VRiday Meetup: Jascha Grübel abstracts

Talk (11-12h): How to avoid some of the pitfalls of VR experiments

Virtual reality (VR) can be an effective method for running experiments that investigate different aspects of human behaviour. However, conducting experiments in VR can be cumbersome and time consuming due to issues with the hardware, software and the extraction/synchronization of data.

In this talk, I will present some of the functionalities of the open-source framework EVE (Experiments in Virtual Environments) that can facilitate the setup, implementation, and evaluation of VR experiments. EVE is designed to reduce repetitive and error-prone steps that often occur during the design of VR experiments. The framework is based on the popular game engine Unity 3D. This platform allows researchers, who do not have specialized training in computer science, to design virtual environments and connect with physical sensors (e.g., eye tracker, electrodermal activity) and virtual sensors (e.g. location markers, collectible items) for data collection and synchronization. EVE focuses on data management and evaluation capabilities which allow researchers to easily manage their data in a database, integrate questionnaires, visualise results and perform advanced statistical operations on the data in R. To review the quality of data gathered the framework includes replay tools that researchers can use to perform diagnostic analyses (e.g., video playback, path tracing) or more in depth analyses using the accompanying R package evertools.

I will present some of these functionalities in the context of several experiments conducted at the Chair of Cognitive Science at ETH Zurich and experiments performed by other research groups that have adopted EVE. Lastly, I will discuss the best practices that we gathered over the last 5 years designing and conducting VR experiments based on the framework and its predecessors.

Workshop (13-15h) ‘Ready, steady, experiment go!’

A tutorial on setting up a VR study with EVE Setting up an experiment with the help of the Experiments in Virtual Environments (EVE) can be done in a surprisingly short amount of time. In this tutorial I will show how to setup a small navigation experiment based on our online tutorial. This will allow you to become familiar with the functionalities and tools that are currently supported by EVE.

For this tutorial, you will need a with a recent version of the Unity game engine installed. The process of setting up the experiment will be accompanied with a discussion of best practices on running VR experiments gathered by our team at ETH over the last 5 years.