Bernhard Riecke

bernhard

Positions and Affiliations:

Contact:

ber1 at sfu dot ca

Brief Biography

I am a psycho-physicist and Cognitive Scientist who’s excited about study­ing how humans orient in vir­tual and real envi­ron­ments. I received my PhD in Physics from the Tübingen University in Germany and researched for a decade in the Virtual Reality group of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany. After a post-doc in Psychology at Vanderbilt University I joined the School of Interactive Arts & Technology of Simon Fraser University as an assis­tant pro­fes­sor in 2008. My research approach com­bines fun­da­men­tal sci­en­tific research with an applied per­spec­tive of improv­ing human-computer interaction.

I com­bine multi-disciplinary research approaches and immer­sive vir­tual envi­ron­ments to inves­ti­gate what con­sti­tutes effec­tive, robust, embod­ied and intu­itive human spa­tial cog­ni­tion, ori­en­ta­tion and behav­iour (and many other things as you can see on the projects pages). This fun­da­men­tal knowl­edge is used to guide the design of novel, more effec­tive human-computer inter­faces and inter­ac­tion par­a­digms that enable sim­i­lar processes in computer-mediated envi­ron­ments like vir­tual real­ity (VR) and multi-media. These improved inter­faces can then enable and inspire fur­ther research, both fun­da­men­tal and applied.

Supervision

super­vised theses

Teaching

see above link

Publications

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
  • 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
  • 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, piv­otal experiences).
  • multi-modal, inter­ac­tive art/dance pieces and performances

Below is a short intro video explain­ing my over­all research agenda and vision for the iSpace lab. See the Vision sub­page for details.

Interested in Joining the iSpace Team?

I’m cur­rently look­ing for bright and moti­vated PhD stu­dents to join our iSpace lab. See the Contact & Join Us sub­page for details.

Projects

Navigation Interface Tutorial

Navigation Interfaces for Virtual Reality and Gaming: Theory and Practice to be held at IEEE VR 2017, Sunday, March 19, 1:30pm — 5:00pm Presenters: Ernst Kruijff & Bernhard Riecke Description In this course, we will take a detailed look at var­i­ous breeds of spa­tial nav­i­ga­tion inter­faces that allow for loco­mo­tion in dig­i­tal 3D envi­ron­ments such as games, vir­tual envi­ron­ments or even the explo…


Gamified Research

Gamifying Research — Researchifying Games While tra­di­tional exper­i­men­tal par­a­digms offer tight stim­u­lus con­trol and repeata­bil­ity, then tend to be a bit boring and removed from many real-world sit­u­a­tions, which can limit real-world trans­fer­abil­ity of results. How can we bring together the method­olog­i­cal strenghs of research with the intrin­sic moti­va­tion of play­ful­ness and gaming? The …


Navigational Search in VR: Do Reference Frames Help?

Would the rec­tan­gu­lar ref­er­ence frame of a CAVE help to reduce dis­ori­en­ta­tion and improve nav­i­ga­tion per­for­mance in VR? Here, we show that simply pro­vid­ing the rec­tan­gu­lar ref­er­ence frame of a room (as a simple wire­frame cuboid), but not a CAVE improved nav­i­ga­tional search per­for­mance.   Despite recent advances in vir­tual real­ity, loco­mo­tion in a vir­tual envi­ron­ment is still restricted becau…


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…


Pulse Breath Water

Pulse Breath Water is an immer­sive vir­tual envi­ron­ment manip­u­lated by the pulse of a participant’s breath that pro­vokes and chal­lenges the inter­ac­tion between a user and the sub­stan­tial ele­ment of the envi­ron­ment: water. The system “senses” the par­tic­i­pant, while the participant’s breath­ing feeds the system. The process is a sym­bi­otic play between inter­nal human processes [biosens­ing t…


Lost Spirit

Flight after death: Lost Spirit is an experiential-based Virtual Reality (VR) game whereby the player is trans­ported into the spirit world as they take flight to the after­life. Experience flight, weight­less­ness, and wonder. In Lost Spirit, you are stuck in the limbo — a world between the living and the dead. You will drift and fly through dif­fer­ent envi­ron­ments, each cor­re­spond­ing to different…


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…


Biofeedback in VR - SOLAR

Resonance in Virtual Environments: hack­ing biofeed­back for alter­ing user’s affec­tive states How can we com­bine immer­sive vir­tual envi­ron­ments (VE) with biofeed­back and gam­i­fi­ca­tion to foster relax­ation, de-stressing and med­i­ta­tive states? That is, instead of increas­ing sen­sory over­load, can we use the immer­sive and affec­tive poten­tial of VE and gam­i­fi­ca­tion to assist espe­cially novice meditato…


Motion Seats for VR

Using motion seats for enhanc­ing loco­mo­tion and immer­sion in VR How can we pro­vide a “moving expe­ri­ence” through VR with­out having to use a full-scale motion plat­form? Could a com­pact and rel­a­tively low-cost “motion seat” pro­vide some of the same ben­e­fits, thus reduc­ing cost, com­plex­ity, space & safety require­ments? Despite con­sid­er­able advances in Simulation and Virtual Real…


VR in Architecture Design & Review

How can we use immer­sive Virtual Reality and embod­ied loco­mo­tion inter­faces to to design more  cost– and space-efficient solu­tions for effec­tive pre­sen­ta­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion of archi­tec­tural designs and ideas?  Our over­all goal is to iter­a­tively design and eval­u­ate a novel embod­ied VR system that enables users to quickly, intu­itively, and pre­cisely posi­tion their vir­tual view­point in 3D space…


Transition into VR: TransLocation

How can we ease users’ tran­si­tion from the real sur­round­ings into the vir­tual world? Many of today’s vir­tual real­ity (VR) setups are very much focused on tech­ni­cal aspects rather then the ben­e­fits of a coher­ent user expe­ri­ence. This work explores the idea of enhanc­ing the VR expe­ri­ence with a tran­si­tion phase. On a phys­i­cal level, this tran­si­tion offers the user a mean­ing­ful metaphor for en…


Cross-Disciplinary 'Immersion' Framework

Describing media as ‘immer­sive’ is ambigu­ous.  From debil­i­tat­ing addic­tion to ther­a­peu­tic relief, media engage­ment holds a clear dual­ity in its effect on human­ity… Without an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of “immer­sion”, why do we allow this con­cept to be so read­ily invoked in dis­cus­sions of books, visual art, video games, vir­tual real­ity sys­tems and more? While “immer­sion” into tr…


The Tabletop Makerspace

The table­top Makerspace was a Mitacs intern­ship project con­ducted in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Science World. A set of class­room tools was devel­oped to sup­port ‘Maker’ activ­i­ties at the museum. The tools included a home-built 3D printer and a set of elec­tron­ics kits for work­ing with the Arduino micro­con­troller. An intro­duc­tion to elec­tron­ics work­shop was devel­oped with local makers and Science World …


Gyroxus Gaming Chair for Motion Cueing in VR

Can self-motion per­cep­tion in vir­tual real­ity (VR) be enhanced by pro­vid­ing afford­able, user-powered min­i­mal motion cueing? Introduction & Motivation:  Can self-motion per­cep­tion in vir­tual real­ity (VR) be enhanced by pro­vid­ing afford­able, user-powered min­i­mal motion cueing? To inves­ti­gate this, we com­pared the effect of dif­fer­ent inter­ac­tion and motion par­a­digms on onset latency and intensi…


Embodied Self-Motion Illusions in VR

How can we pro­vide humans with a believ­able sen­sa­tion of being in and moving through computer-generated envi­ron­ments (like VR, com­puter games, or movies) with­out the need for costly and cum­ber­some motion plat­forms or large free-space walk­ing areas? That is, how can we “cheat intel­li­gently” by pro­vid­ing a com­pelling, embod­ied self-motion illu­sion (“vec­tion”) with­out the need for full phys­i­cal mo…


Dynamic Visual Cues for Spatial Updating

Why is object recog­ni­tion from novel view­points facil­i­tated if not the object rotates, but the observer moves around the object? According to the pre­vail­ing opin­ion, “spa­tial updat­ing” of our mental spa­tial rep­re­sen­ta­tion is sup­posed to be the under­ly­ing process. Here, we pro­vide first evi­dence that chal­lenge this notion, in that dynamic visual cues alone might be suf­fi­cient or at least contrib…


Navigational Search in VR: Do we need to walk?

Do we need full phys­i­cal motions for effec­tive nav­i­ga­tion through Virtual Environments? Recent results sug­gest that trans­la­tions might not be as impor­tant as pre­vi­ously believed, which could enable us to reduce over­all sim­u­la­tion effort and cost Physical rota­tions and trans­la­tions are the basic con­stituents of nav­i­ga­tion behav­ior, yet there is mixed evi­dence about their rel­a­tive impor­tance for co…


Spatial Cognition in VR vs. real world

Comparing spa­tial perception/cognition in real versus immer­sive vir­tual envi­ron­ments: it doesn’t com­pare! Virtual real­ity (VR) is increas­ingly used in psy­cho­log­i­cal research and appli­ca­tions – but does VR really afford nat­ural human spa­tial perception/cognition, which is a pre­req­ui­site for effec­tive spa­tial behav­ior? Using judg­ment of rel­a­tive direc­tion (JRD) tasks, Riecke & McNamara (Psychonom…


iSpaceMecha

Collaboration between the iSpace lab at SIAT and Mechatronics to design and build a unique, vir­tual real­ity multi-modal motion sim­u­la­tor The iSpace pro­gram is cen­tered on inves­ti­gat­ing what con­sti­tutes effec­tive, robust, and intu­itive human spa­tial ori­en­ta­tion and behav­iour. This fun­da­men­tal knowl­edge will be applied to design novel, more effec­tive human-computer inter­faces and inter­ac­tion paradi…


Path Integration in 3D

Switching Spatial Reference Frames for Yaw and Pitch Navigation: We’re used to nav­i­gat­ing on the ground plane, and have devel­oped spe­cific strate­gies to do so. How do these change if we move in a ver­ti­cal plane (roller-coaster-like, includ­ing head over heels motions)? Can we still main­tain ori­en­ta­tion and remem­ber where we came from, even though such upwards or down­wards (pitch) motions ar…


Auditory Navigation Displays

Can spa­tial audi­tory cues enable us to remain ori­ented while nav­i­gat­ing real or vir­tual envi­ron­ments? Non-visual nav­i­ga­tion inter­faces are cru­cial for the blind, who suffer great reduc­tions in mobil­ity because of the dif­fi­culty of nav­i­gat­ing new envi­ron­ments. Sighted users may also ben­e­fit from these types of dis­plays when they are nav­i­gat­ing but can’t see the screen of their mobile devi…


Sympathetic Guitar

Do humans response socially to abstract, expres­sive human-computer inter­faces? To inter­act with the Sympathetic Guitar is to use a famil­iar and com­fort­able Western musi­cal inter­face to feel an instant con­nec­tion to musi­cal cul­ture and style of the East.  The pro­to­type senses gui­tarists’ hand motions and per­for­mance dynam­ics to aug­ment a stan­dard clas­si­cal guitar with a dig­i­tal drone…


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 …


Sonic Cradle

Sonic Cradle sus­pends the body is a com­pletely dark cham­ber which encour­ages expe­ri­ences com­pa­ra­ble to mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion.  Users com­pose peace­ful sound­scapes in real-time using only their breath­ing. 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…