[robotics-worldwide] [meetings] Virtual Reality Workshop at ICRA 2015

Lavalle, Steven M lavalle at illinois.edu
Wed Apr 15 08:51:32 PDT 2015

An ICRA 2015 Workshop

Time:         26 May 2015, Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Location:    Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Seattle, USA
Web page:  http://msl.cs.uiuc.edu/icra15/

Organizers:  Steve LaValle (UIUC), Ming Lin (UNC), and Paul MacNeilage (LMU Munich)

This workshop will bring together experts from three areas: 1) the virtual reality industry, where current technological limitations and their possible near-term solutions are well understood; 2) perceptual psychology, where scientists strive to characterize interactions between vision, auditory, and vestibular systems under the unusual stimuli provided by this technology; 3) roboticists who want to build virtual reality systems and experiences. This unusual mix of experts should help develop an appreciation among attendees of the complex, low-level interactions between the hardware and the human body. An improved understanding could lead researchers to pursue new directions and interdisciplinary collaborations in this exciting and growing area of research.

SPECIAL SESSION:  Bring your VR demos to the workshop for feedback, encouragement, and help from the experts!    Go to http://msl.cs.uiuc.edu/icra15/ for details.

MOTIVATION:  What is all the hype about? Virtual reality (VR) has been around for decades, but the systems were never compelling enough to match the hype, excitement, and hopes that a generation of people had for this technology to change our everyday lives. It is different now, really! Thanks to recent advances in technology, high-fidelity, low-cost, portable VR headsets are widely available. For a few hundred dollars, they offer immersive experiences that are as good or better than previously obtained by older setups costing tens of thousands or even millions of dollars. Significant attention was generated by Oculus VR, when it was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion.  Other large companies are investing in VR, including Google, Microsoft, Sony, Qualcomm, Valve, HTC, and Samsung. The race is on to transform our lives on this exciting new medium or platform.

Due to their comfort with sensing, filtering, and control in the physical world, roboticists are well positioned to make crucial advances in this rising field. What should be we doing? Through telepresence, we can offer a new generation of virtual travel, telesurgery, and distributed social interaction systems. We can also contribute to systems that track motions in the physical world and bring representations of moving bodies into the VR space. To make contributions, it will become important for us to understand VR issues in the larger context, which extends well outside of robotics.

We hope to see you there, face-to-face, in reality!

Best wishes,


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