Conor Higgins B.Sc., Ph.D.(c)

Conor Higgins

B.Sc., Ph.D.(c)

UX Engineer / Full Stack Software Engineer / Academic

Summary

I am a full-stack software engineer, interdisciplinary researcher and published computer science author with a wealth of experience in a variety of domains. I have a keen interest in system accessibility and human computer interaction (particularly user experience and interaction design) and am currently completing my Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Limerick, where my research is focused on the creation and evaluation of technologies for cognitively impaired users, specifically those with aphasia. I have created and contributed to applications for a number of industries and target users, including elite athlete monitoring systems, cognitive and physical impairment rehabilitative tools, social networking utilities and proprietary customer relationship management (CRM) applications. I have been part of agile software development teams on a number of projects, while all applications I am responsible for follow a strict source control and deployment protocol as well as adopting a user-centered design process.

Apart from my work, I have a number of hobbies and interests. I can usually be found spending quality time with my family, playing my guitar, and exercising (when I can). I am a big fan of sports in general, particularly boxing, football/soccer, GAA and rugby and will happily watch/attend anything I can. I am also an animal lover and am often seen being dragged from place to place by my dogs.

Click here to see my professional resumé

Click here to see some of my work

Experience

  • SANTA - Self-Administered Naming Therapy for Aphasia • Department of Clinical Therapies, UL • 2014-Present

    A cross-platform web application targeted at rehabilitating individuals with aphasia.

    SANTA - Self-Administered Naming Therapy for Aphasia • Department of Clinical Therapies, UL • 2014-Present

    SANTA is a cross-platform web application for users with aphasia. The application uses text-to-speech in order to teach aphasic users to speak and enunciate words. I am responsible for all aspects of the system's design, development and user acceptance testing.

  • Triana Care • 2014-Present

    A powerful iOS application and web-application designed for the U.S hospice industry.

    Triana Care • 2014-Present

    Triana Care has led to the creation of software systems for the US hospice industry to improve the level of patient care. I have been solely responsible for the system's user experience and evaluation. I have also contributed to much of the system's front-end and back-end architecture.

  • iTRAC GlobaliTRAC Global / ITGS Labs • 2012-Present

    Global customs and excise web application featuring a complex user eco-system, unique granular permission and organic object sharing.

    iTRAC GlobaliTRAC Global / ITGS Labs • 2012-Present

    iTRAC Global is a global customs and excise software package. As the project’s first and longest-serving developer, I have been responsible for defining much of the system architecture and implementing designs concepts.

  • 22 Touch • 2012-2014

    Referral marketing web application, the intention of which is to generate work referrals.

    22 Touch • 2012-2014

    22 Touch is a referral marketing web application. I was involved in both the redesign and implementation of the system, developing a series of new features and designing a genetic algorithm on which the application is heavily dependent.

  • Elite EdgeTricycle Interactive Ltd. • 2010-Present

    A cross-platform sports science web application, designed for daily monitoring and analysis of elite athletes.

    Elite EdgeTricycle Interactive Ltd. • 2010-Present

    Elite Edge is a cross-platform sports science application. To date the application has been extensively used by the British and Irish Lions, the National Athlete Development Academy and Munster Rugby. I am responsible for the system's requirements gathering, back-end design and front-end development.

  • Tricycle Interactive Ltd. • 2010-2011

    During this time I led numerous projects for clients including MotorCheck, Opoko and the Welsh Rugby Union

    Tricycle Interactive Ltd. • 2010-2011

    I rebuilt and extended the WRU sports science system, creating a suite of new features, implementing a user-centered design approach in the process. Additionally, I led a number of projects for clients including iOS applications for MotorCheck and Opoko.

  • GroupleeBiocomputing & Developmental Systems • 2012-2013

    A Facebook application (currently unreleased) which allows users to tailor their own social media experience.

    GroupleeBiocomputing & Developmental Systems • 2012-2013

    Grouplee is a Facebook application (unreleased), which enables users to define their own user interface. The application offers an alternative interaction paradigm to that of the standard Facebook UI, where streams of information are accessed via interactive and customisable onscreen objects.

  • aPMInteraction Design Centre • 2012

    Flash application designed to interface with a stroke rehabilitation device and train users via visual feedback.

    aPMInteraction Design Centre • 2012

    aPM is a prototype application, which provides audiovisual feedback to stroke victims as they interact with a rehabilitation device. By interpreting sensor data (optical and force), the developed application monitors a user’s progress and cues them on whether to exert more or less force with their affected limb.

  • NDLR 'Fest & First Seven WeeksNational Digital Learning Resources / Centre for Teaching and Learning • 2011-2014

    Kiosk-based multimedia browsing applications targeted at academic staff and undergraduate students.

    NDLR 'Fest & First Seven WeeksNational Digital Learning Resources / Centre for Teaching and Learning • 2011-2014

    I was asked by the National Digital Learning Resources group and then the Centre for Teaching and Learning (as part of the First Seven Weeks initiative), to design and develop intuitive kiosk-based multimedia browsing applications for both academic staff and undergraduate users.

  • iPensionWidger Financial Planning • 2011

    Promotional iOS application featuring a personal pensions calculator based on a complex financial algorithm.

    iPensionWidger Financial Planning • 2011

    iPension was an innovative iOS application for a financial advice business. The developed application featured an engaging user interface, with a brief survey that enabled users to calculate their pension shortfall.

  • IPC Game Based LearningUniversity of Limerick • 2011

    Infection prevention and control game-based learning application for nursing and midwifery students.

    IPC Game Based LearningUniversity of Limerick • 2011

    I was the sole developer of an infection prevention and control game-based learning tool for the UL's School of Nursing and Midwifery. I was responsible for all aspects of this application, including requirements gathering, illustrations, software development and evaluations. The game simulated learning scenarios for student nurses to ensure that they followed best practices set by the World Health Organisation.

  • Final Year ProjectUniversity of Limerick • 2010

    My award winning FYP led to the development of a mobile biological sensor, which was capable of capturing and leveraging subtle muscle contractions.

    Final Year ProjectUniversity of Limerick • 2010

    My final year project, “The Use of Surface Electromyography to Create and Control Audiovisual Content”, led to the development of a mobile multi-purpose biological signal sensor, for which I was awarded the Accenture Academic Innovation Award. The sensor was capable of monitoring even minuscule movements in a target muscle group, demonstrating the potential for subtle computer interaction.

  • COF - Circle of Friends • Biocomputing & Developmental Systems • 2009

    A prototype standalone social network, featuring of a customisable front-end UI.

    COF - Circle of Friends • Biocomputing & Developmental Systems • 2009

    This project was carried out in conjunction with the UL's Biocomputing and Developmental Systems Group. The project led to the creation of a novel, malleable social network prototype.

  • CeleritasInteraction Design Centre & Tyndall National Institute • 2008-2009

    During this time, I enhanced an existing application of the Celeritas project, PointingAt.

    CeleritasInteraction Design Centre & Tyndall National Institute • 2008-2009

    My contribution to the Celeritas project (a glove-based input device) led to an adaptation of Dr. Giuseppe Torre’s PointingAt application, which was then exhibited in Dublin’s Science Gallery by a professional dancer. The captured sensor data allowed the application to track the dancer’s gestures, each of which triggering associated sounds.

  • SocGSD - The Social, Organisational and Cultural Aspects of Global Software Development • Interaction Design Centre • 2008-2009

    I contributed to the development of the web presence for SocGSD, an EU funded research project.

    SocGSD - The Social, Organisational and Cultural Aspects of Global Software Development • Interaction Design Centre • 2008-2009

    I was involved in the design, development and content management of the web presence for a EU funded research project.

  • TCT PrototypeFreelance • 2008

    A remote freelance project which led to the creation of an Arduino-based prototype that simulated an angiogram procedure.

    TCT PrototypeFreelance • 2008

    This project led to the development of a novel Arduino-based prototype, which interfaced with a MaxMSP application. The purpose of this prototype was to demonstrate the process of administering angiograms via an air pressure-based haptic device. This prototype was presented and demoed at the annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference in Washington D.C.

    Education

    Undergraduate: University of Limerick • 2006-2010

    I graduated in 2010 with a first class honours, earning a B.Sc. in Music, Media and Performance Technology

    Ph.D.: University of Limerick • 2010-Present

    I have developed a number of applications and utilities targeted at the rehabilitation of individuals with aphasia and concomitant cognitive deficits. My research has examined the efficacy of mobile applications in self-guided speech and language therapy.

    Awards

    • 2010 - Accenture Academic Innovation Award
    • 2010 - UL Advanced Scholar Scheme
    • 2007-2010 - UL President's List
    • 2009 - Tweak Festival Student Showcase

    Technical Skills

    • Web development: HTML5, CSS3, LESS, Javascript, JQuery, PHP, MySQL
    • Front-end and back-end web frameworks: Angular JS, JQuery Mobile, Kendo UI, JQuery UI, Knockout JS, MooTools, Backbone JS, Firebase, Laravel, Node.js, Foundation, Bootstrap
    • Source control (Git and SVN) and deployments
    • Command line build tools: LinemanJS, Grunt
    • Front-end and back-end dependency managers: Bower.io, Component, Composer
    • Additional languages/systems: Actionscript, Arduino, Processing, Objective-C (iOS), Java
    • CMS Development and Implementation: Expression Engine, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla
    • Wireframing and rapid prototyping: Balsamiq, Fluid UI, Axure, Cacoo, LucidChart
    • Usability evaluation, heuristic evaluation, user acceptance testing (UAT)

    Publications

    • Book Chapter Pending Publication
      • Book Title: “Holistic Perspectives in Gamification for Clinical Practice”
      • Chapter Title: “The Role of Gamification & Evolutionary Computation in the Provision of Continuous, Self-Guided Therapy”
      • Authors: Higgins, C., Kearns, A., Ryan, C. and Fernstrom, M.
    • Higgins, C., Ryan, C., Kearns., A. and Fernstrom, M. (2014) The Creation and Facilitation of Speech and Language Therapy Sessions for individuals with Aphasia. GECCO Comp'14 Proceedings of the 2014 conference companion on Genetic and evolutionary computation companion, 109-110. DOI 10.1145/2598394.2598485
    • Higgins, C., Kearns, A., Ryan, C., Fernstrom, M. and Franklin, S. (2014) Towards unsupervised remote therapy for individuals with aphasia. Mobile Computing, Applications, and Services Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, 130, 265-268 DOI 10.1007/978-3- 319-05452-0_20
    • Kearns, A., Franklin, S. and Higgins, C. (2012) Investigating the use of iPad and App to deliver Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) treatment in clients with aphasia. Brain Impairment, 13 (1) 141.
    • Kearns, A., Higgins, C., Franklin, S. (2012) ‘Aphasia Therapy via iPad and App’ 9th Conference of the Neuropsychological Rehabilitation: Special Interest Group of the World Federation for NeuroRehabilitation (WFNR), Bergen, Norway, July 2012
    • Higgins, C., Kearns, A. and Franklin, S. (2012) “The development of a semantic feature analysis based mobile application for individuals with aphasia”, poster presented at MobiSys, Ambleside, UK, June 2012.
    • Kearns, A., Higgins, C., Franklin, S. (2011) ‘Aphasia Therapy via iPad and App’ Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists Biennial conference, Dublin, November 2011

    Contact Me