VSimulators provides a platform for multi-disciplinary research to study the human experience of real world environments. It is a catalyst, supported by a community of researchers and industry leaders from structural engineering, physiotherapy, psychology, architecture, biomechanics, immersive reality, vibration engineering and human movement science.
VSim is a dual-site facility. VSim@Bath provides a bespoke environmental chamber combined with projected virtual reality for two research volunteers supported by a biaxial horizontal motion platform. VSim@Exeter can recreate any environment either physically or virtually, immersing up to nine research volunteers in a simultaneous experience on an open motion platform with movement six degrees of freedom.
The specifications for the two facilities evolved from industry and academic requirements to improve understanding of the human motion perception and tolerance in the built environment. This requires simulation of the wind-induced sway of high rise buildings, the wobbling of footbridges, the bouncing of entertainment venues such as grandstands and theatres and the annoying footfall-induced vibrations of floors in multiple applications. Increasingly such dynamic response, that is perfectly safe but which can be annoying even with a few microns of displacement governs structural design and can be in direct conflict with sustainability when the conventional solution to excessive vibrations is heavier structural elements.
VSim@Bath is designed to simulate the large amplitude low frequency sway observed in tall buildings such as 432 Park Avenue. Extensive instrumentation is available to study human physiological response to such motions combined with controlled environmental conditions.
VSim@Exeter is designed for the lower amplitude, higher frequency vibrations of floors, footbridges and stadia. Motion and force capture facility coupled with head-mounted virtual reality provides capability to study the complex interaction of motion of humans and structures.
Research projects underway or in proposal stage are intended to improve design of structures for the people that use them through better understanding of factors involved.
There is increasing use of VSim for research in healthcare and movement science, with projects on Ménière's disease and Parkinson’s disease and a range of studies on healthy ageing including footwear and navigating public transport and the built environment.
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Exeter Science Park