Stanford University


Medical Virtual Reality Research

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.

Environmental Education Research

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. We conduct our studies in a wide range of settings, from small scale qualitative studies to large-scale quantitative studies across many multiple locations around the world (we are currently recruiting partners for this large-scale study).

Social Interaction in 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.

Examining Racism with Virtual Reality

With funding from the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, we are using the medium of VR to examine racism. In collaboration with Dr. Courtney Cogburn from Columbia University, we have created 1000 Cut Journey, an immersive virtual reality experience that allows you to walk in the shoes of Michael Sterling, a Black male, and encounter racism first-hand, as a young child, an adolescent, and a young adult. Understanding the social realities of racism is critical to promoting effective and collective social action.

Empathy at Scale

The following project seeks to design, test, and distribute virtual reality interventions that teach empathy. Virtual reality simulations allow learners to experience the life of someone else by “walking a mile” in his or her shoes. Through the capabilities of the technology, learners can see their appearance and behaviors reflected in a virtual mirror as someone who is different, and perceptually experience a scenario from the perspective of any party in a social interaction.

Immersion and Presence

As virtual reality technology moves from laboratories to living rooms, the question, “how immersive is enough” has become uniquely important. For governments and corporations who seek to build systems, it is critical to know exactly how immersive these systems need to be. Inspired by an exhaustive meta-analysis on the qualities that make up an ideal virtual experience, the Immersion at Scale project seeks to explore the degree of immersion required for an ideal virtual experience through the use of mobile virtual reality systems.