METL Presents VR Research at 2019 IEEEVR Conference in Osaka, Japan

By Destiny Cardentey

VR remains a compelling media platform with potential to contribute to social good initiatives, and continues to be a primary focus of the METL as it emphasizes the use of immersive storytelling to build towards one or more of the United Nation's (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the most prominent venues to showcase emerging applications of VR in such contexts is at the Institute of Electrical Electronics Engineering Virtual Reality (IEEE VR) conference, where hundreds of industry and academic researchers convene to share and discuss ongoing interdisciplinary research. This year, the METL presented two research projects at the IEEE VR conference in Osaka, Japan.

IEEE VR, which took place at the end of March, is one of the premier international venues for the presentation of research in the broad area of immersive media. The conference highlights various applications of VR technology across a variety of contexts, including mental health, physical well-being, and environmental conservation, among several others. Two papers in particular were presented by Daniel Pimentel, METL coordinator. The projects explore how immersive experiences can contribute to environmental conservation and physical well-being, respectively.

Climate Change on your Plate

Daniel Pimentel discussing the Virtual Seafood Buffet simulation at IEEEVR 2019.

The first paper, titled Customizing Climate Change on your Plate: A VR Seafood Buffet is led by Daniel Pimentel and co-authored with Ricardo Amaya, Dr. Shiva Halan, Dr. Sri Kalyanaraman, and Dr. Jeremy Bailenson (Stanford). In collaboration with Stanford University, the project focuses on how VR can be an effective means by which to communicate the adverse effects of ocean acidification on seafood quality. In the VR prototype, built by Ricardo Amaya, users navigate a virtual seafood buffet and experience the degradation of their favorite foods in real time according to scientific projections. The project seeks to raise awareness of ocean acidification’s impact on marine life, and thereby its influence over food quality, and simultaneously inspire action towards a more sustainable society.

VR and Tattoo Pain

Tattoo recipient undergoing the VR intervention during the field experiment at Body Tech (artist: Aubrey Brand).

Virtual Games and Volitional Pain: A New Methodological Approach for Testing VR Pain Interventions on Individuals Receiving a Tattoo is the second paper presented at IEEEVR. The authors, Daniel Pimentel, Dr. Sri Kalyanaraman, Dr. Roger Fillingim, and Dr. Shiva Halan, presented preliminary results from a novel field experiment testing the effects of VR on self-reported pain experienced during a live tattoo session. As one of the first studies testing VR’s analgesic effects in the context of volitional pain, the authors outline the methodological benefits to testing VR pain interventions on tattoo recipients, and hope future research will leverage such populations to gain better understanding of how immersive media can contribute to pain coping and resilience.

For more information on the field experiment, read Our Town Magazine’s story.

For more information about IEEE VR please visit IEEE VR’s website.

Citations for accepted papers:

Pimentel, D., Amaya, R., Kalyanaraman, S., Halan, S., & Bailenson, J. (2019, March). Customizing climate change on your plate: A VR seafood buffet. Paper presented at the IEEE VR Annual Conference, Osaka, Japan.

Pimentel, D., Kalyanaraman, S., Fillingim, R., & Halan, S. (2019, March). Virtual games and volitional pain: A new methodological approach for testing VR pain interventions on individuals receiving a tattoo. Paper presented at the IEEE VR Annual Conference, Osaka, Japan.

Posted: April 4, 2019
Category: Conferences