Idea Generation


When you think of VR where does your mind go? Is it an ultra-realistic video game providing the complete entertainment experience? Or maybe it’s being able to view the Grand Canyon while sitting in your living room. But what about putting on a headset and going to work?

The Cornell Virtual Embodiment Lab is asking questions about collaboration and competition, something anyone with a 9-5 job is all too familiar with.

So why should you care about this? Well, if you’ve had to travel for work meeting you may want to pay attention. Companies spend a total of $111.7 billion a year in domestic travel for conventions, meetings, and training purposes. However, as VR technology becomes more advanced some of these trips may not be needed. Instead of flying to corporate headquarters employees could simply meet in a virtual space. This would save valuable resources in time, money, and fuel expenses that come with travel.

This study was headed by Yilu Sun, who came to the lab as a MPS student in Information Science.  Her experiment was inspired by an earlier study that tracked movement of participants in collaborating pairs to predict their success at a collaborative task.

In her study, she manipulated avatar appearance, and whether participants were competing or collaborating.  She is currently analyzing the data, and hopes to contribute to knowledge about how common social interactions may occur in virtual reality. “When we see the trends we notice all of these fantasies we see in sci-fi coming within our grasps. VR is a tool that can transition us into a more globally connected group of people.”


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