IRIM Robotics Seminar–Steven M. LaValle

University of Illinois’s Steven M. LaValle presents “Virtual Reality: Full Steam Ahead” as part of the IRIM Robotics Seminar Series. The seminar will be held in the Marcus Nanotechnology Building from 12-1 p.m. and is open to the public. Please note: This week’s seminar is on a Friday.


Using the latest technology, we can safely hijack your most trusted senses, thereby fooling your brain into believing you are in another world. Virtual reality (VR) has been around for a long time, but due to the recent convergence of sensing, display, and computation technologies, there is an unprecedented opportunity to explore this form of human augmentation with lightweight, low-cost materials and simple software platforms. This is an intense form of human-computer interaction (HCI) that requires re-examining core engineering principles with a direct infusion of perceptual psychology research.

Developing systems that optimize classical criteria might lead to overcomplicated solutions that are too slow or costly in practice, and yet could make no perceptible difference to users. Simple adaptation of techniques that were developed for on-screen viewing, such as cinematography and first-person shooter game play, often lead to unpleasant VR experiences due the presentation of unusual stimuli or due to mismatches between the human vestibular system and other senses. With the rapid rise in consumer VR, fundamental research questions are popping up everywhere, slicing across numerous disciplines from engineering to sociology, to film, to medicine. This talk will provide some perspective on where we have been and where we might be going next.


Steven LaValle, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is a specialist in the interdisciplinary field of robotics and is recognized as a world leader in motion planning, a fundamental research area not only in robotics, but also in other research and commercial applications, ranging from computational biology to virtual prototyping, architectural planning, and video-game design. His most recent work has centered on determining the minimal sensing requirements needed to solve tasks using machines that combine sensing, actuation, and computation. 

Event Details


  • Friday, September 5, 2014
    12:00 pm - Saturday, September 6, 2014
    12:59 pm
Location: Marcus Nanotechnology Building, Room 1116

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  • Steven M. LaValle

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Josie Giles
IRIM Marketing Communications Mgr.