Top research project diminishes simulator sickness in games

A research project to reduce simulator sickness in virtual reality games took top honors for the College of Technology in the recent DiscoverU Undergraduate Research and Poster Symposium.

Seventeen College of Technology projects were entered into the annual event. The top three projects from each college received cash awards.

The project titled "Experimental Virtual UI" won first place. Computer graphics technology students James Moore, Bradley Ziegler and Tristan Case worked on the project. They created software that would minimize the feeling of sickness some virtual reality game users feel while playing computer games.

The second place project from electrical engineering technology major Andrew Evans was titled “Simultaneous Temperature and Pressure Controls for the Characterization of Micro-Electronics”.

"Hang Time," a project by three computer graphics technology students to improve tracking of airplane maintenance, won third place. Team members were Derek Yam, Adam Hargett and Max Karbin.

Abstracts of the top three Technology posters are listed below.

1st Place: James Moore, Bradley Ziegler, and Tristan P Case, “Experimental Virtual Reality UI”

With the introduction of more affordable virtual reality hardware, game designers are looking to implement support for these devices in their games. Due to the increased demand, there is a need for a more immersive user experience with consumer level VR hardware such as the Oculus Rift. One of the major drawbacks to the current VR goggles is the phenomenon known as ‘simulator sickness’ which is brought on by vestibular mismatch between what you see and what you feel. With new this new technology at our disposal, we find it prudent to research in this emerging device’s capabilities and better understand how it changes the gameplay.

Unlike current virtual reality user interfaces, ours will incorporate a unique new UI element that we hope will allow for a fixed frame of reference for the user and will reduce the effects of vestibular mismatch. Our tests will focus on testing this new UI element against using the Oculus Rift without it between three games of varying pacing. We will compare level of simulator sickness between users who play the games with our product integrated and those who play without it. Tests will be conducted using multiple Unity games that normally induce a higher level of nausea when played. We hope the results of our data show that our product does have a significant impact on reducing simulation sickness.

2nd Place: Andrew Evans, “Simultaneous Temperature & Pressure Controls for the Characterization of Micro-Electronics”

The goal of this project was to upgrade the MMR vacuum probe station at the Birck Nanotechnology Center in the Electrical Characterization Laboratory with a pressure controller and a mass flow controller to manipulate the level of the vacuum in the chamber along with a simultaneous temperature control. The data input and displayed output is through one main computer which the operator will control to get the desired environmental settings required for their experiment. Prior to this project, it wasn’t possible to control a variable vacuum environment which the user needed to regulate for the various vacuum experiments. The entire system needed to be automated so a user could concentrate on the experiments that needed to be done. The temperature and pressure settings could easily be programmed into the Graphical User Interface (GUI) and saved in a ‘settings file’ for a similar experiment at a later time. The plan of action included analyzing the attainable pressure inside the chamber and modifying the system so an operator would be able to maintain a certain degree of accuracy for the desired pressure needed. The necessary components were purchased and implemented into the existing system so everything would work together and be easily manipulated be the operator. The testing phase included utilizing various pressure gauges to simultaneously measure and verify the correct pressure in the chamber.

3rd Place: Derek Yam, Adam Hargett, and Max Karbin, “Hang Time”

Currently, airline maintenance performance is limited by an environment which lacks a visual information delivery system to enable the effective communication and management of aviation technicians by the Lead (Supervisor). The FAA’s currently mandated Task Card (airworthy documentation) management system leaves Task Card tracking to the memory of the Lead, while subsequent task card information is kept in paper format then stored digitally as copies on basic databases upon job completion.

For our project, we are developing a digital Location Management System to be used by the Lead to effectively assign work instructions, incorporate personnel 71 tracking features, and allow for the ability to communicate cross-platform. We are also developing a mobile work instruction application, which will allow for aviation technicians to summon document authors for the task in question for proper authorization of the work instruction, as well as the ability to view their assigned tasks, and will be a companion application to our digital Location Management System.

In this project, we are trying to determine if with the use of a digital Location Management System and mobile work instruction application, are airline maintenance supervisors able to better assign and organize job tasks of their aviation technicians?

Full list of all college winners.

PDF of all abstracts (CoT are on pages 61-78).

(Photo: By Skydeas (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)