Virtual Reality research during COVID-19 Pandemic

T.R. Gallagher, Sofia Garcia Fracaro

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


An increasing number of virtual reality (VR) environments are in development and consequently, the need to evaluate these safely and systematically has arisen. However, evaluating these applications in the midst of a global pandemic poses challenges for researchers. To our knowledge, no systematic methods for evaluating VR environments exist which address both the safety and methodological issues related to this type of research. To address this gap, we propose a protocol for researching VR environments that aims to reduce participant and researcher risk of COVID-19 infections, and reduce inaccuracies in data collection which could result in misleading findings. This protocol adopts safety recommendations from the World Health Organisation, the German Government’s central scientific institution in the field of biomedicine, the Robert Koch Institute and the health and safety guidelines of a major science and technology company invested in evaluating VR environments. The protocol offers guidance for organizing the physical environment to minimise the risk of infection. For example, only one participant and one researcher should be present in the same room at the same time and should maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters, the room should meet the minimum size requirements suggested by local regulations, and the room should be well ventilated. Furthermore, the protocol stipulates the need to divide the research room into pre-defined areas with safety markings on the floor. This precaution aims to reduce the risk of contamination through proximity between researcher and participant. In addition to physical environment guidelines, guidance for personal safety behaviour is also included. For example, FFP2 class face masks must be always worn by both researcher and participant, they must sanitise their hands at crucial stages of the research, and the researcher must ensure that the VR head-mounted display and controllers are clean for the participant prior to use.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021
EventMarie Curie Alumni Association : yearly conference -
Duration: 5 Mar 20217 Mar 2021


ConferenceMarie Curie Alumni Association
Abbreviated titleMCAA


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