Virtalis has supplied upgraded virtual reality (VR) hardware to a university research team conducting experiments into how the brain represents a 3D scene.
The Virtalis team has advised on and supplied the latest Head Mounted Display (HMD).
'The NVIS SXIII we have just started using incorporates LCD technology to give a much crisper, brighter picture with fewer distortions in the pixel array,' said Dr Andrew Glennerster, director of research for the Virtual Reality Research Group.
In the latest series of experiments by the research group, which are in the data-gathering phase, the scientists are trying to determine whether people generate a 3D model of the world in their heads or instead store a representation that is more like a set of images.
'We are attempting to find out what rules the brain applies to the images they see and, for this reason, we have made as simple a VR image as possible,' said Glennerster.
'We aren't trying to reflect real life or have objects behave as they would ordinarily do - VR allows you to do this and is a crucial tool in this area of science,' he added.
The VR scene devised by the research group consists of three very long lines with no apparent top or bottom and an unchanging width in the image as the participant moves around the scene.
This simplicity makes it possible to distinguish the predictions of the two models.
The preliminary results from the latest phase of experiments have been presented at the European Conference on Visual Perception by Dr Lyndsey Pickup.
The complete freedom to move within the virtual environments the team designs is seen as very important.
The research group has just begun using a Vicon MX3 system with Tracker software to track head and eye movements.
'In an earlier set of experiments about the size and depth of objects, we were able to prove that most participants fail to notice a fourfold increase in room size when it is expanded in a particular way,' explained Glennerster.
This raised challenging questions about the way humans represent 3D space.
'One of the most exciting is the possibility of helping blind people build up their own representation of the world from cameras under their control,' Glennerster added.