HOW DO I SET UP A VIRTUAL REALITY LAB?

  • What are the proven benefits of VR in research settings?
  • What physical space layout do I need for a VR lab?
  • What VR and computer hardware is needed?
  • What are the most important selection criteria for me to consider?
  • Which VR displays — from consumer VR headsets to 3D multi-wall projection displays should I consider?
  • Which VR input devices — from haptic gloves to biofeedback devices and eye tracking — should I consider?
  • What software for creating VR environments should I consider?
WorldViz VR Lab at University of Dayton
WorldViz VR Lab at Stanford University
WorldViz VR Lab at WorldViz headquarters
  1. In-Depth Reading Before You Purchase a VR Lab
Ecological Validity of VR as a research tool
  • Ease of use / easy to learn, even for non-programmers
  • Robust open source community libraries of VR code that can accelerate development of simulated environments
  • Enhanced “rapid application development” to speed the building of VR environments — often one of the key requirements for industrial applications
  • Compatibility with different types of VR system setups and, in particular, with a variety of VR input and output technologies (for example, desktop walkthrough, CAVE, and VR headset). Rendering software should support those integrations hassle-free
  • Is your space better suited for 3D projection onto one or multiple walls, or for a VR headset based system that provides some room to roam around freely?
  • Will the participant(s) be walking around, standing or sitting down?
  • Can participants wear VR headsets or not? A 3D Projection system might be the best solution for group settings with no need for VR headsets.
  • If walking, how much physical space will they need to move around?
  • Will the participant and the researcher be in the same space or not?
  • What factors may interfere with getting optimal motion tracking (i.e. interference for motion tracking systems sensitive to infrared light, line-of-sight occlusion, etc.)
  • Can the area be kept free from obstacles, allowing participants to freely roam around wearing a VR headset?
  • Will your simulation require networking, allowing remote participants to connect in a simulation?
  • Will you measure physiological data on participants using biofeedback devices, or even fMRI equipment?
  • Are there any factors in your designated physical space that may adversely affect research results?
  • Visual Display: 3D Wall, 2 sided, or more (especially for education, training, etc)
  • VR Headset
  • Mixed Reality
  • Motion Tracking
  • Rendering computers: Backpack PCs
  • Input device
  • Projector or large screen to see the experiment live
  • Accessories such as gloves, trackers for body parts
  • Speakers and sound
  • Physiological measuring sensors
  • Eye tracking
3D shutter glasses and emitter
Ultra short throw projector
  • Operating system: Windows 10 (requires a 64bit OS)
  • CPU: Intel™ Core™ i5–4590 equivalent or better
  • Memory: 6 GB GPU — GTX 2060
  • Hard drive: 1.8 GB free
  • Data Gloves: Such as the Manus VR data gloves
  • Full body tracking systems
  • Haptic devices
  • Sound and Speakers
  • Physiological Measuring Devices
  • Design with data analysis goals in mind.
  • If presenting UI or other elements to a user, keep in mind it is most comfortable to view objects at 0.75 to 3.5 meters from eyes.
  • Capture behavioral data, events, physiological responses, in a meaningful way.
  • Try to avoid moving a user’s viewpoint without them controlling it, as this can cause nausea.
  • Ideally a user should be able to walk naturally and not have to use a controller.
  • Make sure to optimize your models so that you can keep a consistent frame rate. Lower frame rates and jumps in frame rate consistency can be uncomfortable for the user. You want to shoot for a framerate that matches that of the VR headset (usually around 90 fps).

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WorldViz VR

WorldViz VR

WorldViz is an industry-leading provider of virtual reality solutions for R&D, enterprise and public sectors. For more information, visit www.worldviz.com.