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Foundations of Perception Engineering

Objective

Virtual reality (VR) technology has enormous potential to transform society, especially as the world faces unprecedented challenges of remote work and social distancing brought on by COVID 19. Through telepresence it uniquely enhanced health care, collaborative design, education, and social interaction, all from a distance. Further benefits arise by incorporating synthetic models, which advance computer interfaces, data visualization, and immersive storytelling.

In spite of its potential, the VR industry has struggled through hype cycles as devices built from co-opted component technologies fail to meet the expectations of each generation. As an industry leader in Huawei and early Oculus VR, I concluded that the struggle is largely due to the lack of a rigorous foundation that draws from scientific disciplines of perceptual psychology, neuroscience, and human physiology. I propose to reduce the gap between engineering and these human-centered sciences by developing a new field of perception engineering. In this pioneering view, the object being engineered is the illusion itself, and the physical devices that achieve it are auxiliary.

This project focuses on developing mathematical foundations for VR that unify engineering concepts from robotics and control theory with their biological-system counterparts, especially predictive coding and the free energy principle. A cornerstone is von Neumann-Morgenstern information spaces, introduced for games with hidden information, which I have leveraged for fundamental problems in robotics throughout my research career. Our team will include experts from VR, neuroscience, perceptual psychology, robotics, control theory, and pure mathematics. The work will lay a foundation for principled engineering approaches to design, simulation, prediction, and analysis of sustained, targeted perceptual illusions. This would offer valuable guidance and deeper insights into VR, robotics, and possibly the sciences that study perception.

Call for proposal

ERC-2020-ADG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-ADG - Advanced Grant

Host institution

OULUN YLIOPISTO
Address
Pentti Kaiteran Katu 1
90014 Oulu
Finland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 496 578

Beneficiaries (1)

OULUN YLIOPISTO
Finland
EU contribution
€ 2 496 578
Address
Pentti Kaiteran Katu 1
90014 Oulu
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments