Bernhard Riecke


Positions and Affiliations:


ber1 at sfu dot ca

Brief Biography

After research­ing for a decade in the Virtual Reality Group of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany and work­ing as a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute, Vanderbilt University, and UC Santa Barbara, Bernhard joined SFU-SIAT in 2008, where he leads the iSpace Lab. His research com­bines mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary research approaches and immer­sive vir­tual envi­ron­ments to inves­ti­gate how humans per­ceive, think, behave, and spa­tially orient in real and vir­tual environments.

More specif­i­cally he’s inter­ested in inves­ti­gat­ing: human spa­tial cognition/orientation/updating/navigation; Enabling robust and effort­less spa­tial ori­en­ta­tion in VR and telep­res­ence; Self-motion per­cep­tion, illu­sions (“vec­tion”), inter­faces, and sim­u­la­tion; Designing for trans­for­ma­tive pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences using VR; Bio-responsive vir­tual envi­ron­ments (and many other things as you can see on the projects page).

Bernhard teaches classes on immer­sive environments/Virtual Reality, game design, human-computer inter­ac­tion and cog­ni­tion, and quan­ti­ta­tive research meth­ods, and recently designed a new 15-credit “Semester in Alternate Realities” course. He gave a TEDx talk on the poten­tial of Virtual Reality: “Could Virtual Reality make us more human?”.


super­vised theses


see above link

Currently-taught courses:



I can offer assis­tance and advice to researchers, devel­op­ers, com­pa­nies, and con­sumers who are con­cerned about usabil­ity, user expe­ri­ence, per­for­mance, and motion sick­ness in vir­tual or mixed real­ity. Please con­tact me if you are inter­ested or would like more information.

Research Interests & Expertise

My research inter­ests include:

  • Human multi-modal spa­tial cog­ni­tion, spa­tial ori­en­ta­tion, spa­tial updat­ing, and navigation
  • Enabling robust and effort­less spa­tial ori­en­ta­tion in vir­tual envi­ron­ments and telep­res­ence (e.g., con­fer­ence robots, drones) — e.g., through design­ing improved loco­mo­tion inter­faces and par­a­digms for 2D and 3D locomotion
  • Self-motion per­cep­tion, illu­sions (“vec­tion”), and sim­u­la­tion; Multi-modal con­tri­bu­tions and interactions
  • Multi-modal cue inte­gra­tion: Experimentation and the­o­ret­i­cal modeling
  • Design and iter­a­tive eval­u­a­tion and improve­ment of per­cep­tu­ally ori­ented, multi-modal human-computer inter­faces and human-centered, effec­tive vir­tual real­ity simulations
  • Overview effect and other piv­otal expe­ri­ences and how to elicit them in VR
  • Theory, design guide­lines, and VR expe­ri­ences sup­port­ing pos­i­tive trans­for­ma­tive expe­ri­ences — from self-transcendent and awe-inspiring expe­ri­ences to VR4Good and address­ing Climate Change
  • Immersion and presence
  • Brain-computer inter­faces and biofeed­back (breath­ing, EEG…) for immer­sive, play­ful VR inter­ac­tion design to foster desire­able states (e.g., mind­ful­ness, relax­ation, overview effect, awe, self-transcendence, deeper con­nec­tion, piv­otal experiences).
  • multi-modal, inter­ac­tive art/dance pieces and performances

Please see my TEDxEastVan TEDx talk below and the diverse research topics and inter­ests for an overview of the dif­fer­ent projects and our vision on how we could use the increas­ing poten­tial of immer­sive VR (com­bined with other tech­nolo­gies and approaches, includ­ing biosens­ing) to create mean­ing­ful pos­i­tive experiences.

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Could Virtual Reality make us more human? | Bernhard Riecke | TEDxEastVan

Below is a short intro video explain­ing my orig­i­nal over­all research agenda and vision for the iSpace lab (from 2011 — since then we added a lot of addi­tional research topics and inter­ests and projects). See also the Vision sub­page for details.

Interested in Joining the iSpace Team?

I’m cur­rently look­ing for bright and moti­vated MSc and PhD stu­dents to join our iSpace lab. See the Contact & Join Us sub­page for details. We don’t cur­rently have fund­ing for PostDocs, but I’d be happy to help with fund­ing appli­ca­tions if you’re interested.


Integrating Continuous and Teleporting VR Locomotion into a Seamless "HyperJump" Paradigm

Here we pro­pose a hybrid inter­face that allows user to seam­lessly tran­si­tion between a slow ‘con­tion­u­ous’ mode and a fast ‘hyper­jump’ mode. The inter­face aims to main­tain the immer­sion, pres­ence, accu­racy and spa­tial updat­ing of con­tin­u­ous loco­mo­tion while adding the travel effi­ciency and min­i­miz­ing the cyber­sick­ness. Ashu pre­sent­ing this paper at IEEE VR Workshop VR 2021: Introduction and demo of the Sonic Cradle Sonic Cradle is a relax­ing human-computer inter­ac­tion par­a­digm designed to foster med­i­ta­tive atten­tional pat­terns.  The cur­rent p…