Katerina Stepanova



MSc Student


erstepan [at] sfu.ca



Katerina grad­u­ated from a cog­ni­tive sci­ence pro­gram with honors from SFU and con­tin­ued into a grad­u­ate pro­gram at iSpace lab.

She strives to under­stand how the immer­sive powers of modern tech­nol­ogy can be lever­aged to help people become more con­nected with each other and the world around them.  She explores the pos­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing trans­for­ma­tive expe­ri­ences though the use of Virtual Reality, and study­ing them in con­trolled lab con­di­tions as well as in a public set­ting in Culture Spaces


Connecting through JeL – bio-responsive VR for interpersonal synchronization

Can a bio-responsive generative art installation foster interpersonal synchronization and connection? JeL is a bio-responsive, immersive, interactive, generative art installation designed to encourage physiological synchronization between the immersants. In this project we will be exploring how novel forms of interaction can be included in immersive technology to foster the feeling of connection ...

Connected through "AWE": creating immersive experiences for social connection

Do you get enough “awe” in your life? In our busy day-to-day lives, we often take our experiences for granted. While we have the technology to connect with one another, like smart phones, we don’t necessarily get outside with nature, or stargaze. Such activities may consist of common awe-inspiring moments, and we now understand that feeling awe is associated with all sorts of social and well...

Virtual Earthgazing - towards an overview effect in Virtual Reality

How can we use immersive VR to give people pivotal positive experiences without having to send them out into space?   “We went to the Moon as technicians, we returned as humanitarians” reflected Edgar Mitchell after his space flight. This describes the overview effect – a profound awe-inspiring experience of seeing Earth from space resulting in a cognitive shift in worldview, le...

Lean and Elegant Motion Cueing in VR

How do we best design locomotion interfaces for VR that provide "enough" physical motion cues (vestibular/proprioceptive) while still being effective, affordable, compact, and safe? Despite amazing progress in computer graphics and VR displays, most affordable and room-sized VR locomotion interfaces provide only little physical motion cues (e.g., vestibular & proprioceptive cues). To provide...

Immersive & Embodied Teleoperation Interfaces

Developing virtual interfaces for embodied tele-operation and locomotion. How can we best design and implement an embodied telepresence system for tele-robotics, so we can safely explore remote, hard-to-reach, or potentially hazardous areas or situations? The goal of the "TeleSpider" project is to design and implement a telepresence system where users can remotely operate a robotic spid...

Spatial Updating With(out) Physical Motions?

How important are physical motions for effective spatial orientation in VR? Most virtual reality simulators have a  serious flaw: Users tend to get easily lost and disoriented as they navigate. According to the prevailing opinion, this is because physical motion cues are absolutely required for staying oriented while moving. In this study, we investigated how physical motion cues contribute ...


Kitson, A., Riecke, B. E., & Stepanova, E. R. (2015). Influence of Movement Expertise on a Virtual Point-to- Origin Task (pp. 100–103). Presented at the MOCO’15 – 2nd International Workshop on Movement and Computing, Vancouver, Canada: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2790994.2791014
Riecke, B. E., Stepanova, E. R., & Kitson, A. (2016, May). New response patterns in point-to-origin tasks depending on stimulus type and response mode. Talk presented at the International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Granada, Spain. Retrieved from http://www.ps2016.org/
Stepanova, E. R., Heyde, M. von der, Kitson, A., Schiphorst, T., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Gathering and Apply Guidelines for TeleSpider Design for Urban Search and Rescue Applications on a Mobile Robot. In M. Kurosu (Ed.), Human-Computer Interaction. Interaction Contexts (HCI 2017) (Vol. 10272, pp. 562–581). Cham: Springer.
Stepanova, E. R., Quesnel, D., Kitson, A., Prpa, M., & Riecke, B. E. (2017, November). Virtual Reality as a Tool for Inducing and Understanding Transformative Experiences. Poster presented at the Psychonomic Society 58th Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Kitson, A., Hashemian, A. M., Stepanova, E. R., Kruijff, E., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Comparing Leaning-Based Motion Cueing Interfaces for Virtual Reality Locomotion (pp. 73–82). Presented at the IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces 3DUI, Los Angeles, CA, USA. https://doi.org/10.1109/3DUI.2017.7893320
Kitson, A., Nguyen-Vo, T., Hashemian, A. M., Stepanova, E. R., & Riecke, B. E. (2017, November). A User Study Comparing Two Low-Cost Chair Interfaces for Embodied Virtual Locomotion. Talk presented at the Psychonomic Society 58th Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Kitson, A., Buie, E., Stepanova, E., Chirico, A., Riecke, B. E., & Gaggioli, A. (2019). Transformative Experience Design: Using Interactive Technologies and Narrative to Support Transformative Experiences. In ACM CHI 2019 Special Interest Group (pp. 1–4). Glasgow, United Kingdom: ACM.
Kitson, A., Stepanova, E. R., Aguilar, I., Wainwright, N., & Riecke, B. E. (2019, June). Transcending the Lab: Using Storytelling and Theatre Practices to Support Self-Transcendent Experiences in Virtual Reality. Talk presented at the 24th Annual CyberPsychology, CyberTherapy & Social Networking Conference (CyPsy24), Norfolk, VA, USA. Retrieved from https://easychair.org/my/conference.cgi?conf=cypsy24
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Pasquier, P., & Riecke, B. E. (2019). JeL: Connecting Through Breath in Virtual Reality. In Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1–6). Glasgow, United Kingdom: ACM.
Wrainwright, N., Stepanova, E. R., Aguilar, I., Kitson, A., & Riecke, B. E. (2019, June). Transcending the Lab: Supporting Self-Transcendent Experiences in VR. Talk presented at the FCAT Undergraduate Conference, Surrey City Hall, BC, Canada. Retrieved from https://www.sfu.ca/fcat/events/ugc.html