Virtual Reality at VU Amsterdam
The advantage of doing research through VR is that behaviour can be studied in ‘real life’, users can visit places where they would not easily go and be confronted with urgent and complex problems.
Plastic pollution represents one of the greatest environmental threats. However, due to its gradual piling up in the ecosystem and the fact that most of it ends up in the ocean, one might find the link between their daily plastic consumption and its negative impact on the Earth too abstract.
In Project N.O.M.P. (which stands for No More Plastic), Prof. Dr. Tilo Hartmann (VU), Dr. Hande Sungur (UvA, PI), Dr. Zeph van Berlo (UvA) and Dr.Hana Hegyiova (UvA) in collaboration with WeMakeVR, the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute and VU A Broader Mind have developed an interactive and immersive VR experience in which players can personally experience the consequences of their plastic consumption and learn how they can change their behaviour to prevent plastic pollution.
Sylvia Moes (Innovation manager VU Amsterdam) is the driving force behind the project together with Adriaan Wierenga (senior lecturer/researcher and coordinator of the RUG student court), which is supported with a subsidy from the Open and Online Education incentive scheme.
PleitVRij is a virtual environment that gives students the opportunity to practise pleading in a courtroom. This room – the oldest courtroom in the Netherlands – has been photographed in 360 degrees with a layer in which the audience and the judges have been filmed. This allows the student to look around with VR goggles for a lifelike experience.
In the virtual courtroom, you see judges and other attendees writing, nodding and looking around. But really innovative is the addition of live video footage within the virtual environment. The president of the court, anywhere in the world, sits in front of a green screen and is streamed into the virtual environment. This way, live interaction between the judge and the student is possible within this virtual courtroom.