Halden Virtual Reality Centre
HVRC provides facilities for identifying and testing novel applications of emerging VR & AR technologies. The focus is on design, training, and optimisation of safety-critical work in industrial environments. The close proximity to HAMMLAB enables joint experiments, where HAMMLAB is used to simulate a control centre and the VR lab is used to simulate activities in a digital twin of the facility being controlled.
For usability studies and formal experiments, we typically use similar techniques to those applied in HAMMLAB. These include human and system performance measures. We measure for instance mental workload, task complexity, sense of presence, social presence, spatial presence, and usability. Most studies are comparative or explorative in nature with a focus on the teamwork aspects.
The lab is located in a purpose-built room with a raised computer floor. There are 100 square metres of floor space (9m x 11m). An 8m by 8m area of the lab supports room-scale location tracking for immersive VR. Approximately 6m x 6m of the space supports wireless tracking of three simultaneous users. Wearing HTC VIVE PRO VR headsets, they that can collaborate in a shared virtual environment while in a shared physical space. Two of our VR headsets have eye-tracking installed – HTC VIVE PRO EYE and a Varjo VR-2 PRO high-resolution headset. We also have seven sets of Oculus Quest.
We mostly use Android and iOS tablets for mixed and augmented reality work. For wearable AR concepts, we use Trimble XR10 (with Microsoft Hololens 2), Microsoft Hololens, and have an ODG R7 headset.
Other notable equipment include:
- Barco ProjectionDesign Stereoscopic projectors
- 65” multitouch display
- Leica BLK360 laser-scanner
- FormLabs Form 2 Resin-based 3D printer
- A variety of 3D input devices
Our own VR/AR software testbed facilitates rapid prototyping of application concepts and novel 3D interaction techniques. It provides comprehensive logging of session data to support rapid post-session analysis of usability studies.
The VR&AR department at IFE is also responsible for IFE’s Hazard-Aware Robotics for Nuclear (HADRON) lab, which enables us to perform studies into telepresence and teleoperation of industrial robots and drones.
VR&AR department staff has a broad range of academic backgrounds including computer science, human factors, human-centred design, mathematics, informatics, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. We take a multi-disciplinary approach to both application concept development and conducting experiments, drawing on expertise in other departments and sectors at IFE, and beyond, for industrial domain knowledge.