Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab

Go behind the scenes and take a virtual tour of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. The lab aims to research psychological experimentation in the virtual world, according to Associate Professor of Communication Jeremy Bailenson. “We integrate three virtual senses in a way that’s very psychologically persuasive — sight, sound and touch.

The state-of-the-art lab also offers a glimpse of the near future in household entertainment. “We’re using this cutting-edge lab to try to think ahead by a few years to predict what household technology is going to be like and how that’s going to affect people,” Bailenson said.

The VHIL VR Lab integrates technology that can stimulate three of the human senses at once —spatialized sound, virtual touch (haptics), and three-dimensional imagery. The lab features cutting edge equipment for tracking motion, rendering graphics, and displaying visual, aural, and haptic information. Kornberg Associates Architects have collaborated with Worldviz LLC, the world’s leading virtual reality creators, and Stanford University to renovate all aspects of the lab.

The lab includes a multisensory room that allows participants to explore a 20 by 20 foot space with spatialized sound, floor shakers, and a new head-mounted display (HMD). The HMD is tethered to a ceiling mount and allows an unrestricted range of motion in the multisensory room. In addition, the spatialized sound system makes sounds “move” around the lab space and allows users to hear natural and realistic aural information without relying on headphones. Surface motion is incorporated into experiments through the installation of floor shakers. Controlled vibrations give users the sensation of movement, which will increase the compelling nature of the virtual world. At one moment, a user may feel immersed in an earthquake simulation, while the next moment the sensations may simulate crossing a suspension bridge.

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