PROJECTS

Mondays

4:30 pm

VR Mental Health

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Virtual Reality (VR) in mental health is an innovative field. Recent studies support the use of VR in the treatment of anxiety and phobia. However, there is very little research on using VR for supporting depression, and on offering an individualised user experience for treatment. In this paper we present iVR, a novel individualised VR experience for enhancing peoples' self-compassion and long-term mental health. We recently conducted a feasibility study. Most participants believed introducing elements of choice within iVR enhanced their user experience and that iVR had the potential to enhance people’s self-compassion. We also approached seven mental health professionals for feedback. They felt that introducing elements of choice within iVR would increase their knowledge of clients. This research can pave the way for large-scale efficacy testing, clinical use, and cost-effective delivery of VR technology for mental health therapy in future.

Mondays

4:30 pm

VR Construction

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Persuasive technology is defined as the technology that is designed to change attitudes or behaviour of the users through persuasion. Previous studies have looked at the applications of persuasive technology in different domains. However, use of virtual reality (VR) in persuasion is an emerging and novel area. In this project, VR is used as a tool to embody persuasive design with the aim of persuading protentional clients to purchase low or medium-density housing solutions in New Zealand. We conducted a feasibility study recently and presented users with different models (2D and 3D photos and a VR model). Our aim was to investigate whether presenting a VR model of the target house would increase users’ interest in potentially purchasing the house. We also wanted to know if allowing them to furnish the VR house could enhance their user experience. The participants demonstrated high levels of interaction with the VR app and found it persuasive. We present our design and implementation decisions, findings of the study and outline future work. We believe this contribution will pave the way for large scale delivery of VR technology for sales of low/ medium-density houses in future.

Mondays

4:30 pm

VR Store

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The development of immersive Virtual Reality (VR) has provided technology users around the globe with highly realistic virtual world experiences. Since its first use, extensive research has been conducted with the attempt to understand how human behaviour in virtual environments compares to the real world. Studies have shown that people exhibit similar behaviours and reactions in a number of scenarios including virtual shopping, thus making it a promising tool for researchers to study in-store shopper behaviour. This project investigates how store atmospherics can affect the user’s behaviour in a virtual simulated store environment, developed in Unreal Engine. The presence/absence of avatars was investigated as an important aspect of store atmospherics. We recruited 21 participants from Massey university in a recent study to experience and interact with the virtual store and asked them to complete a post-experimental questionnaire. Our findings show that the presence of avatars in the store had a positive effect on participants’ sense of telepresence and social presence. Moreover, the avatars had an impact on the persuasiveness of the application, leading to a longer shopping duration and a higher number of purchased items. These insights will be useful for retailers in that they can guide development and improvement of virtual simulated

shopping experiences, using elements of telepresence and social presence to enhance the consumer shopping experience and their own retail strategy.

Mondays

4:30 pm

Games for Health

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We are developing Games to improve people's health outcomes. The games developed so far are to enhance children's knowledge of diabetes and lifestyle as well as improving confidence in children with ADHD.