Investigating Mixed Reality for Enhancing Distributed Human-Machine Teaming



Research areas


Project Description:

There is a growing interest in how Defence can leverage emerging technologies to facilitate human-machine teaming (HMT) and decision-making in distributed environments. Mixed reality technology (i.e., virtual and augmented reality) provides a new medium by which information can be shared between humans and machines, enabling immersive three-dimensional interfaces, augmented reality objects mapped onto the real world, and virtual annotations to direct action and attention. These capabilities have already been exploited by the entertainment industry to create new human-machine interactions in video-games, and also have great potential to enhance the ability of humans and machines to coordinate information and actions in distributed military environments. It is necessary to research the types of tasks, interfaces, and control mechanisms that provide utility to HMT at the tactical (i.e., time critical) level. The research will assist identifying areas where simpler technologies (e.g., fixed visual displays) are sufficient or superior to MR to support HMT.  The research will investigate this problem space, providing a critical analysis of mixed reality to support HMT, and identifying design principles and applications for MR that may benefit future tactical operators.


This project will provide an empirical analysis of how MR can be used to support tactical operators, the types of tasks MR is suited for, and design principles to guide the development of visualisation techniques to support military operations. These findings will inform how humans and machines can use MR to enhance distributed coordination between team members. The research focus is the application of MR to enhance distributed HMT.  



Dr Penny Kyburz, Dr Sabrina Caldwell, Prof Tom Gedeon (Australian National University)

Dr Matthew Knight (Defence Science and Technology Group)



The successful applicant will receive a tax-free stipend of $40,000 p/a for 3 years.



Applicants must be:

  • An Australian citizen
  • Eligible to enrol in a PhD at ANU:
  • Able to commence studies in 2021 or by March 2022
  • Graduated with Honours class 1 or Masters by end of 2021
  • Qualified, experienced, or skilled in relevant research and development, including video games and/or mixed reality development, human-computer interaction, human-AI interaction, and/or AI design and development.


How to apply:

Please submit an expression of interest to Dr Penny Kyburz ( by 30 June 2021, including:

  • Academic transcripts
  • CV (including relevant education, work experience, skills, research outputs)
  • A 1-page cover letter addressing your interest and suitability for the research project

Updated:  1 June 2019/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing