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Psychology of Augmented Reality

Two things are clear about Augmented Reality. First, the technology will be flooding the consumer, enterprise, and education markets in the next year. Second, researchers know little to nothing about how this novel technology will change social interaction. This project seeks to make advances both in the computer science and the social psychology of AR.

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Integrating VR into Classrooms and Curricula

Virtual reality has been around for decades, and the most studied use case is learning. But most research on learning has occured in the laboratory. How will VR work as a part of an actual curriculum in classrooms and other informal settings?

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Empathy and Perspective Taking

Empathy is defined as the ability to share and understand the feelings of another. Perspective taking is the ability to understand another’s point of view. For more than a decade, researchers at our lab have conducted studies examining these two areas utilizing the unique affordance of virtual reality (VR) that allows users to walk a virtual mile in the shoes of another.

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Virtual Becomes Reality – Immersion and Presence

Presence is the illusion of non-mediation. Presence is what leads to the feeling of being immersed in a virtual environment and the reason that virtual reality (VR) feels real. The concept that VR feels real and therefore can have real-world consequences is the foundation for a majority of our research for the better part of the last two decades.

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Design Thinking

Measuring design performance for effective support of team coaching and redesign efforts has been difficult to near impossible. This is because design is context dependent and takes place in different environments. Virtual reality gives us as designers, the opportunity to construct and simulate different environments, as coaches, the opportunity to improve our effectiveness in different design scenarios, and as researchers, the possibility to measure design performance and factors that affect it.

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Video conferencing is currently the best commercially available telepresence technology, but it is far from the gold standard. Augmented reality (AR) systems, with their ability to superimpose virtual objects in real space and to allow spatial coherence, provide an opportunity for digital experiences that feel much closer to in-person interactions.

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Medical Virtual Reality

The Medical VR Research team is exploring how virtual reality systems can be leveraged to deliver patient therapy, assess mental disorders, and alleviate patient anxiety across a wide range of conditions. We are partnering with teams within Stanford and beyond to further our understanding of VR’s role in the healthcare industry. Please read below for a description of our ongoing medical VR projects.

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Environmental Education

The Environmental Education Research team aims at understanding how VR can be applied to enhancing science, environmental and ocean literacy in order to help address pressing societal issues such as the climate emergency.

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