The research conducted in the Cyberneum focuses primarily on the study of human perception and behaviour as we move throughout and interact with our environment. Emphasis is placed on the closed-loop aspects of behavior in a way that preserves the natural coupling between perception and action. Our main goal is therefore, to define the principles underlying human perceptual and cognitive processes in the context of realistic sensory information, while maintaining a high level of control over the experimental variables of interest.
In order to achieve this, we utilize and facilitate the development of state-of-the-art Virtual Reality (VR) facilities that have been optimized to evaluate specific research questions. These facilities include several unique visualization tools such as large field-of-view curved screen panoramic displays, head-mounted displays (HMDs), and back projection screens. We also employ several sophisticated self-motion simulators such as a robotic wheelchair, a Stewart motion platform, a customized anthropomorphic robot arm motion simulator (MPI CyberMotion Simulator) and a state-of-the-art omni-directional treadmill. We take the reciprocally informative approach of using VR as an important tool for understanding basic science questions related to human perception and action, while also utilizing the results of human behavioral testing to provide informed methods of improving VR technologies. Within this context, several lines of investigation are providing insight into various research areas, including those related to, self-motion perception, multi-sensory integration, multi-user interactions, and spatial cognition. These categories of research are not mutually exclusive or exhaustive, and the research conducted in each of these areas effectively informs each other in a number of important ways.