Moving room

Illustration of the moving room & marbel patternThe primary facility is the "moving room". This is a large box, 2.4 meters on a side, that is mounted on wheels so that it rolls back and forth along rails. Three sides of the box and the ceiling are covered with plywood, the inside surface of which is covered with a complex, naturalistic visual pattern (marble-pattern paper). The fourth side is open, providing access. Experimental participants stand on the concrete floor of the laboratory with their backs to the open side, so that the walls and ceiling fill the field of view. Movement of the room generates nearly global optical flow, which constitutes the experimental stimulus. The maximum amplitude of motion is 0.6 meters.

The original moving room was developed by David Lee in Scotland. It was moved by hand, or by a simple electric motor. The moving room in the Human Factors Research Lab is moved by a highly powered motor under computer control. This gives us great control over room motion, in terms of velocity, acceleration, frequency, and so on. It also permits us to produce motions that can be precisely repeated across trials.

The moving room is a versatile device that can be used for a wide variety of research topics, including human-computer interaction, and motion sickness.

The moving room is undergoing a refurbishment and mechanical upgrade to improve its operating characteristics and to reduce structural vibration. Major components of the room are being replaced, including the rails, wheels, and the room itself. These changes will improve operation, in general, but are particularly targeted at our upcoming, NIH-funded research on motion sickness.

Head Mounted Display

Visette Pro HMD systemThe Head Mounted Display (HMD) lab features a Visette Pro HMD system (Cybermind Interactive Nederland), which has a field of view of 60 by 48 degrees for each eye, and 300,000 pixels. Data on motion of the head and torso are collected using a magnetic tracking system (Nest of Birds, Ascension Technology Corp.). Data on joint rotation (hips, ankles) can be collected using goniometers (Biopac Systems, Inc.). The HMD is used primarily for the study of postural instability and motion sickness in virtual environment systems. Motion sickness in virtual environment systems, widely known as cybersickness, is a persistent problem that has hampered the development and use of HMD technology.

Console Video Games

The APAL maintains Xbox 360 and Wii systems for our research relating postural instability and motion sickness to commercial virtual environment products.

Video games can be presented via our head-mounted display system, through ordinary CRT video monitors, via a video projection system, or through our new 65-inch plasma flat panel display.

Data Collection Systems

The following are housed in the laboratory:

In addition, APAL is a stakeholder in a 9-camera digital video motion capture system (SMART, BTS Bioengineering)