This demonstrator is championed by Rafael Calvo and builds upon the Stanford Ocean Acidification study by researchers at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) at Stanford University. Australia is the guardian of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. Human activity is causing CO2 levels to rise and this is causing acidification of our oceans. Most Australians do not have first-hand experience diving among the coral and sea animals that will eventually disappear if human behaviour does not change. Even experienced divers cannot see the degradation in real time. There is real difficulty in conveying this information to the Australian public. But imagine a VR display in which you can see a large piece of coral – become a “pink coral among the dark purple sea urchins, sea bream and sea snails that swarm around you.” The VR simulation shows how the coral reef changes over time and will look at the end of the century, where the “brilliantly varied and colourful species have disappeared and been replace by slimy green algae”. There is scientific evidence that VR can get people to save more for retirement, exercise more, show more empathy, and act in more environmentally sound ways. The Remote Environment Demonstrator investigates the impact of various immersive VR techniques and the degree of realism required to positively influence people’s behaviour towards sustainability.
Prof Rafael Calvo