Virtual reality (VR) has been taking off all around the world for a number of years. As a result, you can find VR anywhere. Ranging from consumer´s homes to high-end showrooms. That is because Virtual Reality allows one to fully immerse another inside a custom created world. This offers opportunities for both entertainment and research purposes. The BMS lab is equipped for the latter and is able to support researchers in their studies that include Virtual reality.
Types of Virtual Reality
The BMS lab offers different types of Virtual Reality (VR) experiences, including the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive pro, mobile and immersive beamer-based setups. All Virtual Reality setups allow researchers to place their participants in a world of their own creation. Furthermore, all have the benefit of creating high levels of immersion. The HTC Vive Pro and ManouVR offer movement and interaction to the participant and can thus be used in more demanding types of research. Furthermore mobile setups, cardboards, and a beamer-based immersive setup is possible.
HTC Vive Pro
The HTC Vive setup allows for a more complete experience and fuller immersion into the Virtual world. This is because users can walk around in the world and interact with it. Movement is limited to the confines of the available physical space. Even more immersion is added by the inclusion of the HTC Vive controllers. This is because they allow the user to interact with and impact the world. This HTC Vive Pro setup allows for a broader range of studies, because they can include procedures, puzzles or tasks, while still offering great usability for researchers.
The ManouVR setup is the most advanced setup available in the BMS lab. This is because it contains a VR setup, dome shaped pad and a full suspension harness. As a result, it allows for the most intense immersion and least interrupted VR experiences. Users can interact with the world without the need for controllers due to an innovative motion tracking camera. Furthermore, they walk around indefinitely as a result of the slippery white dome and harness and won’t be bothered or restricted by falling danger. This setup is hence a secure VR setup.
Why use Virtual Reality for research?
The social sciences are greatly empowered by Virtual Reality. This is because of three main reasons. First, participants are completely immersed in the VR world, which increases the believability of any kind of stimulus material and aids in the external validity of studies. Secondly, virtual reality gives total control over the cues the participants are subjected to. As a result, this greatly reduces outside noise and gives more freedom for stimulus creation. Third and finally, virtual reality gives researchers the opportunity to specify task sets for participants to follow and enables them to nudge or force participants in the execution of these tasks.