The £290,000 award will support Professor Jian Zhang and his colleagues in the BU-based National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) over the next three years as they develop improvements to lifelike animated humans.
The new and improved ‘virtual’ humans developed by the NCCA will be used by project partners at UCL (University College London) and the University of Lancaster in a series of psychology experiments, observed by the Metropolitan Police.
The project will test how people respond to extreme social situations - particularly the ‘bystander effect’ - using an immersive virtual environment like Second Life where real people interact with each other socially through lifelike animated characters.
The bystander effect suggests that the more witnesses there are to an emergency, the less likely an individual bystander is to intervene. This phenomenon was identified as a particular consequence of the assault and murder of Kitty Genovese in New York in 1964 which was witnessed by some 38 people, all of whom remained bystanders and failed to come to Kitty’s aid.
Scientists have previously been unable to study the bystander effect, even under controlled conditions, due to ethical and practical reasons. However, the advanced animated humans and environments created by the NCCA will give scientists a unique opportunity to test the bystander effect in the context of a ‘controlled’ immersive virtual environment.
“We want to dramatically improve the quality of these social virtual environments,” said Professor Zhang, Director of BU’s Computer Animation Research Centre. “We also want to contribute to the growing body of research that uses virtual environments as a laboratory for social psychological research.
“Other studies have already shown that real people tend to respond realistically in virtual social situations,” Professor Zhang continued. “As our real participants take part in the study within the virtual environments we’ll be creating, we will measure their physiological, behavioural, cognitive and emotional responses to that environment. These responses will help us to learn even more about the bystander effect and should provide further insight into many other psychological phenomenon.”
Professor Zhang also hopes that the techniques developed through the project may have applications in 3D computer games.
Charles Elder | alfa
Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation
18.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Algorithmen und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen SCAI
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences