Virtual Experience Research Accelerator (VERA)

VERA Logo

Supported by five collaborative grants from the National Science Foundation, the Virtual Experience Research Accelerator (VERA) project will develop and operate CISE  community research infrastructure in the form of a human-machine system for carrying out human subjects research related to extended reality (XR), including Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

About the VERA logo.

NSF Logo

News

[13 DEC 2023] Announcing the 2024 Community Advisory Board (CAB)!
[30 NOV 2023] VERA PI Tabitha Peck gave a keynote address on "Understanding and Harnessing Self-Avatars to Investigate and Mitigate Bias" at EuroXR 2023 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
[17 NOV 2023] VERA committee membership application is available now.
[01 NOV 2023] Ali Haskins Lisle has joined VERA as the Director of Development and Operations (DDO). Story on UCF Nursing News.
[19 SEP 2023] Anthony Steed has joined VERA as a Senior Technical Advisor! See our LinkedIn post.
[18 AUG 2023] Video of the VERA Panel at the 2023 XR Access Symposium is now available.
[25 JUL 2023] VERA on Twitter (X)
[01 JUL 2023] VERA Announce mail list created — subscribe on the mail lists page
[23 MAY 2023] Lehigh University news story.
[03 MAY 2023] Cornell Tech post on LinkedIn.
[27 APR 2023] Davidson College "NSF Grant Opens Doors to Extended Reality Research."
[25 APR 2023] NSF announcement and UCF story "UCF Leads Development of First Large-scale System for Extended Reality Research".

Mission

To serve the community of XR researchers by providing tools to accelerate and improve the quality of their human subjects research, building and sustaining a diverse and inclusive collaborative community of XR researchers, and fostering the next generation of XR researchers.

Resources

Leadership

Principal Investigators

Investigators

Development and Operations

    • Ali Haskins Lisle, Director of Development and Operations, University of Central Florida
    • Dylan Fox, Accessibility Lead and XR Access Director of Operations

Additional Support

    • Ryan SCHUBERT, Special Projects Coordinator, University of Central Florida
    • Alex MOLINA, Administrative Assistant to Prof. Greg Welch, University of Central Florida

Collaborators

External Advisors

    • Anthony STEED, Senior Technical Advisor, University College London

Student Teams

Community Committees

Outreach and Engagement Committee

The committee focuses on broad community involvement, and building/growing a diverse user community.

DEIA Committee

The committee oversees and advises on project-wide DEIA efforts.

Ethics and Privacy Committee

The committee works with the other committees to identify and offer guidance on potential ethical concerns related to engagement, research participation and data reuse, and platform design.

Participant Pool Committee

The committee oversees all matters related to the participant pool including demographics, payments, IRB approvals, and the inclusion of vulnerable populations.

Systems and Operations Committee

The committee oversees the development and operations of all VERA systems, services, and tools.

Community Advisory Board

The VERA Community Advisory Board (CAB) provides strategic perspectives, critical thinking, and specific advice to the entire VERA organization.

Summary

Researchers conducting lab-based human subject research in XR (Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality) typically find themselves working very hard, over considerable time, to run studies that end up producing very narrow findings for a limited population. With extensive interactions with the XR community, the Virtual Experience Research Accelerator (VERA) project will develop a transformative new CISE community research infrastructure in the form of a human-machine system (hardware, software, and people) that combines and extends aspects of distributed lab-based studies, online studies, research panels, and crowdsourcing, into a unified system for carrying out XR-based research. VERA was designed with and for the XR community to tackle this field’s research needs, supplying the demand for big data from diverse subjects at high scalability. The system will enable researchers to conduct XR user studies online, concurrently across a very large, carefully curated, diverse, dedicated standing pool of XR study participants. Access to the infrastructure will fundamentally change the way XR researchers develop and conduct research, enabling them to break free from the intractability of the lab-based study paradigm, and to dramatically accelerate the quality and quantity of new knowledge. Access will also increase equity by providing opportunities for XR researchers (including students) from all parts of the nation to do high-impact research even if they do not have access to XR labs and equipment at their local university. It will enable innovative research with large and diverse participant samples, longitudinal and replication studies, as well as large diverse data set generation for machine learning and other purposes. As part of this effort, the VERA team will implement and publish mechanisms to make studies more accessible and inclusive.

The project includes a significant community-engaged approach to development of the platform through strategic partnerships with industry and community-based organizations who will help in building the platform and disseminating the work throughout the XR community. The infrastructure will provide a transformational tool for XR researchers by leveraging the large and rapidly growing base of XR systems in the homes of the general public, and the abilities of the owners to use them. With consent from these users, VERA will enable CISE researchers to conduct very high-quality studies very quickly. VERA is also designed to tackle this field’s research agenda, supplying the demand for big data from diverse human subjects at high scalability. It will enable innovative research with large and diverse participant samples, longitudinal and replication studies, as well as large diverse data set generation for AI, machine learning and other purposes.

 


25 JUL 2023
VERA administrator email address