Fall 2019 Thesis Defense

Home / Fall 2019 Thesis Defense

As the semester end has almost come to an end, for this semester we have two lab members who are defending their thesis Xiangxu Lin and Nathan Kanyok. The following are their more details regarding their defenses.


Xiangxu Lin

Novel Mental Health Management and Therapy Through Virtual Reality
  Friday, November 1, 2019
Time:  12:30
Place:  213 MSB

Committee Members:
Jong-Hoon Kim, Advisor
Gokarna Sharma
Ye Zhao


Every human is subject to the challenges associated with mental health. Just as in physical health, we must monitor and properly assess our mental health in order to lead prosperous and productive lives. Two of the most important aspects of mental health issues are stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety will impact all of us differently, but we each must deal with them. If left ignored, they can manifest in mental health disorders or other health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

Traditional methods of mental health consist of therapy, medication, and exposure. Access to these resources is not equal across society. With virtual reality devices becoming more accessible to people, we can utilize this new medium to help mitigate mental health problems.

This thesis proposes two different Virtual Reality systems with the aim of anxiety and stress reduction. The Novel Space Virtual Tour places users within a new real-world environment and allows them to explore it in order to reduce anxiety associated with navigating a new place. Virtual Harmony is a system inspired by music therapy, which allows a user to play different virtual instruments in a 3D virtual world with real-world panoramic video background scenes. Virtual Harmony shows promise to reduce stress and the Novel Space Virtual Tour builds the confidence of a user, lowering anxiety. These two systems show that virtual reality can be used as an effective medium for managing the mental health of users.


Nathan Kanyok

Situational Awareness Monitoring for Humans-in-the-Loop of Telepresence Robotic Systems

Date:  Friday, November 8, 2019
Time:  11:00
Place:  274 MSB

Committee Members:
Jong-Hoon Kim, Advisor
Gokarna Sharma
Austin Melton


Autonomous automobiles are expected to be introduced in increasingly complex increments until the system is able to navigate without human interaction. However, humanity is uncomfortable with relying on algorithms to make security-critical decisions, which often have moral dimensions. Many robotic systems keep humans in the decision-making loop due to their unsurpassed ability to perceive contextual information in ways we find relevant. It is likely that we will see transportation systems with no direct human supervision necessary, but these systems do not address our worry about moral decisions. Until we are able to embed moral agency in digital systems, human actors will be the only agents capable of making decisions with security-critical and moral components. Additionally, in order for a human to be in the position that we can have confidence in their decision, they must be situationally aware of the environment in which the decision will be made. Virtual reality as a medium can achieve this by allowing a person to be telepresent elsewhere. A telepresence dispatch system for autonomous transportation vehicles is proposed that places emphasis on situational awareness so that humans can properly be in the decision-making loop. Pre-trial, in-trial, and post-trial metrics are gathered that emphasize human health and monitor situational awareness through traditional and novel approaches.


You are welcomed to attend.