Virtual Nature is a desktop application created by The BMS Lab. Researchers at the University of Twente can use the software to create various virtual nature scenes in order to study participants’ well-being, social presence, and more.
Aside from its visual elements, sounds, and music can be integrated within the scenes as well as scents within the research environment.
Virtual Nature for Research and Education #
At the BMS Lab, Virtual Nature has been used to conduct a wide variety of research. One example is the Augmented Nature. This research used Virtual Nature to create different nature scenes in order to investigate its effect on the elderly’s social connectedness.
For the published article see: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/18/6879
To make the virtual nature scenes more realistic, you can borrow different scents from the BMS Lab.
Best Practices #
To reduce potential issues and challenges, keep the following points in mind before using Virtual Nature for your research:
Planning Your Research Design #
- 1. Think about what you would like to measure? When? What will it deliver afterwards? And how does Virtual Nature fit within your research. This helps you realize what you need to build, when and how much time it will likely take.
- 2. Take practical aspects into account: is there an easier way to do it? Uncertain? Ask the BMS Lab.
- 3. Consider the limitations of the software to your study. Keep in mind that Virtual Nature is in continuous development which means that bugs might be introduced as a result.
Developing Your Research #
- 1. Ensure that you have approximately 2 – 3 weeks to build your research. You might need to adapt your methodology based on Virtual Nature’s functionalities (see “Further Support” section) or you might need time to get an answer from the BMS Lab.
- 2. Your introduction screen should adequately inform your participants and meet the BMS faculty’s ethical standard on informed consent.
- 3. Any time you make new additions, make sure to regularly test your research from the participant’s perspective.
- 4. Duplicate your research to have a clean back-up version.
- 5. Test your final version as a participant.
- 6. Download your data metrics to ensure that the data output fits with your research.
- 7. Found a bug or issue? Go to the troubleshooting section and fill in the form.
Want to use Virtual Nature? #
Go first through the steps on how to reserve the software or go directly through our project registration to start the reservation process.