Patrick Olivier | Faculty

I am Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the School of Computing Science at Newcastle University. I founded and currently lead Open Lab, Newcastle University's centre for cross-disciplinary research in digital technologies (previously called the "Digital Interaction Group" but renamed when we moved out of Culture Lab in May, 2015). My particular research interests include the application of social and ubiquitous computing to education, health and wellbeing, as well as the development of new approaches for interaction (such as novel sensing platforms and interaction techniques) and human-centred design methods.

I am Principal Investigator and Co-Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics (55 PhD students over 8 years, from 2014-2022). The CDT is supported by a £4.7m award from the EPSRC and seeks to train the next generation of researchers in the design, deployment and evaluation of digital community and local government services. I am also Principal Investigator and Director of a new £10.4m Digital Economy Research Centre in Digital Civics (25 postdoctoral researchers, 2015-2020) supported in part by a £4m award from the EPSRC. In both these initiatives we are working closely with our local government partners, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council and Northumberland County Council.

To get a more detailed idea of my research interests, take a look at my Google Scholar page (for papers), "Projects" (generally projects that post-docs are involved in), "PhD Projects" (a project that constitutes someone's PhD), or "Things" (stuff we've made), and for write-ups of Open Lab's completed research see our "Publications" page. If you are interested in collaborating with Open Lab, or being a visitor, researcher or research student here then please contact me, Pete Wright, or anyone on the "People" page.


Metadating: Exploring the Romance and Future of Personal Data
Elsden C, Nissen B, Garbett A, Chatting D, Kirk D, Vines J, CHI '16: Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems685-698


FeedFinder: A Location-Mapping Mobile Application for Breastfeeding Women
Balaam M, Comber R, Jenkins E, Sutton S, Garbett A, Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems1709-1718


Finding "real people": trust and diversity in the interface between professional and citizen journalists
Garbett AT, Comber R, Egglestone P, Glancy M, Olivier P, Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '14)3015-3024

Associated Projects

  • app-movement
    App Movement - Community Commissioning of Mobile Technologies
    App Movement is a platform that was developed at Open Lab which enables any individual, community or organisation to propose, design and automatically generate a multi-platform mobile application. The platform raises research questions around...
    August 30, 2011
  • Picture2
    School in the Cloud web platform
    The School in the Cloud combines SOLEs and the Granny Cloud together through seven experimental facilities funded by the TED prize. In addition, countless teachers around the world are using SOLEs in various forms. Made by Many developed the first vers...
    August 30, 2011
  • reflectable
    The ReflecTable is a digital learning environment that explores how design games and video-led reflection might be combined to bridge the gap between the theoretical and practical components of design education. The concept seeks to leverage the qualit...
    August 30, 2011
  • pentimento
    Repentir is an augmented reality iPhone app that allows gallery visitors to reveal hidden layers of a painting. Using the app, you can take a photo of an area of a painting to browse previous versions of that area of the painting, which the artist capt...
    August 30, 2011
  • m3d
    Making 3D Printed Objects Interactive
    This project explores approach that allows designers and others to quickly and easily make 3D printed objects interactive, without the need for hardware or software expertise and with little modification to an object’s physical design. With our ap...
    August 30, 2011
  • panopticon
    Panopticon: A Parallel Video Overview System
    Panopticon is a video surrogate system that displays multiple sub-sequences in parallel to present a rapid overview of the entire sequence to the user. A novel, precisely animated arrangement slides thumbnails to provide a consistent spatiotemporal...
    August 30, 2011
  • CDT-001
    Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics
    Across the UK political spectrum there is a consensus that communities need to play a greater role in local government, both in the decisions made that affect people's everyday lives, and in the design and delivery of services provided by local governm...
    August 30, 2011
  • myplace-002
    MyPlace: Mobility and PLace for the Age-friendly City Environment
    The aim of MyPlace is to develop and test through real-world research a digital platform and toolkit that will enable members of the public to engage with local councils and other organisations more effectively in the research, planning and design of t...
    August 30, 2011
  • Google-Glass-PD
    Google Glass for people with Parkinson's
    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurological condition affecting up to 10 million people worldwide. It manifests itself in motor symptoms including rigidity, tremor and bradykinesia, or slowness of movement. These affect an individuals bala...
    August 30, 2011
  • Actuated Tangibles on Multi-Touch Tables
    Touchbugs: Actuated Tangibles on Multi-Touch Tables
    Touchbugs is an open source hardware and software framework for a novel actuated tangible technology. Touchbugs are small tangibles that use directed bristles and vibration motors for actuation (giving them the ability to move independently). Their inf...
    August 30, 2011
  • barometermain
    The Break-Time Barometer
    The Break-Time Barometer is a social awareness system, which was developed as part of an exploratory study of the use of situated sensing and displays to promote cohesion in a newly-dispersed workplace. The Break-Time Barometer specifically aims to...
    August 30, 2011
  • The six Mindfulness Spheres of the Spheres of Wellbeing Research Project.
    Spheres of Wellbeing
    The Spheres of Wellbeing are a set artefacts specifically designed for a group of six women who live in the medium secure services of a forensic hospital in the UK. These women present a very vulnerable group due to the severity of their mental heal...
    August 30, 2011
  • cx_logo
    The Creative Exchange
    The Creative Exchange (CX) is a Knowledge Exchange Hub for the Creative Economy. We aim to develop strategic partnerships with creative businesses and cultural organisations, strengthening and diversifying their collaborative research activities an...
    August 30, 2011
  • 207___Selected
    Lifelong Health and Wellbeing
    Older people are accounting for an increasingly higher percentage of the UK’s population, with life expectancy rising at an unprecedented rate and predictions that by 2033, 25% of the population will be over 65 years old. The Lifelong Health and ...
    August 30, 2011
  • David Hockey.
    Digital Originals
    Date: January 2012 - July 2013 Funding: EPSRC: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. £74,349 (Newcastle) Researchers: Patrick Olivier, Peter Wright, Feng Li (Business School). Collaborators: Mark Blythe (Northumbria Univ...
    August 30, 2011
  • LanCook thumbnail2
    Following the success of the “Language Learning in the Wild” project, which used the Ambient Kitchen as a platform for Task-Based Learning of French, we began working with the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences on a broader Eu...
    August 30, 2011
  • images
    Activity Recognition to Improve Motor Performance in Parkinson's Disease
    Through sensors worn on the body or embedded into objects of daily use we can infer the activities performed by a subject. Extracting the characteristics of the data collected by these sensors, i.e. how these activities were performed, would be ben...
    August 30, 2011
  • banner-graphic
    TRUMP: A TRUsted Mobile Platform for the Self - Management of Chronic Illness
    Chronic illnesses are now the leading cause of death in both developing and developed countries. While the UK and India have very different practices and structures for healthcare delivery, the effective management of chronic illness is a priority for ...
    August 30, 2011
  • eye-glass-33210
    Ageing in Place
    Demographic ageing has raised many issues for policy and practice, particularly in terms of how society should best support and care for the ageing population. Governments around the western world have recommended that older people should be supported ...
    August 30, 2011
  • adolescence01
    Embodied Selves in Transition: Disabled Young
    Currently, we do not know much about what it is like for young people with physical disabilities to transition into adolescence, how a physical disability can interact with their changing body and complicate societal assumptions about how an adolescent...
    August 30, 2011
  • SALT
    SALT: Designing Scalable Assistive Technologies and Services
    Currently, health and social care institutions struggle to meet the demands of the ageing population due to insufficient capacity and resources. The potential of new technology to assist older people and promote independent healthy living is huge. Howe...
    August 30, 2011
  • Surgical Skills Assesment
    The aim of this project was to understand the changes in motor skill that take place during the early phases of learning a new fine motor skill task. For this project specifically, that motor skill was suturing, which we measured by attaching senso...
    August 30, 2011
  • Kitchen
    Ambient Kitchen
    The Ambient Kitchen is a platform for research in pervasive computing that was installed at Culture Lab in 2007. It is a proof-of-concept context-aware computing environment, originally designed to demonstrate the potential for technology to support ol...
    August 30, 2011
  • outside building
    TEDDI: Building Management and Energy Demand
    This research project involves the design and development of a sensing infrastructure that consists of networked physical (e.g. presence sensors, power consumption sensors) and virtual (e.g. calendar and room booking sensors, application usage sensors)...
    August 30, 2011
  • PDQ
    Cueing for Swallowing in Parkinson's
    This cueing device has been developed as a way to behaviourally manage drooling, which is commonly symptomatic of Parkinson’s Disease. The device was developed through a participatory design process, taking into account the needs of people with Parki...
    August 30, 2011
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    Language Learning in the Wild
    Foreign languages are generally taught within a classroom setting using textbook exercises. Despite its wide usage, there are a number of problems with this approach. Students are only able to “rehearse” the language, rather than use it practically...
    August 30, 2011
  • IMG_1234
    Cueing Technology for Parkinsons
    Approximately 70% of people with Parkinson’s Disease experience problems with swallowing. The resulting build-up of saliva can cause drooling, which is often a source of embarrassment and puts the person at risk of choking or pneumonia if the saliv...
    August 30, 2011
  • Questionable Concepts
    New Approaches to Banking for the Older Old
    Although there are more people aged eighty and over in the UK than ever before, current banking systems fail to cater to them. It is now almost impossible to opt out of having a bank account, using a chip and pin, and transferring money digitally—thi...
    August 30, 2011
    Technology can be of great assistance in leading an active and independent life. However, ICT development often fails to take into consideration the needs of some groups, such as older people and those with disabilities. The AEGIS project (Assisting th...
    August 30, 2011
  • haw
    Livewell: Lifestyle Interventions
    The increasing burden of frailty and chronic poor health currently accompanying longevity is a public health problem and there is a challenge to health researchers to find ways to help people improve their health and maintain their well-being throughou...
    August 30, 2011
  • veritas-logo
    Although the potential of digital technology to assist older people and people with cognitive and physical impairments is huge, often technology is not designed in a way that fully takes into account the needs of these groups in terms of how access...
    August 30, 2011
  • 1inclusion_image copy
    SiDE: Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy
    SiDE is an interdisciplinary research project aimed at realising the potential for digital technologies to transform the lives of people who are socially excluded. Poor health, disability, family breakdown, poverty and unemployment are just some of the...
    August 30, 2011
  • bespoke
    Bespoke: Increasing Social Inclusion through Community Journalism and Bespoke Design
    Digital technologies are often not affordable by the poor or usable by older people and people with disabilities. This can lead to these groups being excluded from the digital and social world, as they cannot benefit from the connections to other peopl...
    August 30, 2011
  • 5997366933_318289aa37_z(1)
    The aim of this project is to help European citizens to obtain consumer solutions for hassle-free guidance towards a balanced lifestyle regarding meal planning and preparation and personal choice. We explore methods for inferring eating habits in a...
    August 30, 2011
  • logo
    IRIS: Integrated Research in Interactive Storytelling
    Interactive storytelling endeavours to implement systems that will create narratives in which the user can become fully involved. For example, a user could interfere with the action of a well-known play, resulting in a different ending from the one the...
    August 30, 2011
  • 027
    Keeping in Touch Every Day
    For the KITE (Keeping in Touch Every Day) project, we developed two prototype devices in collaboration with two people with dementia and their carers. The devices were intended to assist the particular individuals involved in the project in the mainten...
    August 30, 2011
    Older people face a number of issues that may impact upon their emotional or physical wellbeing, such as difficulty living independently. The number of people aged 60 and over has tripled over the last fifty years and is expected to more than triple ...
    August 30, 2011
  • Nerve Logo Final
    NERVE: North East Regional Visualisation Enviroment
    More than 90% of the data for regional organisations such as utilities, local government and emergency services relates to a spatial location. Individual regional organisations therefore create and maintain models of the region in order to support ...
    August 30, 2011
  • 111
    KITE: Keeping in touch every day
    People with dementia commonly experience memory problems. A concern for both them and their carers, therefore, is that they will become lost while out alone. While not unreasonable, this can prevent the maintenance of healthy, useful and enjoyable pr...
    August 30, 2011
  • Claerwen Valley
    Contested Common Land
    This research project placed the sustainable management of Commons in historical perspective. Four case studies were used to illustrate the changing patterns of land use, differing management principles and regulatory mechanisms applied to common l...
    August 30, 2011
  • DirCut
    Vidipedia: Community Indexing for Audiovisual Material
    Video is the most popular media format, and the potential value hidden in the tens of millions of hours of footage in the world’s media archives is enormous. However, such a great volume of footage also means that it is very difficult to search w...
    August 30, 2011
  • F4.medium
    AMUC: Associated motion capture user categories
    Performing arts use motion-capture tools for activities ranging from live productions to creative screen-bound works, choreographic notation and archiving. These activities have shaped original interdisciplinary platforms, combining artistic perfor...
    August 30, 2011
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