Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab | NC State ISE

Welcome to the Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab

Karen Chen leads the Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab (VARL) in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Chen is also a 2021 alumna of the E.U.-U.S. Frontiers of Engineering of the National Academy of Engineering.

As the Principal Investigator (PI) of an award ($1.3M, 2021-2024) funded by the National Science Foundation, Chen’s latest research leverages immersive virtual reality to support students’ understanding of scale and number sense (numeracy). Learners can use their own bodies to gauge the sizes of the scientific entities displayed in a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE). Learners can also “grow” or “shrink” as they scale up or down based on powers of ten (10x). The video below shows the shrinking experience where a learner goes from the size of an asteroid to the size of a coronavirus.

Watch Chen’s Segment from PBS’s Sci NC

Read more about this research in Projects or featured College of Engineering page.

About Virtual and Augmented Reality Laboratory

Virtual reality, or VR, is a computer-generated graphical space that allows users to experience various environments. Users can travel to the medieval era and then teleport to a fictional village. Mixed reality, or MR, is where computer-generated graphics superimpose the physical environment. Mixed reality includes augmented reality (AR). In other words, the objects seen in the real world are now “augmented” with more information provided by MR / AR technology.

We have a four-sided (C4) Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) with full-body tracking capability, several head-mounted displays (HMDs), and a head-up display (HUD). Other peripheral devices support motion tracking.

We are particularly interested in studying the interactions between humans and VR/AR. We want to know how users perceive and behave in VR and AR and how they differ from the real world (a physical environment). We also explore the potential of VR/AR for various real-world applications.

We invite you to discover more about our Projects, People, Outreach, and Publications!

Watch the Virtual Reality Team on The CW22

Dr. Karen Chen and her research team (Tyler Rose, Rebecca Ellis, and Ken Chen) talk with The CW22’s Bill LuMaye about their virtual and augmented reality research and the VR/AR Lab.

Students Ken Chen and Tyler Rose discuss the differences between virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

Professor Karen Chen and student Rebecca Ellis discuss how they are using VR/AR in their research.

Karen Chen takes viewers on a tour of her VR/AR laboratory.