Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Virtual reality helps scientists to see how we see

04.06.2003


Oxford scientists are using the latest virtual reality technology to study how we perceive the world in 3D. The “immersive virtual reality” used by the Virtual Reality Research Group at Oxford University allows subjects to walk around or look up and down while what they see through a headset changes accordingly – they can explore the virtual environment by literally walking around. Meanwhile, the scientists monitor how they are perceiving the dimensions of their ‘Matrix’-style world.



The researchers want to investigate how our visual system converts a 2D image on the retina into a 3D representation of the world – especially when we move around. Dr Andrew Glennerster, who heads the research group, explains: “Normally, as we move around, our eyes jump from object to object about three times a second, yet we are quite unaware of any change. We are also unaware of the swirling patterns of motion that are generated on the retina as we move in a static environment. How does the brain make sense of all this rapidly changing visual information?” By controlling that changing visual information using immersive virtual reality, the researchers can see how the brain reacts to specific visual cues.

In the experiments, visual environments are experienced in real time as the subject, wearing a headset projecting images to each eye, moves around. “The equipment tracks the observer’s head, arm and eye movements and changes the images the eyes see through the headset so as to mimic the changes that would occur if they were exploring a real environment,” explains Dr Glennerster. Previous research into 3D vision has usually been done with the observer’s head clamped in one position.


The virtual reality system can also play tricks on the observer, to study how the brain reacts to controlled variations. In one experiment, the scene gradually expands as the observer walks through it. The researchers have found the observer’s assumption that the room has stayed the same size is so strong that it seems to overcome evidence from motion parallax and binocular disparity (the normal visual cues for shape and size): people can be fooled into thinking two objects are the same size even when one is four times larger than the other.

The project draws together various disciplines, with psychologists and physiologists working in collaboration with engineers in the robotics group at Oxford. The research is in relatively early stages, but it could yield exciting results. “Very few experiments have ever been carried out that test how the brain represents 3D while a person is moving,” says Dr Glennerster. “This forms part of a bigger question troubling neuroscience – how is information from different times and places linked together in the brain in a coherent way?”

Ruth Collier | alfa
Further information:
http://www.physiol.ox.ac.uk

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues
16.08.2017 | University of Oxford

nachricht Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>