Date: Aug 18, 2011
Title: Quarles receives $232K NSF grant
The National Science Foundation has awarded a 2-year $232,676 grant to support John Quarles in research on EAGER: Presence and Navigation in Virtual Reality Rehabilitation Games for Mobility Impaired Persons. Dr. Quarles is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The goal of the research is to understand how persons with mobility impairments navigate and experience presence and motivation in immersive virtual reality (VR) games for physical rehabilitation. VR games aim to engage the user's senses (e.g., with 3D graphics, 3D audio, and 3D user interfaces) and enable users to perform rehabilitation exercises (e.g., practice walking in good form) as part of an immersive game. VR games have been shown to enhance motivation, which is a major factor in successful rehabilitation. However, these games are not in widespread use yet, likely because there are many unanswered basic science questions about how persons with mobility impairments navigate in virtual reality and how this affects their experience of presence - the user's level of involvement or the feeling of "being there" in the virtual environment (VE). To address this, Dr. Quales aims to conduct empirical studies to investigate how to enable accessible navigation for mobility impaired persons in VR and understand the impact on presence and rehabilitation motivation.