BBC arrives at York to highlight vision research


Above: Subject in York’s tumbling room in the Centre for Vision Research

Geoff Watts (right), host of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio 4 science program, Leading Edge, might not be able to walk straight after he’s left the Keele campus today – either that, or he’ll be on a roll, after he’s had a turn in the tumbling room in the University’s Centre for Vision Research (CVR).

The BBC will be on the Keele campus today to interview York computer science Professor Michael Jenkin inside his virtual reality room in the CVR. Watts will be trying out the VR room and interviewing Jenkin for Leading Edge, which is due for broadcast in the near future. All their programs are archived, so if you cannot tune in to the original broadcast, you can hear it later.

CVR is an internationally-recognized interdisciplinary research centre that investigates human perception and includes researchers from psychology, biology, computer science and kinesiology.

Right: Michael Jenkin

To find out more about the BBC program, click here. To learn more about Jenkin’s recent research, read the Jan. 29 YFile.

More about the tumbling room

York’s tumbling room, also known as the Virtual Reality Cave, is housed in the Computer Science & Engineering Building. It is a fascinating six-sided room, loaded with projectors and mirrors at strategic spots behind walls that cast images on each of the six sides.

When participating in virtual reality experiments in the cave, subjects may be strapped to a chair or they may walk around. They will have the unnerving experience of the room seeming to move all around them, thanks to the technology that moves the projected images in concert.

And similar to experiments carried out in the former tumbling room, which was housed in the basement of Vari Hall, subjects may be observed in a room that revolves as they are held (willingly!) in a chair that tilts. Researchers, such as Jenkin, measure reactions of the subjects’ senses.

Below: Taking a spin in the tumbling room