Virtual/Augmented Reality

Virtual and augmented reality are very well poised to change forever the way neuroscience (brain & behavior) experiments are conducted by creating the specific reality needed by the experimenter and presenting it to the subject through appropriate goggles and perhaps an appropriate exoskeleton. This way we can fully control the perceptual environment and make it possible, for example, to change the shape and weight of an object during a grasp operation. The VR technique has already been applied to the study of spatial navigation in rodents, utlilizing a relatively easy virtual maze produced by several intersecting planes. The challenge increase when striving to create a virtual reality similar to the natural habitat of the subject.

The University of Maryland is very well poised to undertake this challenge within a Brain and Behavior Institute. Through a synergy between Visualization, Computer Vision and Control Theory we can begin to develop solutions for a variety of subjects, which will then be adapted by the world in the years to come.