[Press and Publications] Taking the Effort Out of Shopping: University Seeks Volunteers for Virtual Reality Project

July 2001

No 93

Virtual Reality technology can make shopping an easier experience for elderly people, as University of Leicester researchers are proving.

The Virtual Reality Research Group, in the Department of Psychology, is building an interactive computerised model of a local shopping centre in order to teach potential customers how to find their way around, from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

The model is viewed on a normal computer screen, and allows participants to move around the virtual building simply by pressing a few buttons.

Virtual Reality provides a colourful, interesting and fun way of learning about unfamiliar environments, and the technology used for the study is surprisingly easy to use, and can be adapted to an individualís needs.

The group is hoping to teach elderly participants, both able-bodied and those with some disabilities, about the layout of a shopping centre, before taking them to the real shopping centre itself, to see how much they have learned.

It is hoped that this research will go towards creating a solution to some of the problems faced by elderly people and those with mobility problems today.

The group is appealing for local people of retirement age, who are willing to give up a few hours of their time to help with this invaluable research, to take part in the study.

All those interested in taking part can find out more information from H Duffy, the University of Leicester Psychology Department, telephone number (0116) 252 2170.

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: 25 July 2001 14:37
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