Are you applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE Are you applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE

Exploring conversational agents for data capture through verbal and non-verbal communication in NZ agricultural work context

   School of Product Design

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr Thammathip Piumsomboon, Dr Simon Hoermann, Dr Munir Shah  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

About the Project

This work is a joint collaboration between the University of Canterbury's School of Product Design and AgResearch New Zealand. Our overarching goal is to explore the application of advanced human interface technology, such as immersive technology and intelligent interfaces, to improve user interaction in non-traditional settings (e.g., outdoor, physically demanding tasks). This project aims to establish a framework for natural communication through verbal and non-verbal cues between users and conversational agents for data capturing to improve information acquisition during work activity in the absence of manual data entry. This project sits at the intersection between conversational agents, Extended Reality (XR), and ubiquitous computing.


This research aims to improve the acceptance and increase the adoption of digital technologies in the NZ agriculture context. The candidate will have access to high-end XR systems for development and testing. The example research questions that we would like to answer are: 1) through human-machine interaction with an intelligent and immersive interface, can we improve the acceptance and increase the adoption of digital technology in the NZ agriculture sector? 2) can an intelligent and immersive interface enhance the NZ agriculture sector's data-driven decision-making process?


1. Building research foundations around conversational agents and agricultural context

2. Eliciting domain-specific knowledge and prototyping Agents

3. Developing user interface and improving usability through the iterative design process

4. Field usability testing and evaluating UI prototypes

5. Validating the design and measuring performance and user perception against the baseline

6. Consolidating knowledge gained and reflecting on the lesson learned

Entry requirements

Outstanding academic potential as measured normally by either a 1st class honours degree or equivalent Grade Point Average (GPA), or a Master's degree with distinction or equivalent. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (with a minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent).

Additional eligibility criteria:

  • A capable programmer in C++, C#, or Python
  • Experience developing with Unity or Unreal Engine
  • Background in machine learning
  • Good oral and written communication
  • Evidence of publication records
  • We encourage candidates who are based in NZ and/or have the right to work in NZ

Funding Notes

A fully-funded Scholarship includes a stipend of $35,000NZ per year as well as a tuition fee waiver for 3 years.
Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs