuses on spatial and environmental design in the pediatric inpatient room, using a collaborative design process and immersive technology for patient participation and engagement. The research involves children, parents with hospitalization experience to hear their voice and perceptions on patient room design and how it can better support their healing and restoration when hospitalized. I have been working on 2 studies using virtual reality, eye tracking (VR) and biosensors – experimental design studies at the XRLab Berkeley. The studies include a photo-elicitation study in VR and a fully immersive experience in VR of healthcare spaces, specifically pediatric patient rooms.

Summer 2022 was initially planned for completing the setup of the experiments, pilot testing, recruitment and getting started with data collection of the two studies at the XRLab Berkeley. There were a lot of challenges with the setup of the VR experience for my studies as it involved integration of the sensors and scripts in Unity for the VR experience and surveys. I decided to focus on Study 1, and it is now ready for pilot testing. There has been some work for Study 2 with the immersive environments being ready - it will use a very similar experience as study 1. The spike in Covid-19 in the Bay Area played a part in delaying the pilot tests for study one in VR and I look forward to conducting them at the start of the Fall semester. Recruitment and data collection is planned for early Fall starting with students at the campus followed by the children and parents to address recruitment challenges during the pandemic and safety of the vulnerable population. I was also able to work on my writing. With the recent acceptance of a paper, I spent some time working on the final draft of the paper and the outline of another paper on a qualitative study conducted earlier.

Grant: The BCNM summer research grant helped support research assistance through the hiring of an undergraduate student Xiaowen Yuan at the start of summer. The student will continue to work on the project during the Fall semester and I am enjoying the mentoring opportunity. I was able to purchase cleaning-disinfectant materials for the human subjects studies, including masks and gloves for the researchers. I have been able to set up a protocol at the lab to clean and disinfect the VR headsets and controllers before and after each use. I plan to purchase a clean UV box to sterilize the VR headset after each use using the remaining funds. I was also able to dedicate some time to my writing.

Despite the shifting plans the past two years due to COVID-19 impacting my research to a great extent, I am very grateful to BCNM for this grant and all the support I have received from them to date, and for seeing academic merit in my research. This grant in particular has made research assistance and procurement of materials for the experimental studies possible this summer. And I am on track to begin data collection soon and look forward to a productive Fall.