Student’s first class research focuses on people and technology

A talented student whose final year project was focused on helping people with Alzheimer’s disease, is now to continue his studies into how technology can be best used to benefit people.

Cameron SteerTwenty one year old Cameron Steer from Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, has graduated with a First Class Bachelor of Science with Honours in Computer Science from Swansea University’s College of Science at a Degree and Award Congregation held in the City and County of Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall today (Friday 24 July). Cameron, who attended Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School and Cross Keys College, was supported by his proud parents and younger brother at the ceremony.

It was during his third year at Swansea that Cameron designed a novel musical interface for people living with Alzheimer's disease which won a prize for best project in the year and was featured as part of the departmental Open Day. Cameron said of the project: “People living with symptoms of dementia suffer with memory, language and orientation difficulties, which makes it difficult for them to engage in modern forms of technology and take part in inclusive interactions. I built a prototype interface named Shared Symphonies introduced new innovative ways of thinking about technologies which encourages people living with dementia to share in group interactions through enjoyable shared musical experiences.”

Cameron has also been involved in other projects that focus on human plant interaction, exploring how living material can be used to develop new and innovative human computer interaction mediums. The work resulted in a work-in-progress paper being presented in CHI, which is the world’s premier conference on human computer interaction, held in South Korea in April. His work in this area also inspired a hackathon event in Cambridge, on the theme of sustainability and interaction with plants.

Cameron said: “The conference was an amazing experience. Not only did I get the opportunity to visit Seoul, South Korea but I also networked with world leading researchers from all over the world and I was able to share both my work and gained insight to research of others.”

He has been involved in many extra curricular activities including winning the Computer Science Maker Competition in his second year, and also picked up first prize at the BBC News Hack in Cardiff, which focused on developing new ways of interacting with BBC news content by developing a location based news sharing app. 

Cameron intends to continue with his academic research into Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and has recently been awarded fully funded PhD position and will be working at the University’s Future Interactions Technologies (FIT) Laboratory, which works to explore and apply advanced computer science to make interaction technologies dependable, enjoyable and effective.

Cameron said: “I feel that studying at Swansea has given me a strong sense of independence and self directed skills. It has empowered my sense of creative freedom which has helped me to find my passions and career path in the field of research. For the next three years I will be conducting research into new mediums of interacting with technology and researching how we perceive and interact them. After my PhD I hope to continue a career in research and fuel my curious mind and passion for finding things out.”

Dr Jennifer Pearson of the Computer Science department said: ‘Cameron has excelled in Computer Science in Swansea, both in terms of his studies and his involvement in many substantial extracurricular activities. He has adapted very well to the research environment of the department during his summer internship last year and has made some great friends and connections during his time here. There is no doubt that Cameron has been an asset to the department during his undergraduate studies and we are looking forward to welcoming him into the FIT Lab as a PhD student in September.”