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Positive Impact of VR on Investigating Human Performance and Perception

The enormous increase in performance of graphic hardware and display technology over the years has brought us the power to create virtual environments that are capable of producing sensory experiences of unprecedented realism. It is true that 'sensory' usually means 'visual' or 'auditory' but that combination in itself seems to be powerful enough to start with. Furthermore, if properly set up, the interaction of the observer with the virtual environment can provide haptic, tactile and proprioceptive experiences as well. To summarize, these techniques offer us the possibility to combine extremely detailed, complex, interactive, multi-sensory scenes with a very high level of control: an almost optimal setting for our experiments. We would like to forward the view that this new approach, though extremely demanding in terms of equipment, skills, time, manpower, and creativity might ultimately provide us with a highly valuable and more direct way of probing and understanding human cognition and behaviour. Providing support for this view has become part of our scientific mission.

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics | Spemannstr. 38 | 72070 Tübingen | Germany
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