Embodied immersion in virtual reality
The aim of this project is to investigate and develop the method of creating correspondence between physical/performed actions and the visual virtual action presented inside the virtual environment. The interest is to have the best physical-virtual correspondence possible and moreover, to observe the effect that an inaccurate visual feed-back will have on the perception of immersion.
The people implied in this project are : Christian Van Brussel, Martin Edwards, Benoit Macq.
Research in the psy-naps and the numerical cognition groups work together to investigate how modified interactions in the virtual environment influence spatial cognition processes. Virtual reality provides an excellent experimental method for these investigations as we can manipulate the interaction between action capability, body representation and the environment. The investigations assess how these manipulations influence perception of distances and magnitudes, both between a virtual object and the virtual self, and between different virtual objects.
The people working on this thematic are : Martin Edwards, Mauro Pesenti, Stéphane Grade, Christian Van Brussel, Valerie Dormal.
Anxiety disorders and phobias
The research centre in psychological health and development (CSDP) has an ongoing research project that investigates the psychology of anxiety disorders. Within this project, the psychology of phobias is investigated and in a recent project, the fear of flying (aerophobia), where people are afraid and unable to travel in planes is being considered. The use of virtual reality provides a useful method for investigating phobias within a safe environment, and furthermore, allows for the use of other laboratory measures such as EEG that would normally be difficult to use in real environments where the phobic stimuli is present (for example, in an aeroplane). As well as developing the understanding of phobia cognition, the group is also interested in using virtual reality for the treatment of phobias and anxiety disorders.
The people working on this thematic are : Pierre Philippot and his group.
Social interactions in virtual reality
Information for this project will be posted soon.
The people implied in this project are : Vincent Yzerbyt and his research group.
Brain-computer interface and virtual reality
The aim of this project is to investigate the brain activity associated with executing actions, and to use the brain activity to operate virtual actions made by a virtual avatar in virtual reality. The project will work with participants that have impaired limb actions, either through stroke or through limb amputation, and aim to harness and develop brain action execution simulations as a means of treating psychological deficits that result from impaired body representations.
People working on this thematic are : Emanuele Pasqualotto and Martin Edwards.
Equipment used by the IVE Lab.
Head Mounted Displays
In order to immerse individuals within a 3D virtual environment, we use head mounted display technology. The devices are placed on the participant's head so that two screens are positioned in front of the eyes, one screen for each eye. The visual disparity between the two visual screens enables the perception of a 3D virtual environment. As this is the core feature of presenting a virtual environment to the user, we are acquiring numerous head mounted displays for the different research projects.
The devices allow for the recording of physical body movements and can be used to create correspondence between a physical and visual virtual action. The equipment is necessary for creating virtual avatar movements. There are a number of different motion analysis systems that are used in the IVE lab. These are described below.
5DT data gloves.
The 5DT data gloves allow for the recording of individual finger movements in each hand. The gloves contain flexible sticks on each of the finger and the thumbs that can be bended. The motion analysis records the amount of bending that occurs for each digit when a participant performs actions (for example grasping). The recordings are used to control the individual digits of the virtual presented hands so that physical hand actions correspond to the visual virtual presentations.
--> You can visit the 5DT website by clicking here.
Polhemus liberty motion trackers (wired and wireless).
The Polhemus liberty motion analysis system is used to record body action coordinates, for example, limb position. The recordings are implemented into a virtual avatar that adopts the same movements and body postures that the real person is performing, providing correspondence between the physically performed actions and the visual virtual actions in the virtual environment. The trackers work by a reference source that emits a magnetic field and different sensors that capture their position in space relative to the position of the magnetic field source. Each sensors records 3D coordinates (X, Y, Z) and three different orientation angles (azimuth, elevation and roll) 240 times a second. These recordings are integrated into the virtual reality software and allow animations of movement in the virtual avatars.
--> You can visit the polhemus website by clicking here.
Within the IVE lab, we are using different open-sources software to create virtual objects, persons and environments. These are described below.
Crystal Space is a software development kit (SDK) providing real-time 3D graphics for applications using virtual reality. We use it to create virtual environments and integrate avatars and objects. Many environments can be created, for example, the inside of a plane, a virtual city or the inside of a house.
--> You can go to the Chrystal space homepage by following this link
Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software product used for creating animated films, visual effects, interactive 3D applications or video games.
Blender is mainly used for 3D modelling, and in the IVE Lab, we use it to create virtual objects that can be inserted in the virtual environments created by crystal space.
--> You can visit the blender website by following this link.
MakeHuman is also an Open Source software application and it is used to generate 3D humanoid avatars. The created avatars can be edited for their gender, age, appearance, clothes, hair etc...
--> You can visit the makehuman website by clicking on this link
Virtual Reality equipment providers
Research groups involved in the IVE Lab.
- The Psy-NAPS laboratory : The research group investigates the relationships between perception and action behaviour in the disciplines of psychology, neuroscience and neuropsychology.
- Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Electronics and Applied Mathematics (ICTEAM) : The institute carries out basic and applied research in the fields of information and communication technologies, electronics, computer science and applied mathematics.
- The Numerical Cognition Group : The research group investigates the functional aspects of calculation and numerical processing, and their related neuro-anatomical correlates.
- The centre for the study of Social Behaviour (CECoS) : The research centre focuses on understanding social behaviour at the individual, interpersonal, organizational and community leve