PhD Upgrade Success!


Celebration time, progress has been made, on 3rd October 2017, I   passed my upgrade.  It took me a while to get there. It took me actually more than 540 hours of mostly writing to be awarded a MPhil (Master of philosophy). I can now work towards obtaining a PhD (Doctor of philosophy).

Follows an extract of this upgrade report to browse a better picture of what I am working on. This is the introduction.

We live in exciting times where technologies developed for the last 50 years are converging. Mobile computers, with the smartphone being the catalyst of those technologies, are spreading into the market faster than any other technology before, reaching almost saturation in western countries. Today, most high end smartphones offers the possibility of basic level of immersion in Virtual Reality. This brings a completely different medium of communication and interaction with our digital environment. We are on the verge of breaking through the frame, the screen, the window… By coming back to a more natural interaction with the digital realm, we have the opportunity to rediscover one of the great humans strength: spatial awarness.

Virtual Reality has been used as a laboratory test environment across many different fields for the last five decades. Cognitive processes such as visuospatial perception, memory, spatial awareness, navigation, are just a few areas of investigation that have been placed under the lens of different types of Virtual Reality systems by the scientific community. Each of those systems comes with various specifications in regards to hardware and software used. Those in return are influencing the quality of computer graphics and human computer interaction implemented which plays a huge role on the level of presence experienced by participants. Besides those variables, Virtual Reality is indeed a very convenient tool in research as most of those variables can potentially be controlled and modified in comparison to “real” world settings where things are more complicated to customise, at least way more expensive.

However, despite the ground breaking works and progress made in those fields, most of those virtual environments contains loads of inconsistencies by design. Those design inconsistencies make it difficult to replicate studies from one lab to another, or even from one study to the next. Comparisons between those studies are difficult due to too many confounding variables. In particular, variables concerning the description of the spatial environment are usually barely described at all. This research will focus on isolating those spatial qualities and evaluating how they affect humans cognitive performances in VR.

Next post will present the architectural side of this project and how it will be implemented.

Let me know if you have any comment on the writing, the comprehension, and/or the content.