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Themes: Assistive & Accessible Technology

From MSc Disability, Design & Innovation to a PHD in social biofeedback for virtual environments

Katherine Wang


Hi, I’m Katherine! I was part of the first cohort of the Disability, Design and Innovation MSc programme. Since graduating, I have gone on to pursue a PhD with Youngjun Cho at the UCL Interaction Centre where I study how social biofeedback can be used in virtual environments to support social connectedness.

During the MSc programme, I developed an interest in extended reality (augmented reality and virtual reality) and how it can be used to support a diverse range of users. Before joining the Disability, Design and Innovation MSc, I had done a BSc in business psychology and previously worked in luxury fashion management before switching career paths.

With the Research Methods and Making Skills module, I was able to hone the critical analysis skills I picked up during my psychology undergraduate and learned about key methodologies and important techniques to study disability innovation. With the he Future Global Technology for Disability Design and the Disability Interaction modules, I learned about participatory design and how to conduct research to solve issues with inclusive design to make the world a fairer place.

While the Applied Business and Marketing Strategy for Disability Developments module at the London College of Fashion was closely aligned with my background in fashion, it provided insight into how I could use the knowledge gained from experience in an inclusive design context. The Design Thinking and Collaborative Unit at Loughborough gave me the opportunity to apply skills from my design management background and psychology education in inclusive design research.

For my dissertation, I conducted a systematic review – an overview of a selection of academic literature to answer a research question. My review examined how extended reality (augmented reality and virtual reality) can be used to support differences in attention autistic people may experience compared to neurotypical people. This was my first time experiencing a systematic review and I received tremendous support from my dissertation supervisors. On top of that, I gained confidence in critically reviewing literature, identifying gaps in current studies, and understanding how make suggestions for further research – critical skills for a PhD student. This experience further confirmed my desire to pursue a research career.

My systematic review “Attention-Based Spplications in Extended Reality to Support Autism was recently published as a journal article on IEEE Access.

Applications are open until the end of April 2022 for prospective students wishing to join the Disability, Design and Innovation MSc in September 2022. Find out more and apply now.