Faculty fellows are pursuing several robotics-aligned projects that utilize virtual reality. The Neurological Examination Rehearsal Virtual Environment (NERVE) utilizes user motion tracking and real-time control of realistic 3D avatars to simulate neurological deficits for medical training, and incorporates robotic haptic feedback mechanisms for providing the sense of touch in physical examinations of virtual patients. The WeRecycle project features a robotic recycling bin that interacts with users on a microsocial scale to promote pro-recycling behaviors. As part of UGA’s Obesity Research Initiative, a range of projects are underway that use robotic haptic feedback and user tracking to promote healthy lifestyles in children. These include a simulator for understanding how food preparation affects nutritional value, a simulator that allows children to interact with virtual pets through motion tracking and their own physical activity, and a virtual biking simulator that promotes increased exercise through enjoyment.
Faculty fellows focus on the development and evaluation of tools for visualization and interaction in support of complex tasks, which includes research both in human-computer interaction and in the domain of the complex task. Visualization and interaction research is performed in support of program comprehension and performance evaluation of parallel and distributed systems. This had led to techniques for interactive steering widely applicable in robotics. More recently, fellows have begun a program of research that attempts to answer questions about what types of displays are useful and usable, and what properties of those displays promote or inhibit understanding and usability with a thrust toward robotic applications.