Seed Money Projects

Awarded Seed Money Proposals 2015

I make you smile: Using facial expression to detect and tackle depression

We will combine facial detection software with an automated therapeutic strategy to detect depression and improve mood. The results and insights gained from the pilot project will provide the necessary proof-of-concept for further development of the methodology into an extended serious game that will serve as a self-empowering tool for depression.

Prof. Claudi Bockting, Department of Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology; Dr. Ronald Poppe, Department of Information and Computing Sciences; Dr. Alishia Williams, Department of Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology

Unexpected interactions: Predictability in non-verbal communication in relation to agency and responsibility 

When do we feel responsible for another’s emotions? In the present research we will use the virtual tool Communicate! (Jeuring et al., 2015) to investigate whether individuals feel less responsible for another’s emotional state after perceiving unexpected non-verbal feedback.

Dr. Tom G. E. Damen, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology; Prof. Dr. Johan Jeuring, Department of Information and Computing Sciences; Drs. Richta Ijntema, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology; Drs. Michiel Hulsbergen, Face your emotions b.v.; UU guest-researcher Dr. Dennis Hofman, Psychologische Functieleer

The preservation of digital games as Dutch cultural heritage  

The research project sets up the first unified effort between game research, cultural heritage institutions and the Dutch game industry to define, preserve, archive and exhibit the history of Dutch digital games and game development. Beeld en Geluid, the institute dedicated to the preservation of Dutch audiovisual heritage, forms the key partner.…

Dr. René Glas, Department of Media & Culture Studies; Jasper van Vught, Department of Media & Culture Studies

Bridging the gap between game design and policy-making: Analytical game design and participatory scenario development

The project explores (participatory) scenario planning as a still understudied context for serious games and analytical game design as a method to inform the creation and application of scenario planning games. For that purpose, a sample game will be iteratively modified as well as extended through digital augmentations.

Dr. Stefan Werning, Department of Media and Culture Studies 

Autonomous gaze animation for socially interactive virtual humans during multi-party interactions

Interactions with virtual humans so far focused on one-to-one interactions and multi-party interactions involving several participants remains as a challenge. In this project, our goal is to develop autonomous gaze behavior for virtual characters during multiparty interactions. The results of the project will be used in negotiation and social skills training scenarios for serious games. 

Assist. Prof. Zerrin Yumak, Department of Information and Computing Sciences; Prof. Arjan Egges, Department of Information and Computing Sciences. Collaborators: Manasa Kandula, Dr. Dennis Hofman, Prof. Chris Dijkerman, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Utrecht University

You place it!

We enhance a web-based urban planning game You Place it! with a language component. Its setting is Dharavi, one of the largest low-income areas in Mumbai. The augmentation creates an innovative conceptual framework to investigate (through language analysis) whether certain spatial configurations (physical vs. digital) can support consensus finding better than others.

Dr. Paola Monachesi, Department of Languages, Literature and Communication; Dr.Joske Houtkamp, Department of Information and Computing Sciences; Dr. Fabiano Dalpiaz, Department of Information and Computing Sciences

How software ecosystem dynamics work in serious gaming ecosystems? Challenges and opportunities

While blockbuster entertainment games enjoy a software ecosystem with well-established character and platform libraries, and scalable markets, the serious games domain suffers from a lack of investments in these libraries and from a lack of scalable applications/markets. In this study we strive to answer the following research question: “how do ecosystem dynamics work in serious gaming software ecosystems?” In particular, we analyze incentives of firms to invest in large amounts to establish a vibrant serious games software ecosystem where collaborating firms from different specializations (game developers, platform and character library providers, publishers) work together to provide a high-quality product to the end user.

Dr. Bilgehan Uzunca, Utrecht University School of Economics; Dr. R.L. (Slinger) Jansen, Department of Information and Computing Sciences; Prof. Sjaak Brinkkemper, Department of Information and Computing Sciences

Exploring the possibilities of intergenerational digital game design

This explorative study aims to shed light on intergenerational digital game design patterns. The question is how intergenerational gaming between older and younger individuals (e.g. grandparents and grandchildren) can be designed and used to promote their mental, physical and social wellbeing/bonding. Output: a literature review and a research protocol.

Prof. Eugène Loos, Utrecht University School of Governance;  Monique Simons, PhD, Geosciences, Research program Healthy Urban Living; Teresa de la Hera,PhD, Department of Media and Culture Studies.

Virtual shopping for realistic assessment of cognitive function- virtual reality in rehabilitation

Pen-and-paper tests are widely used to assess cognitive impairment, while being largely insensitive to predict impairment in complex and dynamic environments of daily living. Seed money was applied for to support our feasibility study on virtual reality in rehabilitation. With the granted application, adjustments can be made in our virtual supermarket, navigation and eye-tracking can be implemented, and data handling can be supported.   Nieuwsbrief

Dr. Tanja Nijboer, Department of Experimental Psychology; Prof. Dr. Anne Visser-Meily, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine; Floor Verheul, Rehabilitation Physician (i.o.) De Hoogstraat Revalidatie; Dr. Hans Bouwknegt, Atoms2Bits/Atlantis

The playful city: A people-centric perspective of the smart city

This seed money proposal seeks to expand the research volume by supporting the writing of a larger proposal about “the playful city”. The Playful City is a project that investigates how games and play can be used to foster a smarter civic engagement for specific complex urban issues, and how can we design gaming tools to accomplish this. The project seeks to connect research and development in the up to now largely separate sectors of smart city policy and design, and game research and design. It combines the most recent insights from these fields into a new agenda for smart city making through games and play, which will strengthen interdisciplinary collaborations, and increase academic impact.

Assist.Prof. Michiel de Lange, Department of Media and Culture Studies; Prof. Albert Meijer, Utrecht School of Governance; Dr. Joske Houtkamp, Department of Information and Computing Sciences