Interested in joining the iSpace team?
Interested in contributing to innovative research at the intersection of Psychology/Cognitive Science, Informatics, Human Factors/HCI, and Virtual Reality in an interdisciplinary team?
I’m always looking for bright and motivated PhD/MSc students and postDocs to join the iSpace lab at the School of Interactive Arts & Technology (SIAT), Simon Fraser University in the greater Vancouver region in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Note that I will be on study leave (aka sabbatical) from Fall 2015 — Spring 2016 and won’t be accepting new students in Fall 2015.
Applicants should be highly motivated and have a strong interest in interdisciplinary scientific research aligned with the overall goals and vision of the iSpace lab (see iSpaceLab.com/vision).
- Human multi-modal spatial cognition, spatial orientation, spatial updating
- Enabling robust and effortless spatial orientation in virtual environments
- Self-motion perception, illusions (“vection”), and simulation; Multi-modal contributions and interactions
- Design and iterative evaluation and improvement of perceptually oriented, multi-modal human-computer interfaces and human-centered, effective virtual reality simulations and experiences. This could include unconventional VR interfaces, immersive VR for meditation, and other novel ideas.
In particular, I am looking for student to work on one of the following grant-supported projects:
(A) Investigate and utilize multi-modal and higher-level synergistic benefits to enhance self-motion illusions (vection) in VR, which contributed to fundamental knowledge and can help to enable more compelling and effective human-computer interfaces for immersive VR [1, 2].
(B) Design & evaluate user-powered motion cueing interfaces to enable more natural and intuitive locomotion through and spatial orientation in VR [3, 4].
(C) Investigating the functional/behavioral significance of self-motion illusions (vection): E.g., does vection allow us to perform tasks we could not otherwise perform as well? We have first evidence that vection can facilitate perspective switches, and several experimental paradigms lined up to investigate further behavioral measures [5, 1].
As the iSpace lab works at the intersection of Informatics, Psychology/Cognitive Science, Human Factors/HCI, and Virtual Reality, you should bring a strong background in at least one of these areas and be excited to expand into the other areas. PhD and MSc applications must also meet the regular admission criteria and will undergo the regular admissions processes. Note that MSc applications will only be considered if they show a strong interest in research, scholarly dissemination, and potentially getting a PhD.
Students: Funding is provided through a combination of teaching assistantships, scholarships, fellowships and research assistantships. You will also receive full financial support when presenting your research in suitable scholarly conferences.
PostDocs: there are currently no fully funded postDoc positions in the iSpace lab unfortunately, although I can provide some interim funding and am open to suitable postDocs that bring their own funding (at least until we find additional funds). I’d be happy to assist in applying for external funding.
Funding is provided at standard Canadian (NSERC) rates including vacation pay and benefits. Additional top-up is negotiable if you contribute substantially to the writing of research grants.
If you are interested in joining the iSpace team, please read on, then send me an informal email () and attach your CV and any other information/documents/links you might find suitable. Please indicate how you might see yourself fit in (this is essential — please understand that I won’t respond to generic or mass-emails. You don’t need to have a specific research project in mind to apply, though, as long as you are open and excited about the kind of research we do).
Please also indicate if you have any experience in programming in general, VR-specific programming, VR setups, 3D, and statistics/experimental design/data. I don’t require expertize in all these areas, but it’s useful to understand where your background and strengths are and how you’d fit into the team. Feel free to add any other skills (academic or non-academic) that I should be aware of.
I’d be happy to arrange telephone or skype interviews if there seems to be a good fit. Review of materials is ongoing and will continue until all positions are filled.
I look forward to receiving your application!
Prospective grad students: ALL graduate students at SIAT are recommended for admission by the Graduate Admission Committee and then admitted by the Dean of Graduate Studies at SFU. Therefore you MUST satisfy all the requirements set up by SIAT and SFU. Please check SIAT’s grad admission procedures and make sure to contact me before submitting your application. Off-cycle admission is possible for excellent candidates.
Below is a summary of my main research agenda so you can assess if and how you might best fit into our team. There’s also an outline of some of the skills, experience, and characteristics that we value highly and will be useful for iSpace members. The application process is competitive, and apart from your GPA the main admission criteria are how well you’d fit into the iSpace team and can contribute to the overall research agenda and vision (see below for details). I only supervise MSc and PhD students with a strong research orientation.
If you have already research ideas when applying, great! If not, and you are just really excited about contributing to our research agenda and vision (and are capable in doing so), that also fine, and we should discuss ideas before you write your “letter of intent” to make sure it will be a good mutual match. In either case, please check the iSpace research agenda and vision and our recent projects and publications to get a better idea of our research scope and approaches (although I’m always interested in expanding into new exciting research areas).
Below is a draft of some of the skills, experience, and characteristics that we value highly and will be useful for iSpace members. Of course, I don’t expect you to have mastery in all of these skills when joining the team — but you should be excited to expand in these areas. Note that all joining members should have at least some background in programming and be eager to do research.
Experience in programming, especially in the context of VR or Computer graphics is quite valuable. We currently use Vizard from Worldviz, a python-based programming library for the real-time VR simulations, and are exploring the usage of the popular game engine Unity3D which Bernhard also uses in his teaching of the immersive environments course IAT445. One of the tools we use for creating naturalistic 3D content is the procedural modeling modeling tool CityEngine.
Experimental design and statistics:
Experience in cleverly designing, conducting and analyzing mixed-methods experiments with human observers. [Bernhard currently teaches this also in the quantitative research methods and design course IAT 802
Writing, presentation, and communication skills:
Publishing and presenting research is not only the currency in academics, but also a way to give back to the community, both professional and general public. Thus, we highly value good scholarly writing, presentation, and general social/networking/communication skills.
Proactivity, enthusiasm, perseverance/grit and team/interpersonal skills:
Working in an interdisciplinary team can have it’s challenges, but it is also incredibly rewarding, especially for people with high proactivity, enthusiasm & perseverance, and good communication and team/interpersonal skills.
Technical & building skills:
Technical skills in building, construction, maintenance, and other geeky and MacGyver-ly skill (from electronics to setting up computers to building physical structures in the lab) can also be valuable (but aren’t a pre-requisite for being an iSpacer). Experience with VR equipment is certainly a plus. We’re currently using a custom-designed 2-axis circular treadmill, several visualization setups including a wide-FOV HMD (NVIS SX 111 with a polhemus tracking system), a large-screen passive stereo projection setup, and a custom-designed high-resolution, large-FOV Wheatstone Stereoscope, and started integrating the Oculus Rift and the Leap motion controller as well as EEG systems from Emotiv (EPOC & Insight) and Interaxon (Muse) integrated with a real-time 3D game engine (Unity3D) that we also use in our teaching. We’re currently working on improving our real-time spatialized sound rendering (HRTF convolution, and have the equipment for binaural recordings. We’re also using an pimped Gyroxus gaming motion chair with additional shaker for vibration rendering, and are experimenting with other user-powered motion cueing interfaces (aka “the ultimate gaming chair”).
What is SIAT?
Check out our SIAT webiste or watch the or check out SIAT’s YouTube channel. Below is an overview video (focused mainly on our undergrad education, but still a good overview on that aspect of SIAT).
ACM VRST (Virtual Reality Software and Technology)
SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer–Human Interaction)
ACM Symposium on Applied Perception (SAP) (formerly: Applied Perception in Graphics & Visualization)
IMRF (International Multimodal Research forum)
Psychology & Cognitive Science
VSS Vision Sciences Society annual meeting
EVCP European Conference on Visual Perception
Networking & Links
School of Interactive Arts + Technology (SIAT)
Simon Fraser University Surrey
250 –13450 102 Avenue Surrey, BC V3T 0A3 CANADA
iSpace Lab (aka Alternate Realities Lab): SUR 3800 (3rd floor)
my office: SUR 2830 (2nd floor)
Directions by Skytrain: take the expo line direction King George, exit at Surrey Central, walk across the parking lot to the tall office tower (with the SFU sign above the Blenz), take the wide stairs/escalator up to the Mezzanine (=2nd) floor.
Take a right for my office (2830), or walk up to the 3rd floor and take a right for the iSpace lab (room 3800).
Note that the elevator won’t let you exit on the 2nd or 3rd floor.
phone: +1 778.782.8432 (Riecke office)
phone: +1 778.782.3111 (3800 lab)
fax: +1 778.782.7488
Map and Directions (large map)
Google Street Map View