WorldViz Installs Virtual Reality IMMERSE Lab at University of Central Florida
January 25, 2022
Daniel Tinkham & Corey Bohil
The state-of-the-art VR lab brings together researchers from multiple disciplines to embark on a new chapter of academic research
Author: Daniel Tinkham, Head of Sales Americas, WorldViz & Corey Bohil, Associate Director, Human Factors & Cognitive Program, Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida
WorldViz is excited to announce the delivery and installation of a new, state of the art virtual reality research lab at University of Central Florida. The research lab, designed in collaboration between WorldViz and the Department of Psychology at UCF, will give researchers and students access to the latest virtual and augmented reality systems with integrated physiological data collection, eye tracking, and an emphasis on multi-user and social collaborative capabilities, resulting in a “lab without limits.”
The new lab space, named UCF IMMERSE (Ideas for Merging Measures in Enhanced Reality and Social Environments), is an interdisciplinary laboratory that brings together researchers from each of the UCF Psychology Department’s concentration areas. This includes Human Factors & Cognition, Industrial/Organizational, and Clinical Psychology as well as UCF’s initiatives in STEM Program which coordinates STEM education and research efforts across the university.
The UCF IMMERSE Lab features three foundational components designed by WorldViz that provide maximum flexibility and empower UCF to be a leader in the emerging metaverse. The first is a series of four interconnected WorldViz VizMove VR headset systems, each with integrated eye tracking (HTC Vive Pro Eye), biofeedback (BIOPAC BioNomadix, Cognionics EEG), and data gloves (Manus VR). These systems are designed to be portable and modular and can be deployed offsite or combined in the lab to create a 4 user social collaborative virtual environment with exceptional data collection capabilities. These multi-user capabilities extend beyond the lab allowing for colocated or remote interactivity to test new paradigms in virtual reality social scenarios.
The second component is a cutting edge augmented reality headset, the Coalescence system, designed by Collins Aerospace that merges real world objects with virtual environments. This type of system was designed for military training applications and will give students and researchers the ability to be among the first adopters of this advanced technology.
Anchoring the whole lab space is a large-scale interactive immersive display, the WorldViz VizMove Projection VR system, a hybrid AR/VR system which provides groups of users the ability to collaboratively interact with 3D environments and datasets while being able to communicate with each other directly in the same shared physical space.
Tying all three of these systems together is the WorldViz Vizard VR Development platform, a flexible and extensible Python based toolset that enables the creation of VR scenarios in minutes. Vizard’s ability to easily connect to a wide variety of hardware devices and real time data streams and sensors enables the types of advanced and unique research-focused applications UCF will be pursuing in the IMMERSE Lab.
WorldViz and UCF are looking forward to the growth and development of their partnership in the years to come and to the exciting research opportunities and exposure to emerging technology this lab will provide to UCF and the wider Orlando community. Current projects in the lab focus on Education and Training, Team Collaboration/Multi-user Interaction, and Attention/Presence.
The development of IMMERSE was funded through the Department of Defense HBCU/MI Program (Award # W911NF1910442).