EuroHaptics 2016

Many thanks to the organisers and attendees at EuroHaptics 2016. I had a great time at all the workshops and thoroughly enjoyed presenting to the delegates of the Musical haptics: use and relevance of haptic feedback in musical practice workshop. A few pictures from the day can be seen here and my presentation abstract can be seen below.

Quantifying The Effects of Haptic Feedback on DMI Functionality, Usability, and User Experience.
Interactions with acoustic musical instruments require musicians to be fully aware of how the instrument is reacting to their gestures in real-time. This is achieved by the musician’s awareness of instrument feedback. Arguably, the most important aspect of acoustic instrument feedback is delivered in the form of auditory responses and haptic feedback. In many virtual or digital instruments, this closed feedback loop is not present. Therefore, musicians are forced to rely on fewer of their senses to gauge the effect of their interaction upon the device they are using. In haptically enabled DMIs this is no longer an issue as feedback can be simulated via the inclusion of specific actuators and transducers in the device design process. With the separation of these elements, we are now able to explore the individual effects of each haptic element upon a user’s perception of functionality, usability, and the overall user’s experience. To achieve this, it has been observed that conventional HCI techniques can be applied in DMI analysis. However, these techniques are themselves restrictive in their application to creative endeavours. In this workshop, questions will be raised relating to the different analysis techniques that can be applied in a device analysis along with the possibility of quantifying the various aspects of devices that are used to create music with. It is hoped that through the discussion of device evaluation techniques applied in other areas of digital technology, validated evaluation practices for haptic DMI devices may be formulated and a formal measure of effects of haptic feedback in this area can be achieved.

Gareth Young
University College Cork, Ireland


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Games User Research: A Case Study Approach

Are you interested in computer games and learning more about how research is applied in real-world usability testing?

You can now purchase “Games User Research: A Case Study Approach” from CRC Press! Please check out our contribution in Chapter 7 (Usability Testing of Video Game Controllers: A Case Study, G. W. Young, A. Kehoe, and D. Murphy).


This chapter presents an investigation that compares the performance of game controllers in two-dimensional pointing tasks as defined in the international standard that specifies the requirements for non-keyboard input devices, ISO 9241-9. In addition, we discuss the evaluation of usability and user experience with these devices during game-play. We compared performance measurements for controllers while varying the user’s exposure to the different feedback elements contained within each controller device. We assessed the performance of the controllers according to the ISO 9241-9 evaluation recommendations. The devices used in the study included a Logitech mouse and keyboard, a Logitech Bluetooth Touchpad and keyboard, a Sony Playstation DualShock 4 controller, and Valve’s first-generation Steam controller. Besides performance testing, we measured user experiences with the controllers while playing a popular first-person video game. Participants were asked to complete game levels for each type of controller and answer questions outlining their experience.

Here’s a run down of what else to expect in the book…


  • Provides case studies on intermediate to advanced usability testing of video games on various platforms
  • Describes pragmatic techniques, implementation guidelines, and case discussions on how to improve the usability and user experience of video games
  • Focuses on multidisciplinary approaches to usability testing of video games, covering points of view and supporting information from areas such as interaction design, human/computer interaction, cognitive science, and others
  • Shows proven and effective usability methodologies and techniques for evaluating video game interfaces


“Fundamentally, making games is designing with others, everyone contributing from different angles towards the best possible product. Conclusively, Garcia-Ruiz has chosen a collection of chapters that demonstrates several different aspects of working in gaming and working with others that stands to raise the level of expertise in the field.”
—Veronica Zammitto, Senior Lead Games User Research, Electronic Arts, Inc., from the Foreword

Usability is about making a product easy to use while meeting the requirements of target users. Applied to video games, this means making the game accessible and enjoyable to the player. Video games with high usability are generally played efficiently and frequently while enjoying higher sales volumes.

The case studies in this book present the latest interdisciplinary research and applications of games user research in determining and developing usability to improve the video game user experience at the human–computer interface level. Some of the areas examined include practical and ethical concerns in conducting usability testing with children, audio experiences in games, tangible and graphical game interfaces, controller testing, and business models in mobile gaming.

Games User Research: A Case Study Approach provides a highly useful resource for researchers, practitioners, lecturers, and students in developing and applying methods for testing player usability as well as for conducting games user research. It gives the necessary theoretical and practical background for designing and conducting a test for usability with an eye toward modifying software interfaces to improve human–computer interaction between the player and the game.


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New Recording from Paul O’Donnell

Very pleased to have worked with Paul O’Donnell and Tadgh Kelleher at the Western Gateway Building Studio UCC last year. The CDs and digital copies will be available very soon, watch this space!

Paul O’Donnell’s Jazz World Ensemble (a sample of what’s on the new album).

Paul O’Donnell – Keyboard/Acoustic Piano
Niwel Tsumbu – Guitars
Eamonn Cagney – Percussion
Peter Erdie – Bass
Shane O’Donovan – Drums

Nick Roth – Soprano/Alto Sax
Claudia Schwab – Violin

All compositions by Paul O’Donnell
Engineered, mixed, and edited by Tadgh Kelleher and Gareth Young at the Western Gateway Building, UCC, November 2014 and February 2015.

Mastered by Tadgh Kelleher.
Produced by Paul O’Donnell.
Executive Producers: Tadgh Kelleher, Gareth Young, and Paul O’Donnell.
Graphic Design by Brian O’Shaughnessy.

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Picteilín 2016

I will be presenting at the Picteilín Creative Media Conference at DkIT on the 22nd of January. Look for “Usability Testing of Game Controllers” in Stream C if you are attending.

Picteilín 2016 Creative Media and Game Studies Conference.

Narrative, Interactivity, and Emergent Digital Practices.

January 22nd, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dublin Rd., Louth.

Venue: P1081 & 1139 & 1135 in the PJ Carroll Building.


Picteilin Website

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DRHA 2015 Abstracts Launch

Abstracts for DRHA 2015 can now be viewed!

For U – Modified, check out pages 48-49 in the Installations and Performances section or click here.

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Why come to DRHA Dublin 2015?

I am pleased to announce that “U – Modified” (an audiovisual collaboration with Siobhan Mannion & Sara Wentworth) will be included in this year’s DRHA conference in Dublin on Wednesday, 2nd September 2015.

You can catch U – Modified in the The Hub DCU Student Centre between 14:00 and 16:00. The original 10 minute found sounds and extended vocal techniques composition has been further refined and expanded to include visualisations reflective of the themes that were developed for the live performance at the INTIME symposium in 2014.

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Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research Concert Highlights and Proceedings

The proceedings for CMMR that took place in Plymouth, UK on the 16-19 June 2015 are now available to read here.

Check out:
HCI Models for Digital Musical Instruments: Methodologies for Rigorous Testing of Digital Musical Instruments (p. 534)
Digital Musical Instrument Analysis: The Haptic Bowl (p.591)

There is also a brief video with highlights from the concert performances.

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Sound and Music Computing Conference.

My paper “Vibrotactile Discrimination of Pure and Complex Waveforms.” will be included in the 12th Sound and Music Computing Conference hosted in Maynooth, Ireland. I look forward to seeing all of the delegates there and hearing what the keynotes have to say about their fields of study.

Here’s the abstract for my paper!


Here we present experimental results that investigate the application of vibrotactile stimulus of pure and complex waveforms. Our experiment measured a subject’s ability to discriminate between pure and complex waveforms based upon vibrotactile stimulus alone. Subjective same/different awareness was captured for paired combinations of sine, saw, and square waveforms at a fixed fundamental frequency of 160 Hz (f0). Each arrangement was presented non-sequentially via a gloved vibrotactile device. Audio and bone conduction stimulus were removed via headphone and tactile noise masking respectively. The results from our experiments indicate that humans possess the ability to distinguish between different waveforms via vibrotactile stimulation when presented asynchronously at f0 and that this form of interaction may be developed further to advance digital musical instrument (DMI) extra-auditory interactions in computer music.

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The 11th International Symposium on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research (CMMR). Music, Mind, and Embodiment .

My thanks to the CMMR committee and all of the people who made the event a success.

Checkout the program here and look out for my two new papers on the Work page.

G. W. Young and D. Murphy, “HCI Models for Digital Musical Instruments: Methodologies for Rigorous Testing of Digital Musical Instruments,” in the 11th Int. Symp. on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research, Plymouth, UK, 2015.

G. W. Young and D. Murphy, “Digital Musical Instrument Analysis: The Haptic Bowl,” in the 11th Int. Symp. on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research, Plymouth, UK, 2015.


SMC 2015 at Maynooth coming next.

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IDEAS Meeting, June 2015

I will be presenting at the next IDEAS meeting at UCC on the 12th June, 2015.

See you there…

G. W. Young, “Vibrotactile Feedback in Digital Musical Instrument Design,” at the IDEAS Group meeting, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, June 12, 2015.


Digital Musical Instruments (DMIs) present musicians with performance issues that are unique to the genre of computer music. One of the most significant deviations from conventional acoustic instruments is the level of physical feedback returned via DMIs to users. Currently, computer interfaces for musical expression are not enabled to be as physically communicative as acoustic instruments. Specifically, DMIs lack the ability to impart important performance information relating to the current state of the device to the user. In my research, it is argued that the level of haptic feedback presented can significantly affect the user’s overall rating of a DMI. In this session we will discuss my research findings to date and explore HCI inspired device evaluation methodologies that can potentially be applied in a musical contexts.

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