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Karen Collins

Associate Professor- Cross Appointed

Karen Collins

Post Doc, Carleton
PhD, Liverpool
BA, Waterloo

Extension: 38326
Office: ECH 2112
Email:
collinsk@uwaterloo.ca

Biography

Karen Collins is Canada Research Chair in Interactive Audio at the Games Institute. Her work focuses primarily on sound and music in games, and explores how new technologies impact our audio experience. This research has included studies of sound on smart tables (horizontal computers), mobile phones, video games, and how sound is used in slot machines to manipulate players. She has published four books on game audio; Game Sound (MIT Press 2008), From Pac-Man to Pop Music (Ashgate 2008), Playing With Sound (MIT Press 2013) and the Oxford Handbook of Interactive Audio. She is currently working on a documentary film and book project about the history of game sound.

Selected publications

2008. K. Collins. Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design (Cambridge, Mass. The MIT Press).

2008. K. Collins (Ed.) From Pac Man to Pop Music: Interactive Audio in Games and New Media (Aldershot, UK. Ashgate).

2010. K. Collins, B. Kapralos and K. Kanev. Smart Table Computer Interaction Interfaces with Integrated Sound. Journal of Three Dimensional Images 24/3, 58-67.

2010. M.J. Dixon, K. A. Harrigan, R. Sandhu, K. Collins, and J.A. Fugelsang,  Losses Disguised as Wins in Modern Multi-Line Video Slot Machines. Addiction.105/10, 1819-1824.

2010. K. Collins, B. Kapralos, K. Kanev. Using games as a method of evaluation of usability and user experience in human-computer interaction design. Submitted to HC2010: The 13th International Conference on Humans and Computers. University of Aizu, December.

2010. K. Harrigan, K. Collins, M. Dixon and J. Fugelsang. Addictive Gameplay: What Casual Game Designers Can Learn from Slot Machine Research. In Proceedings of the ACM FuturePlay 2010 International Conference on the Future of Game Design and Technology.  May 6-8 2010, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

2009. K. Collins. An Introduction to Procedural Audio in Video Games. Contemporary Music Review, Special Issue on Algorithmic Generative Audio. 28/1, 5-15 (invited).

2008. K. Collins. In the Loop: Confinements and Creativity in 8-Bit Video Games Music. Twentieth Century Music. 4/1, 209-227.

Fellowships & Awards

  • 2010. University of Waterloo Outstanding Performance Award
  • 2009. International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) International Book Award for best book in English for Game Sound.
  • 2007-2012. Canada Research Chair (Tier II) held at University of Waterloo.
  • 2005-2007. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Post-Doctoral Fellowship held at the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Arts and Culture, Carleton University, Ottawa. Supervisor: Paul Théberge.
  • 2010. Google Faculty Research Award, $45,000 Principle Investigator (PI)
  • 2010. The Influence of Sound on Responses to Slot Machine Play. OPGRC Level III grant application. $150,000. (PI)
  • 2010. Design and Creation of an Educational Module for Slot Machine Losses Disguised as Wins. Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre grant, $10,000. (PI)
  • 2010. Multimedia Interaction Interfaces in Collaborative E-Learning Environments. Cooperative Research Projects at Research Institute Electronics, Shizuoka University. Project director Noriyuki Matsuda, Wakayama University, ¥1,000,000. Additional funding of previous 2009 project (collaborator)
  • 2010. Recite: Exploring and Developing Digital Tools for the Analysis and Interactive Use of Literary Spoken Recordings. PI: Jason Camlot, Concordia University, $50,000. (collaborator)
  • 2009. Multimedia Interaction Interfaces in Collaborative E-Learning Environments. Cooperative Research Projects at Research Institute Electronics, Shizuoka University Project director Noriyuki Matsuda, Wakayama University, ¥1,000,000. (collaborator)
  • 2009. Psychophysical and psychological responses to the sights, sounds, and payback percentages of slot machines. Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre Level II grant. Principal Investigator Mike Dixon, University of Waterloo, $195, 000 (Co-I).
  • 2009. Sound on Smart Tables: A pilot study of methods in sonic interaction design. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research Development Initiatives Grant, $37,000. (PI)
  • 2009. An Investigation into Audio’s Impact on Gambling Behaviour: Annotated Literature Review and Research Plan Development. Ontario Problem Gambling Research Council grant, $10,000. (PI)
  • 2009. SoundSign: Creating a Standard for Accessible Multimedia Sound Effects. C4 Consortium Proof of Principle grant, $20,000. (PI)
  • 2008. The Psychic Psychologist: Developing Games for Distributed Classification of Audio Content.  Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Image, Text, Sound and Technology Grant, $30,000. (PI)
  • 2007. Real-Time Automatic Composition for Interactive Media: The Next Generation of Audio Software. Canadian Foundation for Innovation Research Infrastructure Grant, $109,548. (PI)
  • 2007. Real-Time Automatic Composition for Interactive Media: The Next Generation of Audio Software. Ontario Research Fund—Infrastructure Fund. Matching funds for CFI (California Film Institute) grant, above, $109,548. (PI)

Current research

My current research is concerned with the role that interactivity plays when it comes to sound in various media. In particular, I am interested in how interactivity impacts production, reception, and distribution methods across media forms. I have primarily focussed on video games, but the research also extends to interactive art, museum exhibitions, and product design.

Areas of graduate supervision

  • Games
  • Sound
  • Digital media
  • User experience/usability
  • Science fiction
Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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