We are very excited to announce that HIT Lab NZ Postdoc Dr Sungchul Jung has just been awarded a two-year, $200,000 SfTI Seed Programme grant, as part of the NZ National Science Challenge. Details are below. Well done Sungchul! We look forward to seeing how this excellent work unfolds.

Effective telediagnostic platform for rich communication exchange in sensitive situations

This project aims to develop an immersive telediagnostic platform to safely provide rich information exchange in complex and sensitive dyadic communication situations, for example, between a psychiatrist and a patient with a mental disorder, a prisoner in jail and a lawyer, or a patient in quarantine and family members. The information provider (e.g., patient or prisoner) will wear a virtual reality headset and interact with a real counsellor (e.g., doctor or lawyer) in virtual space as if meeting in the real world in real time. Using physiological measuring devices, and tracking devices for body and eye movement, the counsellor in a separate room will receive rich behavioural and physiological data through a monitor for effective consultation during the conversation. The funding will be used to support a PhD student in exploring this exciting and impactful area of research, leading hopefully to better experiences for New Zealanders in these situations.