Our Work



Schmidt, M., Newbutt, N., Schmidt, C. and Glaser, N. (2021). A process-model for minimizing adverse effects when using head mounted display-based virtual reality for individuals with autism. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, Topic Immersive Media in Connected Health.

Newbutt, N., Schmidt, M., Riva, G. and Schmidt, C. (2020), The possibility and importance of immersive technologies during COVID-19 for autistic people. Journal of Enabling Technologies. 14 (3): 187-199.

Newbutt, N., Bradley, R. & Conley, I. (2020). Using Virtual reality head-mounted display in schools for pupils on the autism spectrum; views, experiences and future directions. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 23 (1): 22-33.

Bradley, R & Newbutt, N. (2018). Autism and Virtual Reality Head-Mounted Displays: A State of the Art Systematic Review. Journal of Enabling Technologies. 12 (3): 101-113

Parsons, T. D., Riva. G, Parsons. S, Mantovani. F, Newbutt. N, Eva. L.L, and Hal. T. (2017). Virtual reality in pediatric psychology. Pediatrics. 140 (2): 86-91

Newbutt, N, Sung, C, Kuo, H-J, Leahy, M. J, Lin, C-C and Tong, B. (2016). Brief Review: The use of a virtual reality headset in autism populations, a pilot study of technology acceptance and immersion. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 46 (9): 3166–3176

Peer Reviewed Conference Proceedings and Book Chapters

Magkafa, D., Newbutt, N & Palmer, M. (2021). Implementing co-design practices for the development of a museum interface for autistic children. In: Recent Advances in Technologies of Inclusive Well-Being: Virtual patients, gamification and simulation. Eds. Brooks, A., Brahnam, S. & Jain, L. Springer. USA.

Robb. N., Politis.Y., Newbutt. N., Doyle, B., Kuo, H-J. and Sung, C. (2021). Participatory Technology Design for Autism and Cognitive Disabilities: A Narrative Overview of Issues and Techniques. In: Recent Advances in Technologies of Inclusive Well-Being: Virtual patients, gamification and simulation. Eds. Brooks, A., Brahnam, S. & Jain, L. Springer. USA.

Schmidt, M., Newbutt, N., Schmidt, C., Glasser, N., Beck. D. (2020) A process-model for minimizing adverse effects when using head mounted display-based virtual reality for individuals with autism2019. Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), Jacksonville, USA.

Newbutt, N (2019). Assisting people with Autism Spectrum Disorder through technology. In: Encyclopedia of Education and Information Technologies. Eds. Tatnall, A. Springer. Switzerland.

Agusita, E., Gillet, M., Palmer, M. & Newbutt, N. (2019) Design Hacks: Flips and Tips for Pedagogic Innovation. Centre for Innovation in Higher Education (CIHE) Annual Conference 2019. Anglia Ruskin university, UK.

Newbutt, N. and Cobb, S. (2018) Towards a framework for implementation of virtual reality technologies in schools for autistic pupils. In: Standen, P., Cobb, S., Brown, D., Gamito, P. and Appiah, K., eds. 12th International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality and Associated Technologies in Collaboration with Interactive Technologies and Games (ITAG), University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK, 4-6 September 2018. Nottingham, UK, pp. 255-258.

Magkafa, D. & Newbutt, N. (2018) The process of involving children with autism in the design of a museum-based application. In: MW18: Museums and the Web 2018, 18th April – 21st April 2018. Vancouver, Canada.

Newbutt, N, Sung, C, Kuo, H-J, Leahy, M. J. (2017). The potential of wearable technology (head-mounted displays) and virtual reality to support people with autism: acceptance, challenges, and future applications. In: Recent Advances in Technologies for Inclusive Well- Being: From Worn to Off-body Sensing, Virtual Worlds, and Games for Serious Applications. Eds. Brooks, A., Brahnam, S. & Jain, L. Springer. Chapter 11, P. 221-241.

Funded Research Projects

Current (2020-Present)

2020-2024: $500,000, Advancing Social Inclusion through Technology and EmPowerment (a- STEP).
The aim of the COST action is to build an interdisciplinary, intersectoral pan UE and beyond, network which will work to enhance social inclusion and empowerment of individuals with ASD and/or ID and their families. The action will evaluate, create and promote the application of accessible and sustainable assistive technology across education and employment. Over 25 EU partners (research, SME and business).
Funder: COST, European Union H2020.
Role: Co-I and Vice-Chair. Leading research work-packages and UK participation in the project.

2020-2021: $33,500, Integrating Social Robots into School Settings: Co-designing robot-enhanced classrooms for children with autism.
Can a socially assistive robot effectively support the learning, social interactions and well-being of children with a long-term mental condition? Our project is an interdisciplinary investigation of this question: how can a social robot integrate into the eco-system of a SEN (Special Educational Needs) school, and effectively support the day-to-day work of the school staff to support the development, learning and well-being of the children. The main questions we seek to investigate are: (1) What are the (social & spatial) underpinnings of the successful integration of a social robot in a SEN school ecosystem? And (2) Can ambitious co-design with the end-users (teachers, children, parents) deliver a ‘net gain’ for the learning, social interaction and well-being of the students?
Funder: UWE, Vice Chancellors Challenge Fund. Role: PI (with Co-Is Drs Rice and Lemaignan).

2019-2022: $300,000 (with ~ $42,000 to me as Co-I), Immersive Virtual Reality as a Tool for Autistic Pupils and Teachers (IVRAP).
Partnering with Spanish Lead (Universitat de Valencia) and other partners in Turkey, Belgium, and the UK. The IVRAP project is based on the combination of one of the most extended models of autism intervention on education (named Individual Work System) with the power of Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) and Hand-Tracking sensors to manipulate virtual environments.
Funder: Erasmus+ Innovation.
Role: Co-I. Leading 2 work-packages on state of the art and MOOCs for learning.

Previous (2010-2020)

2017-2018: $18,000, Virtual Reality Technologies for Autistic Groups: Social Skills Development (VRTAG- SSD), 
The project will bring a range of interested parties in the area of autism and virtual reality together with a view to assess the state of the art in the field and develop journal outputs and a network that can feed into a research group and EPSRC grant application.
Funder: The University of the West of England, UK (internal QR).
Role: PI Collaborators include the Bristol VR Lab (University of Bristol and UWE), The Bristol Robotics Lab, Opposable VR (Bristol VR company), Professors from the departments of Technology, Arts, Health and Education.

2016-2017: £12,000, MentorMe3D
3D immersive environments to support employment opportunities for autistic people, connecting IT professionals and mentors with ASD groups; working in the IT professions.
Funder: The Big Lottery Fund, UK.
Role: PI (For AUTUS, Charity). Collaborators included the UK Department for work and Pensions, autism groups/agencies, and local professionals.

2014-2016: $35,000, Virtual Reality acceptance, immersion, ecological validity, and negative effects of head-mounted displays used by people with autism: A pilot study.
Funder: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK.
Role: PI (For Bath Spa University), Fellowship and Visiting Assistant Professor, Michigan State University, collaborators included Prof Michael J Leahy (MSU), Drs Sung, Kuo and Plavnick (MSU) and Peckham Inc (Lansing, MI).

2014-2016: $45,000, 3D Innovations
To create, test and evaluate a Job collective for people with Intellectual Difficulties and autism.
Funder: Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, UK.
Role: PI (For AUTUS charity). Collaborators included the UK Department for work and Pensions, autism groups/agencies.

2013-2014:  $45,000, GetSetGo
To create, test and evaluate a digital by default model for peer to peer job collectives enabling 40 young people, 16 of whom had neurodiversity, to help each develop confidence, independence, aspirations and leaderships skills for life and work in an inclusive, cost effective, scalable and sustainable way.
Funder: The Department of Work and Pensions, UK Government Department, UK.
Role: Co-PI (For AUTUS, Charity). Collaborators included the UK Department for work and Pensions, autism groups/agencies.

2011-2013: $100,000, Informal learning environments and virtual environments.
Funder: Leonardo da Vinci: Transfer of Innovation (FP7 EU scheme), IRE.
Role: Co-PI (UCD). Collaborative partners included countries: Spain, Portugal and UK.

ELTL in the Media

Pepper the Robot Helps Autistic Pupils Make Human Friends
Why did the robot cross the road? To tell jokes and lead dances in the corridors of a special needs school. Pepper, a socially intelligent robot, has spent the past three weeks helping pupils at the Mendip School in Somerset, in a first project of its kind to embed a humanoid robot in a school.

Socially intelligent robot helps autistic Somerset pupils
Pepper the robot based at The Mendip School in Somerset has been taking part in social activities designed to help autistic pupils with their wellbeing. Children at the school have been able to approach the robot for help in the three-week project.

Pepper the Robot joins school to support autistic young people
A socially intelligent robot is lending a helping hand to pupils at a special needs school in Somerset as part of a project led by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) researchers. The robot, known as Pepper, is currently based at The Mendip School near Shepton Mallet where it is supporting autistic pupils aged 12 to 19 with their wellbeing and emotions over a three-week period.

Virtual Reality helping children with autism in Somerset
Students at The Mendip School in Prestleigh, have been able to tour museums with VR headsets before going on school trips. They have also been able to learn new social skills and build confidence with this technology. This is a partnership with Virtual Reality company Go Virtually and the University of the West of England.