Matthew Terada, October 5, 2021

Researcher of the Month is Redefining the Limitations of Virtual Reality

School of Information and Technology professor Rob Teather and his research group are focusing on the practical applications that virtual reality technology can have within education, design and entertainment. In wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, our dependence on technology has been brought to attention.

Teather and his group look to enhance virtual reality technologies (VR) by providing an immersive experience that is as accessible as it is applicable.

“By putting people in a virtual environment, VR provides a compelling solution that allows us to use our natural abilities to move and interact in 3D spaces,” says Teather.

Virtual reality, a concept that dates back as far as the early 1900’s, is an emerging technology that is just beginning to be widely accepted and understood for its practical applications. While it has a rich history — most recognized for its use in training, simulators and gaming — VR technology has seen considerable innovation and is becoming a widely accepted tool, not only for its applications in entertainment, but for the social and captivating experience it provides.

Traditional web interactions – while serving their purpose – have left us with a sense of confinement, isolating us from our social norms and experiential tendencies. Teather’s group investigates the limitations of VR technology, looking to create a more accessible experience that reduces user fatigue and motion sickness, while further enhancing user experience by integrating natural abilities such as touch.

Teather explains, “VR collaboration is limited by tracking problems, fatigue from holding your arms up in space to grab objects, and being unable to feel the objects that you touch. Some VR users also experienced motion sickness. My group studies how to improve VR user interaction in a variety of application domains. We look at ways to reduce user fatigue. We develop devices to allow users to touch virtual objects, and we also study ways to reduce VR motion sickness.”

In September 2021, Teather was named Researcher of the Month by the Faculty of Graduate and Posdoctoral Affairs:

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