#167 | "Investigating human mind, behavior and body in virtual worlds" by Agata Marta Soccini
Agata Marta Soccini, University of Toronto: "Investigating human mind, behavior and body in virtual worlds"
28.07.2022, ab 15:00
Agata is an Assistant Professor at the Computer Science Department at University of Torino, and recently became the head of the Virtual Reality Lab at the Human Science and Technology center. She has been working in the field of virtual reality, human computer interaction and computer graphics for over a decade, focusing on the role of human perception and human body in virtual worlds.
Agata joined Academia working on virtual reality systems for the European Space Agency, and spent her PhD years mainly in Japan, at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, working on the embodiment of self avatars for neuro-cognitive rehabilitation systems. During her research years, she received several grants and awards, including a scholarship for Gnomon School of VFX in Los Angeles, and her PhD Thesis was nominated among the best in the field presented at ACM SIGGRAPH 2020. She started her career working on computer graphics for the movie industry in California, while her work caught the interest of the world of contemporary art and was exhibited in several major museums, i.e. Fondazione Prada.
"Investigating human mind, behavior and body in virtual worlds"
At University of Torino, the center for Human Science and Technology opened in 2022 as a research facility with a strong interdisciplinary approach. The scope is to support research, both in the scientific community and in enterprises, with a wide range of instruments, laboratories and technologies. Most importantly, the center offers the competences of the members of the labs, coming from different disciplines and departments. The focus is the mind and behavior of human beings in their relationship with technology, in terms of cognitive processes such as decisions, attention, learning, language, perception, thought, understanding, motor control, representation of the body, multisensory integration.
In this scenario, virtual reality (VR) can be seen as a perfect playground to create controlled and safe environments and build experimental setups. The main projects we are currently working on include: experiential training for individuals with autism, who may benefit of approaching everyday tasks several times in VR before facing the real world; motor rehabilitation for post-stroke patients, who can take advantage of the representation of a self-avatar to regain the control of their virtual and physical bodies; measuring features of human brain that are known in the physical world but not in virtual and mixed spaces, such as the peripersonal space plasticity; raising the environmental awareness of the users towards a behavioral change in real life.
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