Research at ReGame-XR Lab

I am currently working as an undergraduate research assistant for the Rehabilitation Games & Extended Reality Laboratory, an interdisciplinary lab that leverages game development skills to facilitate cognitive neuroscience experiments. At the lab, I've been involved in two different projects spearheaded by PhD candidates, where I've been refactoring a code base using the observer pattern to introduce modularity and developing a game design document for a project proposal.

Learn more about the lab here

Timeline: July 2022 - Present
Role: Undergraduate Research Assistant
Tools: C#, Unity, Notion


I successfully implemented a scriptable object-based code architecture to replace a static singleton code base, rewriting it to be more modular and editable. The experiment using this code base is entering its data-gathering phase this semester, which I will continue to be an active part of.

I am actively working on the development of a game design document, which will be used for the basis of an experiment exploring the effect of exercise on cognitive learning. I will be the programmer of the project, implementing the project into a virtual reality game.


  • Background
  • Experiments
  • Process


The Rehabilitation Games & Extended Reality Laboratory is a rehabilitation sciences research lab on the campus of Northeastern University focused on exploring assessments and interventions for individuals with cognitive and motor challenges via games. It is lead by Dr. Leanne Chukoskie and managed by Ara Jung, both people who I had the honor to first work with for planning Boston Global Game Jam 2022. 

At the time I joined, the laboratory had several ongoing experiments that were in various phases of completion. I was connected with Minxin Cheng, a student in the Doctorate program for Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences. Her experiment, focused on studying whether bias against using visual information could improve visuomotor integration and performance in individuals with autism, was just starting to move into development and it was requested that I would help on the technical side of the project.

In the Fall semester, the lab took on another project at the request of another professor - a VR game that built on research showing that exercise improved attention ability in older adults. This game would be developed from the ground up with help from other faculty in the GAME department, and I would not only help on the technical side but also the design side as well.


Minxin's experiment, which has been named the Throwing Task, was a ball throwing game, where users were tasked with picking up a ball from a bowl and throwing it into basket. This experiment would be done both in the real world and in virtual reality, with both mediums having two different set-ups: one with many extraneous objects in the room, and one without - changing the existence of visual noise. For the VR part, the task would be done by physically moving one's hand and translating that into the game through a Manus Glove and a SteamVR tracker.

The Exer-Bike project, as the lab has taken to calling it, is a project inspired by Art Kramer, Director of the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health and a professor of Psychology at Northeastern University. Dr. Kramer has extensive history in the research of the beneficial effects that fitness has on combating cognitive decline, with much of his work being the bedrock that this project now lies on. When he approached the lab, he proposed a game for older adults that lied at the intersection of two major proponents of cognitive growth and resilience: fitness, and language learning. His vision for the game was a VR experience that the user would play while on an exercise bike, with the player biking around a landscape while actively learning a language. The lab has been tasked with designing and developing this game, with a emphasis on community use and need.


The development process for the throwing involved implementing its core gameplay loop into Unity and tracking key data points throughout the experiment, such as the location of the user's gaze and what they were looking at. I took a prototype of the experiment, which used the static singleton pattern, and converted it to use scriptable object architecture. This allowed me to introduce the modularity necessary to break up responsibilities into individual scripts and allow for the data recorder to easily import new data as we discussed what was and wasn't important to track. 

For the Exer-Bike project, I've been involved in outlining the big-picture view of the game and designing game systems. The team has been discussing high-level feature concepts with Dr. Kramer and Dr. Chukoskie and fleshing out the lower-level details in team meetings. 


The Rehabilitation Games & Extended Reality Laboratory has been a really rewarding and eye-opening place to work at. It was my first time working on serious games, designed not to entertain but for scientific purposes, and the lab members were all welcoming to me despite being an undergraduate surrounded largely by Masters and PhD candidates. Through our weekly meetings and being able to talk to colleagues, I was able to dive deep into the unfamiliar world of cognitive research to understand the importance of our work and the possibilities that games had in the scientific community.

The lab's focus on staying connected and collaborating in-person were major boons to making this experience as great as it was. When I was in the lab, I was able to ask questions of colleagues even when we weren't working on the same project. Our weekly lab meetings, where everyone was encouraged to talk about all the projects the lab was involved in, were always a great reminder that everyone in the lab were part of a large team. I'm looking forward to when the experiments I'm involved in move into the data-gathering phase and seeing analysis of the results that may shed more light on the nature of cognitive behavior. With this opportunity, I've gained experience in working on serious games and developing as part of a laboratory team.