Developing Innovative Interactive Solutions for Assisted Living and Active Learning
ViR.AL is an interdisciplinary research group within the School of Computer Science and Informatics at De Montfort University. This group combines strengths in interactive virtual environments, 3D-audio technologies, multi-modal interaction, game technologies and interfaces and intelligent systems, to research and develop innovative interactive solutions for assisted living and adaptive learning.
Areas of expertise include:
- Interactive virtual environments
- 3D Audio Technologies
- Multimodal interaction
- Game Technologies and Interfaces
- Intelligent Systems
Our current projects focus on the use of virtual environments, haptic devices, motion and positioning sensors and auditory displays, for the development of training applications and interfaces for individuals with sensory impairments.
Our mission is to to create original science and develop innovative solutions for assistive technologies, assisted living and adaptive learning by combining our strengths in interactive virtual environments, 3D-audio technologies, multi-modal interaction, game technologies and interfaces and intelligent systems.
Improvements in public health have increased life expectancy and there has been a major increase in research in technologies for assisted living in recent years. These technologies are not only to be used elderly who may live on their own, but also by people with physical and sensory disabilities, and/or even by people without impairment, for example in cases where attention to outside world (e.g. traffic) is reduced by distractions such as listening to music or writing a text message while walking.
To make such technologies more affordable, part of our focus is on using virtual environments and game technologies. These technologies have inspired many different areas of computer science and engineering, from designing new ways of user interactions, to providing affordable alternatives to simulate real world events and create realistic user experiences. Game technologies are used to collect a variety of data on movements, gestures and complex actions to create realistic and engaging training and simulation applications, and are also used in innovative applications within the HCI (Human Computer Interaction) research area.
Our aim is to use such technologies for developing frameworks, applications and tools for assisting individuals with sensory and/or physical impairments in various tasks, from actions in the every-day life, to specific situations/scenarios using affordable and everyday technologies and devices.
Virtual Environments and Gaming Technologies
Virtual environments and game technologies have inspired many different areas of computer science and engineering from designing new ways of user interactions to providing affordable alternatives to simulate real world events and create realistic user experiences. Game technologies are used to collect a variety of data on movements, gestures and complex actions to create realistic and engaging training and simulation applications and are also used in innovative applications in HCI. These technologies are very relevant to research in assisted living at stages of collecting a wide variety of data, simulating the environment and producing intelligent responses. Our activities in games research and development for the last 7 years have been instrumental in creating many exciting projects in game development, AI and games and serious games in DMU and have been recognised nationally and internationally through awards, publications and initiating and chairing conferences and activities.
Virtual Reality Interactive Environments for the Blind
Dr Lorenzo Picinali talks about his reaserch into virtual reality for the blind/visually impaired.
More information can be found on the ViR.AL website.