Cameron Steer, 21

Computer Scientist
Studying for a PhD in Human Computer Interaction

We all use electronic devices. Imagine how amazing it would be if they could change shape to serve us better. Well, in a way, imagining that breakthrough is my job.

In the past I have explored ways that living plant material might be used to enhance the interaction between people and computers.

I presented a paper on this in South Korea at the foremost conference on computer-human interface and shared my work with world-leading researchers.

This work then influenced my award-winning final-year undergraduate project – an interface to help people with Alzheimer’s disease play and share music.

I am now beginning to exploring the exciting concept of actuated change in material. Here in Swansea’s FIT Lab, along with colleagues in the Bioscience department, Grenoble University and BBC R&D, I am considering how this could be used to re-invent the way we interact with technology.

Think of a footprint in the sand. If new materials could be manipulated by interactions, computers could leave a kind of physical footprint to add narrative to our interactions, rooting them more naturally into lives.

If computers responded differently over time, like the changing seasons, their physical form would change depending on the messages received. Think what this could mean for the future of media and entertainment.

Studying at Swansea has enriched me as a person, given me a strong sense of independenceand allowed me the creative freedom to build a career in research. This has fuelled my determined to shape the future of human and computer interaction.

I’ve had the best time possible here and made lifelong friends along the way.