Sharing VR at the Coronado Library


A few months back, we were fortunate to present about Virtual Reality (VR) as a research tool at the Coronado Library Round Table as part of their book club speaker series. Graduate researcher, Jon Paden, gave a presentation on current states, research and brief history of virtual and augmented reality –  all while relating the content back the book “Ready Player One” which the group had read recently. His talk dove into the history of stereoscopes, head mounted displays, and culture of the early 90’s VR representations in movies like the Lawnmower Man, Johnny Mnemonic.  He also talked about failed attempts, such as Nintendo’s virtual boy, and promises and advances of the past 35 years spurred in part by the advent of technologies such as smartphones and LTE, among other things.  The question today is not when will the technology arrive, as it already exists in everyone’s pocket – but rather, when will everyone catch on?

Afterwards, Dr. Ying Wu and Undergrad Developer, Robin Xu helped guide people of all ages through multiple VR experiences, including our Beta environment for our Insight Project.  It was our pleasure to share and get to participate in a larger community.

Here is a post from the Coronado Eagle about the event: Virtual Reality

Jon Paden

Josh Pallag

I am an experienced 3D modeler working in the field for roughly 8 years. I have worked in environment design, asset development, and full pipeline work from concept to end result. While working with programs like Unity, I am able to bring 3D models into a full virtual space, specifically in this case in virtual reality.

With this project, I am leveraging my past experience in scene and environment creation to create fully immersive ‘escape room’ scenarios involving various puzzles and problems in the virtual world. We are studying problem solving processes and instances of insight through EEG, eye-tracking, and other methods I am responsible for each room concept, creating plans, modeling assets and textures, and preparing the entire scene from lighting to basic functionality. This process takes considerable planning and testing in order to ensure that each room is as close to the same difficulty as the others. Formal norming tests will be conducted soon.  Through this work, I hope to offer a unique perspective on problem solving, to open up discussion for new ways of testing in virtual reality, and to learn more about immersion, user experience, and human cognition.

A Whole Body Approach to Insight and Problem Solving

How do every day stressors impact our capacity for insight and problem solving? Because problem solving is a complex ability that involves many aspects of cognition, our group approaches this question by integrating clues from many sources, including human behavior, brain activity, and autonomic function.  We are working to relate changes in self-reported stress and fatigue to variability in solution search strategies, allocation of visual attention, measures of arousal and neurocognitive engagement. Our methods leverage recent advances in lightweight biometric sensors, virtual reality, eye tracking, EEG, as well as state of the art immersive Virtual Reality.   This unique collaboration between UC San Diego’s Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience and the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination has given rise to an interdisciplinary team of neuroscientists, computer scientists and artists working together to pose problems in new ways and advance scientific methods and knowledge with full STEAM ahead.

Please stay tuned! We will be posting regular updates, including related research, images, videos, research tools, and data.