Virtual and Augmented Reality Interaction Core We request funds to establish a new Virtual and Augmented Reality Interaction (VARI) Core as part of the COBRE for Integrative Neuroscience. The core will be directed and managed by Dr. Eelke Folmer, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, who specializes in augmented and virtual reality research. Virtual reality and augmented reality are considered essential to the next generation of visual and cognitive neuroscience research programs because of the novel and highly improved opportunities to provide controlled immersive stimulus experiences that allow analysis of perception, cognition, and behavior in naturalistic visual environments and tasks. The goal of this core in phase II is to establish the equipment, training and services required for neuroscience research using virtual reality and augmented reality resources. The VARI core will be bootstrapped with virtual reality and augmented reality equipment using an institutional commitment. Specifically, the core will include: (1) a VisuaStim Digital portable virtual reality headset that can be used inside an FMRI scanner; (2) an SMI Vision eye tracking VR headset with external camera; (3) a Microsoft Hololens stereoscopic head mounted see-through holographic display; and (4) head-mounted virtual reality displays (Oculus Rift and HTC Vive) featuring high accuracy head-, hand- and full body-tracking capabilities and virtual locomotion input (Virtuix Omni). The core will offer training and workshops in usage of this equipment. In addition, the core will offer software development services for developing virtual reality and augmented reality applications. This technology and services are essential to efficiently support the growing cluster of visual and cognitive neuroscience faculty at UNR. This core will directly support the aims of two COBRE project investigators (Dr. MacNeilage and Dr. Feil-Seifer) and enhance the scope and quality of several additional research groups (including two graduated COBRE project leaders and one current pilot leader) within the Psychology Department as well as other UNR investigators.

Public Health Relevance

Virtual and Augmented Reality Interaction Core Virtual reality and augmented reality are considered essential to the next generation of visual and neuroscience research programs. This core will provide the necessary hardware and software development services that will support the growing number of visual and cognitive neuroscience faculty at UNR.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1)
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University of Nevada Reno
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