Portrait of Dr Alexandra Covaci

Dr Alexandra Covaci

Lecturer in Digital Arts and Technology

About

I am a researcher in the field of virtual reality, currently Lecturer in Digital Arts and Technology at the University of Kent. My research interests are centred around the transformative power of virtual reality from training to social scenarios. 

My research activities lie at the confluence of virtual reality, multisensory media, human computer interaction and psychology. Specific topics of interest include:

  • Understanding what makes virtual reality work and how we can use it for changing the self
  • Creating a systematic understanding of multisensory experiences for interactive technologies
  • Perceptual media quality
  • Collaborative virtual environments for data visualisation and manipulation

My approach is driven by a mix of human factor studies and creativity.

Research interests

My main research area is in on the interface between computer science and neuroscience, where I design and develop environments focused on skills training (from sport abilities to applications meant to help people with cognitive disabilities in performing different tasks). Recently, I started to look into what happens when we go beyond audio-visual interfaces. In this context, I became interested in the design of meaningful multisensory experiences by exploiting different combinations of sensory modalities. I particularly enjoy working with systems that encompass visual, auditory, haptic and olfactory feedback.  

Teaching

Undergraduate – Introduction to Virtual Reality EL681

This undergraduate module is meant to introduce students to the main principles and technologies behind virtual reality. Students will learn to produce interactive experiences in virtual environments using mobile and desktop virtual reality headsets.

Supervision

I am interested in working with bright and motivated students in a variety of areas:

  • Social scenarios in virtual reality
  • Interactive environments
  • Interaction and perception in augmented reality
  • Human computer interaction
  • Virtual reality for visualisations in of complex concepts (e.g., architecture, pharmacology) 
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