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Creators/Authors contains: "Toups, Zachary O."

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  1. Search and rescue (SAR), performed to locate and save victims in disaster and other scenarios, primarily involves collaborative sensemaking and planning. To become a SAR responder, students learn to search within and navigate the environment, make sense of situations, and collaboratively plan operations. In this study, we synthesize data from four sources: (1) semi-structured interviews with experienced SAR professionals; (2) online surveys of SAR professionals; (3) analysis of documentation and artifacts from SAR operations on the 2017 hurricanes Harvey and Maria; and (4) first-person experience undertaking SAR training. Drawing on activity theory, we develop an understanding of current SAR sensemaking and planning activities, which help explore unforeseen factors that are relevant to the design of training systems. We derive initial design implications for systems that teach SAR responders to deal with mapping in the outdoors, collecting data, sharing information, and collaboratively planning activities. 
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  2. Collaborative mixed reality games enable shared social experiences, in which players interact with the physical and virtual game environment, and with other players in real-time. Recent advances in technology open a range of opportunities for designing new and innovative collaborative mixed reality games, but also raise questions around design, technical requirements, immersion, safety, and player experience. This workshop seeks to bring together researchers, designers, practitioners, and players to identify the most pressing challenges that need to be addressed in the next decade, discuss opportunities to overcome these challenges, and highlight lessons learned from past designs of such games. Participants will present their ideas, assemble and discuss a collection of related papers, outline a unifying research agenda, and engage in an outdoor game ideation and prototyping session. We anticipate that the CSCW community can contribute to designing the next generation of collaborative mixed reality games and technologies and to support the growth of research and development in this exciting and emerging area. 
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  3. In multiplayer games, players need to coordinate action to succeed. This paper investigates the effect of cognitive styles on performance of dyads engaged in collaborative gaming activities. 24 individuals took part in a mixed methods user-study; they were classified as field dependent (FD) or independent (FI) based on a cognitive style elicitation instrument. Three groups of teams were formed, based on the cognitive style of each team member: FD-FD, FD-FI, FI-FI. We examined performance in terms of game completion time, cognitive load, and player experience. The analysis revealed that FD-FI cognitive style had an effect on the performance and the mental load. We expect the findings to provide useful insight for practitioners and researchers on improving team collaboration in different contexts, such as learning, eSports, and disaster response. 
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  4. Wearable computers are poised to impact disaster response, so there is a need to determine the best interfaces to support situation awareness, decision support, and communication. We present a disaster response wearable design created for a mixed reality live-action role playing design competition, the Icehouse Challenge. The challenge, an independent event in which the authors were competitors, offers a simulation game environment in which teams compete to test wearable designs. In this game, players move through a simulated disaster space that requires team coordination and physical exertion to mitigate virtual hazards and stabilize virtual victims. Our design was grounded in disaster response and team coordination practice. We present our design process to develop wearable computer interfaces that integrate physiological and virtual environmental sensor data and display actionable information through a head-mounted display. We reflect on our observations from the live game, discuss challenges, opportunities, and design implications for future disaster response wearables to support collaboration. 
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  5. In distributed multiplayer games, it can be difficult to communicate strategic information for planning game moves and player interactions. Often, players spend extra time communicating, reducing their engagement in the game. Visual annotations in game maps and in the gameworld can address this problem and result in more efficient player communication. We studied the impact of real-time feedback on planning annotations, specifically two different annotation types, in a custom-built, third-person, multiplayer game and analyzed their effects on player performance, experience, workload, and annotation use. We found that annotations helped engage players in collaborative planning, which reduced frustration, and shortened goal completion times. Based on these findings, we discuss how annotating in virtual game spaces enables collaborative planning and improves team performance. 
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  6. A primary component of disaster response is training. These educational exercises provide responders with the knowledge and skills needed to be prepared when disasters happen. However, traditional training methods, such as high-fidelity simulations (e.g., real-life drills) and classroom courses, may fall short of providing effective and cost-efficient training that is needed for today‚Äôs challenges. Advances in technology open a wide range of opportunities for training using computer-mediated simulations and exercises. These exercises include the use of mixed reality games and wearable computers. Existing studies report on the usefulness of these technologies for training purposes. This review paper synthesizes prior research and development of disaster response simulations and identifies challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned. Through this review, we provide researchers and designers with an overview of current practices in designing training simulations and contribute practical insights into the design of future disaster response training. 
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  7. The proliferation of unmanned aerial systems (i.e., drones) can provide great value to the future of search and rescue. However, with the increase adoption of such systems, issues around hybrid human-drone team coordination and planning will arise. To address these early challenges, we provide insights into the development of testbeds in the form of mixed reality games with simulated drones. This research presents an architecture to address challenges and opportunities in using drones for search and rescue. On this architecture, we develop a mixed reality game in which human players engage with the physical world and with gameplay that is purely virtual. We expect the architecture to be useful to a range of researchers an practitioners, forming the basis for investigating and training within this unique, new domain. 
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