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Professor Kirsten Cater - University of Bristol. Bristol, , GB

Professor Kirsten Cater Professor Kirsten Cater

Professor of Human-Computer Interaction | University of Bristol


Exploring the ethics and experiences of using highly sensory technology

Areas of Expertise (9)

Family Memories

Big Data


Augmented Reality

Immersive Technology

Virtual Reality

Sensory Technology


Elderly Living


Professor Kirsten Cater is based in the School of Computer Science where she works in the field of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and immersive technologies. Her focus is on people's experiences of using highly sensory technology and the associated ethical considerations. Professor Cater's research touches on location-based experiences, gamification, virtual reality, data collection through crowdsourcing, novel interactions with big data, and tangible user interfaces for the elderly.

One of her core projects is Tangible Memories, which aims to help improve the quality of life for residents in care homes by building a sense of community and shared experience through a cooperative exploration of their life stories. Professor Cater's research and public engagement work in primary and secondary schools, as well as community centres, has attracted significant media coverage including a BBC news feature and a documentary for South Korea.






360° Introduction to Innovation and Entrepreneurship Embedding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education



Education (2)

University of Bristol: Ph.D., Computer Science 2004

University of Bristol: B.Sc., Computer Science 2000

Media Appearances (1)

UK universities act to tackle student mental health crisis

Financial Times  online


“One honours degree is no longer enough,” said Kirsten Cater, its director. “The world is changing very fast.” At the student union, where young scholars were hunched over laptops and wearing headphones, there was shock at the suicides but disagreement on the causes, and whether Bristol itself was a factor.

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Articles (5)

Behind the Curtain of the "Ultimate Empathy Machine": On the Composition of Virtual Reality Nonfiction Experiences

Association for Computing Machinery

2019 Virtual Reality nonfiction (VRNF) is an emerging form of immersive media experience created for consumption using panoramic "Virtual Reality" headsets. VRNF promises nonfiction content producers the potential to create new ways for audiences to experience "the real"; allowing viewers to transition from passive spectators to active participants. Our current project is exploring VRNF through a series of ethnographic and experimental studies.

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Using Design Fiction to Explore the Ethics of VR ‘In the Wild’

Association for Computing Machinery

2019 In this half-day workshop, we will explore the ethics of Virtual Reality (VR) through conversations framed around design fictions. Affordable head-mounted displays (HMDs) and accessible VR content are now within reach of large audiences, yet many of VR's most urgent challenges remain under-explored.

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Trove: A Digitally Enhanced Memory Box for Looked after and Adopted Children

Association for Computing Machinery

2019 For looked after and adopted children, physical objects are often the only remaining link to their past; a portal to stories of birth families, former homes, and significant people. Yet, often these stories can be littered with traumatic events preventing them from moving forward with their lives.

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Gorilla game lab: exploring modularity, tangibility and playful engagement in cognitive enrichment design

Association for Computing Machinery

2018 Enriching the lives of animals under human care is not a new concept but the methods of doing so are rapidly evolving in zoos. Zoo-based enrichment is traditionally low-tech, often failing to maintain animals' long-term interest. Meanwhile, evaluating the intricacies of enrichment device use remains difficult. 'Cognitive' enrichment aims to challenge animals' evolved cognitive skills and ACI shows promise in revolutionizing its practice.

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Designing Games for Vision Screening: Lessons Learned from Observing Preschool Video Game Play

Association for Computing Machinery

2018 In this paper, we present the results of an evaluation of preschool children playing five commercially available mobile computer games, the results of which will inform the user-led redesign of 'Space Vision', a serious mobile game for early identification and home-monitoring of vision problems for children of preschool age (3-5 years).

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