Steven M. LaValle

Virtual Reality and Perception Engineering

In this research, we view virtual reality (VR) as a problem of perception engineering, which requires the design, development, and delivery of a perceptual illusion through artificial stimulation of the human senses. Each human sense is capable of such illusions; in the case of vision, we qare familiar with many optical illusions. Because VR directly impacts the human body and even disrupts its ordinary functions, it is crucial to understand human physiology, neuroscience, and perception and how they respond to VR technology. We strive to determine perception-based and physiology-based criteria that capture important qualities such as task effectiveness, comfort, and presence. These criteria are used to guide the engineering specifications for VR systems. Typical challenges are viewpoint movement, display artifacts, rendering methods, interaction mechanisms, distributed computation, and limitations of wireless communication. Perception engineering involves the forward engineering of VR systems with the tight integration of low-level human considerations, which are essentially obtained via reverse engineering (we did not engineer ourselves). Based on current academic fields, this requires a highly interdisciplinary approach; however, one day perception engineers might emerge, who are specifically trained in methodologies based on the science of perception. This would follow a similar path as existing engineering fields. Civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering derive from physics. Chemical and biological engineering derive from chemistry and biology, respectively. Likewise, perception engineering should derive from perceptual psychology and related fields of physiology, medicine, and neuroscience, while also building upon existing engineering principles. See my Virtual Reality book for further reading.

Papers on Virtual Reality and Perception Engineering

The plausibility paradox for small-scale virtual environments. M. Pouke, K. J. Mimnaugh, T. Ojala, and S. M. LaValle. In IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces, 2020. [pdf].

Virtual reality for robots. M. Suomalainen, A. Q. Nilles, and S. M. LaValle. In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2020. Under review, [pdf].

Can simulated nature support health? Comparing short, single-doses of 360-degree nature videos in virtual reality with the outdoors. M. H. E. M. Browning, K. J. Mimnaugh, C. J. van Riper, H. K. Laurent, and S. M. LaValle. Frontiers in Psychology, 2020. [pdf].

Asessing postural instability and cybersickness through linear and angular displacement. C. J. Widdowson, I. Becerra-Duran, C. Merrill, J. Wang, and S. M. LaValle. The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, October 2019. [pdf].

Efficacy study on interactive mixed reality (IMR) software with sepsis prevention medical education. N. K. Sankaran, H. J Nisar, J. Zhang, K. Formella, J. Amos, L. T. Barker, J. Vozenilek, S. M. LaValle, and T. Kesavadas. In IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces, 2019. [pdf].

Effects of visual realism and moving detail on cybersickness. M. Pouke, A. Tiiro, S. M. LaValle, and T. Ojala. In IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces, 2018. [pdf].

Head tracking for the Oculus Rift. S. M. LaValle, A. Yershova, M. Katsev, and M. Antonov. In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2014. [pdf].