Prof. Zachary O. Toups investigates computer-supported cooperative play and the physical-world contexts that it can support. He aims to develop gameplay through which participants practice real-life skills. His prior research and continued interest focuses on disaster-response contexts. His research approach generally works from fieldwork to understand existing practice from which he designs and develops systems. User studies with built systems are executed in the lab and in the field.
The systems he builds include zero-fidelity simulations that capture abstract, human-centered aspects of practice; mixed reality computing that engages players in human-human, human-environment, and human-computer interaction; and mobile, collaborative technologies that support sensemaking in disaster.