Five Finnish universities and 14 companies have started a large research and development project to improve virtual devices and content. Perspective and purpose of HUMOR project is globally highly significance. The research topic is the compatibility of XR hardware, software and content with humans.
Companies struggle with ergonomics because of human perceptual and physiology problems. Evidence based scientific facts will tackle this by offering specific understanding of human perception system for the content and hardware developers. When methods from perception science and neuroscience are combined with technology development births perception engineering, a new perspective to VR, AR and XR.
The key result of the HUmorXR project will be a global de facto standard for XR product development. Standard addresses the key parameters of products and guidelines how they are designed for optimal human perception and user comfort. This positions the whole Finnish industry and Finnish research into top position in XR development globally. User experience has a huge impact on the business.
The research collaboration in the project is carried out by the University of Oulu, the University of Tampere, the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and the University of Eastern Finland. The project has six million in funding for two years. The research is done in joint working groups with companies. The most important information is obtained by measuring people and their experiences. Funding comes from Business Finland, universities and companies. The project partners are Huawei, Dispelix, Savox, Kone, Cubicasa, Optofidelity, Valve, Seetrue, Upknowledge, Varjo, UKI Architects, Collaprime and YLE.
With VR, the ‘killer app’ is yet to come. While entertainment -games and movies- has been touted as a no-brainer for VR applications, we are yet to see a truly transformative application in that area. Professor Steven LaValle from the University of Oulu is keen to point out that the technology provides a very strong first-person experience, which has the power to really affect society on many levels.
-With VR, what you are engineering is perceptional illusion. You’re tricking the brain. We didn’t engineer ourselves as a species, and that’s why I like to say we are reverse-engineering human physiology and perception. And this is really important, because if I don’t get it right, people are uncomfortable, sometimes even to the point of vomiting, LaValle points out.
Bringing an immersive VR experience to reality does require technology and there are some hurdles to be crossed. Display technology is currently one of the bottlenecks in terms of latency and resolution, as well as physical size and weight. Wireless communications is also a factor. Computational needs must be addressed as well, and everything needs to be ergonomic and comfortable to avoid nausea and fatigue for the human user. That´s why XR must be human optimized. That´s why this research project has highly importance.
Steven LaValle runs a research group focusing on XR broadly. He is currently building a consortium of top university researchers and companies around the XR (VR/ AR) ecosystem, starting first in Finland and then extending to the European Union and beyond. The team is an interdisciplinary mix of experts in virtual reality, robotics, and neuropsychology.
-We have state of the art facilities, including a robot arm, human sized 3D scanner, mobile robot, numerous VR headsets including Varjo. We are also the only university in the world to have special robots (from OptoFidelity) to measure VR headset latency, which are the standard in the top global companies. Lately we have investigated ways to make telepresence more comfortable. We have just developed an algorithm that computes comfortable trajectories for a robot that carries a 360 camera, to which users can be interfaced via a VR headset, LaValle explains.
-We have also recently discovered a plausibility paradox when we make VR users believe that they have been substantially reduced in size when immersed in a virtual world. They have unrealistic expectations about how the physics of the world behaves at a small scale, which must be taken into account for health care, education, maintenance training, and microscale virtual prototyping, LaValle continues.
More information: Jani Vallirinne, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://humanoptimizedxr.org