Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Professor Mark Billinghurst

Main Campus
Mawson Lakes

Applications Close
30 Jan 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate or International Candidate

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$29,863 p.a. available to domestic and international applicants

About this project

Harness haptics to improve the expression of emotions in virtual realities

If you are seeking to advance your career in virtual reality and interested in developing innovations around emotion expression in augmented/virtual reality, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering an innovative project-based PhD within our Australian Centre for Interactive Virtual Environments.

This project explores how haptics can be used to convey emotional states between people in collaborative augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences. Previous work has explored how physiological sensors can be used to measure emotional state in AR and VR, but only simple cues have been used to convey emotion. 

In this research, vibrotactile and electrotactile devices will be combined with audio and visual cues to provide feedback relating to emotional states and create emotional connection between people in shared AR and VR experiences. This will help compensate for the impaired communication cues in these types of environments.

You will join the sophisticated Empathic Computing Laboratory (ECL) in the Australian Centre for Interactive Virtual Environments (IVE). ECL and IVE both provide access to state-of-the-art AR and VR display and input devices, such as head-mounted displays, physiological sensors, haptic gloves, and EEG and EMG sensors. ECL and IVE both have collegial and supportive research environments with staff and students who have expertise in collaborative AR and VR systems, physiological sensing and haptics.

What you’ll do

In this research degree project, you will conduct applied research and then develop prototype systems and evaluate them with user studies. You will also be involved in writing research papers and presenting your work at conferences and in academic journals.

Upon completion, you will have experience in developing AR/VR systems, haptic interfaces and  measuring emotion through physiological sensors. Your skills and abilities will give you a competitive edge in an ever-burgeoning field of employment. 

There will be an opportunity for you to travel internationally to spend time as an intern in at least one partner laboratory.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based in the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments (IVE). As a world leader in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), IVE is a unique alignment of computer science, engineering, neuroscience, art, architecture, and design.  

IVE is responding to the challenge of increased demand for AR and VR technologies globally. Our researchers are leaders in many areas of AR and VR research including wearable computing, interface design, empathic computing, 3D visualisation, perception, and telepresence.  

IVE is one of the largest concentrations of AR and VR research in Australia. Our vast experience in advanced manufacturing, Internet of Things (IoT), interactive art, and design for healthcare and defence allows us to work in collaboration with our industry partners to transform industry and solve large-scale societal challenges.

Supervisory Team
Financial Support 

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses.  Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $29,863 per annum is available to eligible applicants. Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information for domestic students or international students.

Eligibility and Selection 

This project is open to application from both domestic and international applicants.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our Mawson Lakes Campus in the north of Adelaide. Note that international students on a student visa will need to study full-time.

Essential Dates 

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer.  Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Monday, 30th January 2023.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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