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What We Do

WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY?

Virtual Reality (VR) refers to headsets and accompanying software that generate realistic images, sounds, and other senstions to replicate a real environment or create an imaginary setting.  This technology has finally reached the point at which affordable consumer products can create compelling experiences.  Neurologists, psychologists, and other researchers are attracted to this ability to precisely control stimuli and modify perception.

Some of our Projects

Phantom Limb Pain

Essentially mirror box therapy done with Virtual Reality.  Custom built games and a web browser provide a greater sense of agency over phantom limbs and a more compelling illusion while engaging the patient.

Hemispatial Neglect

We are using an eye-tracking VR headset with the Leap Motion to examine how subjects with Hemispatial Neglect explore their environments when presented with various arrangements of objects in peripersonal and extrapersonal space.

Navigation Brain Mapping

Subjects play taxi driver in a VR city, then play again on a regular screen while having their brain scanned.

Broca's Aphasia

An intervention for Broca’s Aphasia that sets subjects in front of a mirror in VR.  As they speak, they will see an avatar that looks exactly like them correctly mouth their words.

Arch

Explores the psychological effects of varying certain architectural features by letting subjects compare and explore rooms in VR.

Vibrotactile Compass

Explores the impact of a vibrotactile compass on navigation in a setting without any visual cues.  Subjects strap on a compass that indicates north by activating buzzers, follow a short path that disappears, and then indicate their origin.

Hemiparesis

An intervention for people with Hemiparesis in which symmetrical movements are preformed with hands manipulated with novel control schemes enabled by Leap Motion.

Racial Empathy

Explore racial empathy by embodying different races in VR and experiencing interactions affected by prejudice.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

An engaging intervention for Retinitis Pigmentosa in which a subject’s peripheral vision is precisely stimulated by meteors that hover in place before moving towards targets in a game akin to Missile Command.

Echocardiogram Visualizer

An application for the Microsoft Hololens that renders 3D echocardiograms.  We’re also exploring CT scan overlay for surgeons.

Affordance Memory

Explores effects of subtle geometric changes on memory with a series of trials in which subject must collect and then replace various objects.

Hand Magnification

Explores sensory effects of magnifying or shrinking one of the subject’s hands.

Who We Are

Dr. Branch Coslett

Dr. Coslett is the PI in charge of the lab.  He’s a professor in Neurology, an attending physician at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology, and runs the Lab for Cognitition and Neural Stimulation with Dr. Roy Hamilton.

Alex Miller

Alex is the lab’s Unity programmer.  He has master’s degrees in Computer and Information Technology and Computer Graphics and Game Technology.

Lab Equipment

The FOVE is the first VR headset to feature eye-tracking.  It samples eye movements at 120Hz and will soon be able to plug into the Vive Tracker System.

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The Hololens is the best HMD for augmented and mixed reality applications.  We have access to this through Penn Immersive.

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The Oculus was the first compelling VR headset to hit the market.  It’s comfortable and reliable.

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The Vive enables us to walk around while we’re in VR.  The sensors will track the two wireless controllers and the headset as you move about an area.  We also have two trackers that enable us to track extra limbs or objects.

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The Google Daydream lets us convert a mobile phone into a VR headset.  We also have the Pixel, Google’s new phone, which was created with VR/AR in mind.

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Leap Motion is a hand-tracking technology that enables us to monitor the user’s hands.  It can be attached to the front of a VR headset and tracks each digit of each finger of the user’s hands.

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Arduinos are microcontrollers that enable us to use all sorts of gizmos as parts of our applications. We can use them to encorporate anything from electromyography sensors to motors.

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The TrakSTAR is an extremely accurate, 3D electromagnetic tracking system.  It tracks the position and orientation of up to 8 thumbnail-sized sensors.

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Widely available motion capture technology from Microsoft.

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