Penguins in Florida?: METL VR Study on Animal Conservation to be Presented at IEEE GEM Conference in Ireland Next Month
An METL-built virtual reality (VR) simulation takes you to Antarctica to rehabilitate oil-slicked penguins. The simulation is being used in a variety of studies to examine how virtual interactions with endangered animals can contribute to conservation outcomes.
Humans are thought to favor conservation of large
rather than small animals. However, this “size matters” bias has yet
to be empirically validated. If this bias exists, traditional experimental
methods cannot examine how human-animal interactions may offset
this bias because public access to threatened species is limited. To
address these issues, the METL created a virtual reality (VR)
simulation where users assume the role of a volunteer in-training sent
to rehabilitate Antarctic penguin species caught in an ecological
The objective of the simulation was to serve as a novel tool for
(a) empirical testing of the “size matters” bias, (b) exploration of how
human-animal interactions in VR can offset this bias, and (c)
measuring conservation outcomes using VR.
The study will be presented at the IEEE GEM 2018 conference in Galway, Ireland, and was produced by Daniel Pimentel, Dr. Sri Kalyanaraman, and Dr. Shiva Halan. IEEE GEM is a platform for disseminating innovative research and development work on game, entertainment, and media technologies, applying lessons learned, and developing new ideas through audience interaction. Participation from all sectors including academia, industry, and government is welcome. To learn more about the conference, and access a full list of presentations, visit: http://sites.ieee.org/ieeegem/