What are the impacts of immersive technologies on users?

Blog - 2021-07-16

Stéphanie Philippe, ManzaLab

INFINITY aims to transform the traditional idea of criminal investigation and analysis using immersive and collaborative environments. INFINITY's concept is based around four core research and technical innovations that together, will provide a revolutionary approach and convert data into actionable intelligence.

In this context, project partners have conducted a preliminary analysis of potential impacts of the use of immersive technologies on the users: potential positive impacts as well as potential negative impacts. Literature from various fields have been considered to evaluate impacts on 3 dimensions: cognition, health, and well-being. For each kind of impact, we investigated means to measure and to mitigate (for negative impact) or to strengthen (for positive impact).

Considering the current status of the technologies, the key findings are as follows:

(1) Work in VR on the INFINITY platform should be weighted and dedicated to a limited number of tasks, to optimise the balance between positive and negative impacts.

(2) Measuring the effect of several stressors related to tasks in VR should be done on the INFINITY platform. This will be achieved by a monitoring tool and provide information about short term impacts on the users. Yet long term effects are still unknown and should be investigated.

(3) Introducing VR as a new ICT tool requires changes in terms of interaction and interfaces, which could impact mental workload. Despite requiring higher working memory resources than same tasks conducted in non VR environment, spatialization offered by immersive technologies seems to promote high performance when tasks take advantage of spatial information. INFINITY should thus focus on such tasks.

This report will be available in November.