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4. Virtual reality and wellbeing


In this lecture/workshop, Prof. Stone and colleagues will explore the technologies of Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality (VR, AR and MR), plus 360 “panoramic” image and video techniques focusing on their use and application in delivering scenes of nature, based on real and conceptual landscapes to end users for the purposes of relaxation, cognitive restoration and rehabilitation.

They will also present examples of the growing link between their “scenes of virtual” nature research and the expanding field of Virtual Heritage, enabling long-lost sites and artefacts from the past to be brought to life, not only for historical education purposes, but also with the aim of encouraging individuals to exercise by exploring rural areas to a greater extent than they might do otherwise. “Hands-on” demonstrations of recent projects will be available for attendees to experience a range of VR technologies.

At the end of this session delegates will be able to:
  • Understand the importance of the natural environment, both real and virtual, for human health and well-being.
  • Understand the importance of human-centred design in the definition of virtual scene fidelity and the appropriate selection of interactive hardware for data input and data display.
  • Discuss and raise awareness of the power of techniques such as VR, AR and MR, together with 360 panoramic imaging in supporting cognitive restoration and physical rehabilitation.
  • Locate and access assets from online 3D and VR rendering sites for development purposes, illustrated using recent student project examples in the rapid development of virtual environments for healthcare applications.

Professor Bob Stone

Bob, a Chartered Psychologist, Human Factors specialist and a 30+ year veteran of the international Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality community, is Professor of Interactive Multimedia Systems at the University of Birmingham, where he is also Director of the Human Interface Technologies Team. In 1993, Bob established the world’s first industrial VR team at the UK’s National Advanced Robotics Centre, following an appearance on the BBC’s 9 O’Clock News.

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