Dr. Mandryk receives New Researcher Award

New Researcher Award, U of S

In less than 10 years, Regan Mandryk has built a soaring reputation as a groundbreaking computer science researcher. Mandryk is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of human-computer interaction, and particularly in the area known as affective computing: developing systems that can read and interpret human emotions.

A breakthrough affective computing model built by Mandryk laid the foundation for tools and research now in use at major software companies such as Electronic Arts and Valve. These companies use the model to test video game and software prototypes, observing directly how much fun or frustration their users are experiencing. Future video games based on this approach might adapt in real-time to the user’s emotional responses.

Mandryk is also a leader in the “serious games movement,” which applies video games to address real-world issues. She has built methods to help children with neurological disorders regulate their emotions or perform therapeutic exercise through games, and has pioneered the design of exercise games that help elderly people and people in wheelchairs become active.

Mandryk’s achievements have been widely acknowledged by her international colleagues. She has received best paper awards at three of the top conferences in her field; has been invited to give keynote addresses at two international game research conferences; and in 2014 was among the first researchers inducted into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.