Sultan A. Alharthi

[LinkedIn] [ResearchGate] [] [@sultanalharthi]

I am a senior PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Doctorate program at New Mexico State University with a concentration in Computer Science and Psychology.

My research is on game design and serious games as training/learning tools. Following an Activity Theory approach, I’m interested in understanding urban search & rescue teams sensemaking and planning practices to inform the design of game mechanics and interfaces and develop simulation games for training. I’m involved in multiple research areas of HCI including: mixed reality games, serious games, augmented and virtual reality, gesture based interaction, and idle games. I have been a co-chair for publicity and social media in the ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer- Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’16).

Currently working on:

  1. Working on a multiplayer cooperative game to investigate in-game planning mechanics and interfaces to support training disaster responders.
  2. Working on a research project to create a comprehensive taxonomy of idle games though a grounded theory approach.
  3. Working on a research project to study incremental games through techniques of close reading and hermeneutics.
  4. Working on a project to compare hand gesture devices for games.


  1. Zachary O. Toups, William A. Hamilton, and Sultan A. Alharthi. 2016. Playing at  Planning: Game Design Patterns from Disaster Response Practice. In Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’16). 362–375. [doi]

Previous Projects:

  • Ice House (2016). A wearable tactical communication and support system for first responders. The project involved designing user interfaces and a decision support system for Sony Smarteyeglass and smartphones running on Android. Java, XML, RabbitMQ. [PDF]
  • Cognitive Offloading (2016). The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between cognitive offloading onto technological devices and simple task performance. [PDF]
  • Jupiter (2015). A user story management system to support Agile software development methodology to keep track of development requirment in a simple and concise way. JavaFX. [PDF]
  • Pianomosh (2015). A game that allow players to use free-air hand gestures to learn simple piano notes in a fun way. Pure Data, Leap Motion. [Video][Pictures]

Previous Degrees:

Masters of Science, Computer Science
California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California, USA

Bachelor in Interdisciplinary Studies, Computer Science and Education
Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia

Media Coverage:

  • IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBS) coverage on wining the Icehouse challenge sponsored by MIT Lincoln Laboratory during the 2016 Body Sensor Network Conference, San Francisco, CA, USA

Winners of the 2016 Ice House Challenge

Winners of the 2016 Ice House Challenge #BSN16 – Sultan Alharthi and Hitesh Nidhi Sharma of New Mexico State University. Team members not pictured: Cayden Wilson and Sunka Sachin. Congratulations! #IceHouse2016 MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Posted by IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBS) on Friday, June 17, 2016

  • Las Cruces Sun-News coverage on wining the Icehouse challenge. [Article]