Excerpts from a Virtual Reality Researcher

COVID-19 and Impacts on VR Research

It’s been a long time since I’ve rapped at ya, and well, obviously a lot has happened with a world pandemic taking place and such.

Tying things back to the general themes of this blog, I’ve been working from home since March, 2020 and been thinking about impacts of the pandemic on our lab, and visualization labs around the world in general.  I’m currently serving on the board of the CAAV – Campus Alliance for Advanced Visualization, and we’re working to come out with some guidelines for operation in a COVID-19 world.

The long story short, it’s going to definitely change things for everyone.  The recent trends of use of consumer available HMDs is going to be changed due to COVID-19.  Currently experts are suggesting the need to use UV sanitation systems to properly clean HMDs (largely due to all of the nooks and crannies in most of them).  One example of such a sanitation system is the Cleanbox.

But what about for CAVEs?   In some ways CAVEs may actually be in a better situation than HMDs.  Cleaning stereoscopic glasses poses a bit easier then a whole HMD.  The big caveat and MUST is that people will have to wear masks (but this will be mandated anyways campus-wide).  A bad scenario would be if someone were in the CAVE and sneezed without a mask.  Cleaning the projection screens is possible, but would obviously be a time-consuming task.  A downfall for CAVEs is that the ability to have multiple users in the space probably becomes greatly reduced.  In theory people could stand 6 ft apart in our CAVE, but that would pretty much max the number of people to 2.  (Better than just 1 person I suppose).

We’ll see how this all plays out!