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PhD student's success at national awards

30 October 2015

Congratulations to UTS PhD student Jaime Garcia for his recent win at the 2015 Health Informatics Society of Australia Awards. Jaime won the Branko Cesnik Award for the best scientific student paper, 'Step Kinnection: A fall prevention game mindfully designed for the Elderly'.

The winning paper describes the design considerations of Step Kinnection, an interactive game using Microsoft Kinect to prevent falls for elderly people.

Jaime Garcia's award and trophy

This is a huge achievement for Jaime, who originally came to Australia from his hometown in Cali, Colombia, to learn English. Not only did he study at TAFE and join a conversational English community to improve his language skills, he also volunteered as a research assistant at UTS.

“My written English improved dramatically, because I spent most of my time working on literature reviews and helping the team to write academic articles”, Jaime said.

Working as a research assistant, Jaime started investigating the topic that inspired his PhD project. He said, “we saw the potential of using video games to keep older people active whilst having some fun. This concept turned out to be a success and that's what interested me; being able to use the fun factor inherent in video games to achieve another goal rather than simply entertain.”

PArticipant enjoying the ‘fun and fitness’ benefits of Step Kinnection

Like many students, he is unsure where he wants to take the project now that he has finished his degree. But he has a few ideas. “I'd like to use what we learnt from this study to start my own business or research team and ensure that the aged community get access to this technology and can have a healthier ageing process,” Jaime said.

You can read more about the Step Kinnection project in the UTS Newsroom.