Project Showcase

The following provides brief descriptions and illustrations for some of the projects and games I was involved in either as investigator or as advisor.

Recent Funded Projects

Funded projects in which I served as Principal Investigator or Co-PI, in reverse chronological order, i.e. starting with ongoing projects.


NSF Project Supporting Science and Engineering Identity Development in Immersive Interactive Technologies

Scuttlebuddy AR prototype and companion app screenshots

Screenshots of the AR prototype "Scuttlebuddy" and the Companion App.

This ongoing project is using a living lab approach to evaluate interactive immersive technologies in terms of their support for identity change in middle-school children. A combination of intelligent virtual characters and augmented reality forms the basis for interactive experiences, Virtual Living Labs, in a museum-based informal learning setting. The screenshots of the current prototype show views from the AR experience as well as the companion app used by the children's parents, respectively.

NSF Radio Wars

NSF Project SaTC: EDU: Software Defined Radio Wars for Cybersecurity and Information Assurance Education

This project aims to re-invent the way that telecommunications and networking is taught emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of cybersecurity and information assurance.


Drexel Area of Research Excellence in Gaming, Simulation and Society

This Drexel initiative is working towards an internationally recognized center for studying the Impact of Gaming, i.e. the activity of playing games, and for designing meaningful & transformative interactions with games, by bundling expertise in evaluating games for Mobile & Behavioral Health, Education, and Individual Expression.

VR Puppeteering

Expressivity in Virtual Reality Through Full-Body Interaction: A Principled Approach to Studying Personality

Expressivity In VR screenshot first-person perspective

Screenshot of the VR perspective of the user's fully-tracked virtual body.

Studying personality as it expresses itself in terms of bodily movement and the performance of full-body gestures. The project combines VR, full-body motion tracking suits, and multi-player/AI interaction.

War of the Worlds – Philadelphia

A city-wide interactive art/game experience to bring neighborhoods together, see The project uses sensors present in people’s phones in combination with custom devices to create interaction on the city-scale.

Supervision of Theses

Examples of work that resulted from master theses that I had the pleasure to supervise.

Maxwell Madonna: Perspect

How Feedback from an Emotional Game Agent Affects a Player’s Perceived Competence, Autonomy, and Intrinsic Motivation

PERSPECT is a puzzle game about spatial reasoning. Two different versions of a vocal main character, happy-complimentary vs. angry-sarcastic, were used to test the impact of emotional game agents on player motivation.

Joseph Jalbert: Exit 53

Assessing the usefulness of physiological signals for rapport in interactions with story characters in a small role-playing game

Screenshot of the game Exit 53.

Screenshot of the game Exit 53.

Jalbert J., Rank S. (2016):
Exit 53: Physiological Data for Improving Non-Player Character Interaction.
In Frank Nack, Andrew S. Gordon (eds.): Interactive Storytelling: 9th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2016, Los Angeles, CA, USA, November 15-18, 2016, Proceedings. Springer International Publishing, pp.25-36.
Jalbert J., Rank S. (2016):
Improving Interaction with Non-Player Characters Through Physiological Data.
In DiGRA/FDG 2016 Abstract Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG, Dundee Scotland. Game design track. Digital Games Research Association and Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games, ISSN 2342-9666.

Amare Birhanu

Weicheng Liu

Wenjie Wu: Gesture-Based Audio-Only Games

Immersion through gesture interaction in an audio only setting. See a visual trailer for the audio-only game here:

Wu W., Rank S. (2015):
Story Immersion in a Gesture-Based Audio-Only Game.
In Henrik Schoenau-Fog, Luis Emilio Bruni, Sandy Louchart, Sarune Baceviciute (Eds.): Interactive Storytelling: 8th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2015, Copenhagen Denmark, November 30 – December 4, 2015, Proceedings, Springer, LNCS 9445, pp. 223-234.
Wu W., Rank S. (2015):
Audio Feedback Design Principles for Hand Gestures in Audio-Only Games.
In George Kalliris, Charalampos Dimoulas (Eds.): Proceedings of the Audio Mostly 2015 on Interaction With Sound, Conference, AM'15, Thessaloniki, Greece, October 7-9, 2015, ACM New York, article no. 38.

Anna Nguyen: Training Mental Rotation with Minecraft

Nguyen A., Rank S. (2016):
Spatial Involvement in Training Mental Rotation with Minecraft.
In CHI PLAY Companion '16 Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play Companion Extended Abstracts. ACM New York NY USA, Pages 245-252.
Nguyen A., Rank S. (2016):
Studying the Impact of Spatial Involvement on Training Mental Rotation with Minecraft.
In CHI EA '16 Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 7–12, 2016, San Jose, CA, USA. ACM Press, pp.1966-1972.

Josh Kohn: You’re the Camera in VR!

Research on designing for Virtual Reality is in its infancy. We explored how transitioning between environments can be improved by directly coupling it to physical movement.

Screenshot of the VR prototype with inset view of the player.

Screenshot of the VR prototype with inset view of the player.

Kohn J., Rank S. (2016):
You’re the Camera! Physical Movements For Transitioning Between Environments in VR.
In Proceedings ACE 2016, Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, Article No. 5. Osaka, Japan, November 09 - 12, 2016 ACM.
Kohn J., Rank S. (2016):
Evaluating Physical Movement as Trigger for Transitioning Between Environments in Virtual Reality.
In CHI EA '16 Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 7–12, 2016, San Jose, CA, USA. ACM Press, pp.1973-1979.

Cathy Lu

Rank S., Lu C. (2015):
PhysSigTK: Enabling Engagement Experiments with Physiological Signals for Game Design.
In Roddy Cowie, Qiang Ji, Jianhua Tao, Jonathan Gratch, Björn Schuller (Eds.): Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII), 2015 International Conference on, 21-24 Sept. 2015, Xian China, IEEE, First International Workshop on ENgagement in HumAN Computer IntEraction (ENHANCE 2015) pp. 968-969.

Phil Lyon

James Lee

Lee J., Rank S. (2014):
Towards Realistic Female Avatar Creation.
In Timothy Bickmore, Stacy Marsella, Candace Sidner (eds.): Intelligent Virtual Agents, 14th International Conference, IVA 2014, Boston, MA, USA, August 27-29, 2014. Proceedings, Springer, LNCS 8637, pp.260-263.

Bingjie Xue

Xue B., Rank S. (2014):
Three Is a Magic Number: Virtual Cameras for Dynamic Triadic Game Dialogue.
In Alex Mitchell, Clara Fernández-Vara, David Thue (eds.): Interactive Storytelling, 7th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2014, Singapore, Singapore, November 3-6, 2014, Proceedings, Springer, LNCS 8832, pp. 216-219.
Xue B., Rank S. (2014):
Capturing Triadic Conversations – A Visual Director System for Dynamic Interactive Narratives.
In Jichen Zhu, Ian Horswill, Noah Wardrip-Fruin (eds.): Seventh workshop in the Intelligent Narrative Technologies (INT-7), Proceedings, AAAI Press.

Daniel Newman

Supervision of Student Games

Examples of games designed and developed by students under my supervision.


Day T., Gray R., Liu W., Rank S., Dean P., Chen S., Garzon J. (2016):
Torchless: Asymmetry in a Shared Screen Dungeon Crawler.
In CHI PLAY Companion '16 Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play Companion Extended Abstracts. ACM New York NY USA, Pages 47-53.


Screenshot of the game Matsya.

Screenshot of the game Matsya.

The game was selected as runner-up in the student game design competition at the international conference CHI PLAY 2015.

Baranoski J., Kleinman E., Wang Z., Tucker M., Ahnert J., Schell J., Doshi R., Rank S., Zhu J. (2015):
Matsya: A Cultural Game of Balance and Flow.
In Anna L. Cox, Paul Cairns, Regina Bernhaupt, Lennart Nacke (Eds.): Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, CHIPLAY'15, London UK, October 3-7, 2015, ACM New York, pp. 751-754.


Gygan Reign

Promotional Poster for Gygan Reign.

Promotional Poster for Gygan Reign.

The game was produced by two senior teams (CS and DIGM) advised by me and was selected to represent Drexel University at an Intel-sponsored competition at the Game Developers Conference.

Older Funded Projects

Funded projects that I worked on as a researcher.


Collective Emotions in Cyberspace


Network of Excellence on Integrating Research in Interactive Storytelling


Social Engagement with Robots and Agents

Verbally Interactive Robot developed in the SEAR project.

Verbally Interactive Robot developed in the SEAR project.

EU Collaborative Project (IST FP7 231868) in which I was responsible for the showcase work package. We developed verbally interactive robots and agents for assistive technologies.


The Human-Machine Interaction Network on Emotion

A Network of Excellence (NoE) in the EU's Sixth Framework Programme


The Computer-Supported Design of Artefacts & Spaces in Architecture and Landscape Architecture