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Affordance Studies in Virtual Reality

Primary Investigators:
Bobby Bodenheimer
Brief Description of Project:
In this project we will work on designing better virtual worlds. We will study how people understand and act in such worlds, and in particular, look at how people understand what actions are possible for them to perform. The ability to understand how to act in a virtual world is essential for it to convey an effective experience. By studying how people interact with virtual environments and comparing that interaction to what happens in the real world, we can understand better how to improve these environments.

This research will develop a basis for understanding how people perceive, act, and reason about space in immersive virtual environments. The project further explores how both locomotion and feedback from the virtual environment in the form of self-representation impact perception-action and spatial learning. In these endeavors we will examine individual differences among groups of people based on factors such as age, gender, and characterizations of spatial abilities. These differences will be analyzed to derive actionable recommendations on how to design virtual environments and customize active learning methods to best benefit children at different development stages.

Desired Qualifications:
US Citizen/Permanent Resident. CS 2201 or 2204 required; CS 3251 and/or VR experience would be best; inquire if you don't have these but have qualifications that may serve.
Nature of Supervision:
This research project will be supervised by the faculty supervisor much as any undergraduate research project or independent study. In particular, the faculty supervisor and students will have structured one-to-one meetings every week and additional supervision time as needed. They will also be mentored by senior graduate students within the faculty member's group, and will participate in weekly group meetings.
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
This is a full 10 week project. Weeks 1-3 will be spent getting oriented and learning to use the virtual reality or augmented reality devices. Weeks 4-7 will be spent developing environments and code that support navigation in either virtual reality or augmented reality. Weeks 8-10 will be spent assessing and refining the developed environments and code.
Number of Open Slots: 2
Contact Information:
Name: Bobby Bodenheimer
Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science