Virtual Reality Group

There is little doubt that media technologies like the computer, mobile phones, or the Internet substantially affect society. But for more than 20 years engineers, computer scientists, and social scientists worked together on a new type of technology – Virtual Reality. Related innovations, like the Oculus Rift, are now leaving the labs and will soon enter offices and living rooms. They promise not only to change the way of video game play, today’s biggest entertainment industry, but may also seriously affect other domains such as social media, therapy and health care, training, and work-related interactions. VU scholars should work together on examining the impact of these new VR technologies. For this reason, Marco Otte, Chief technology officer at the Network Institute, and FSW scholar Tilo Hartmann, decided to set up this Virtual Reality Group. The group is dedicated to bring together dedicated VU scholars that want to study the impact of VR. The Network Institute’s interdisciplinary focus on studying “the digital planet” provides a good fit for such a group, and the NI’s GameCella (located in the Metropolitan Building) already features 3 Oculus Rift headsets that can be used for empirical VR studies. Feel free to contact Marco or Tilo if you are interested. You are very welcome to join the VR group or to contribute blog postings!

Tilo Hartmann Communication Science [VU]
Marco Otte Network Institute [Tech Labs VU]
Jelte Bos Human Factors [TNO-VU]
Arno Lodder Law [VU]
Sander Bakkes Game Technology / Serious Games Group [UvA]
Kasper Welbers Communication Science [VU]
Hande Sungur Communication Science [VU]
Andre Krouwel Kieskompas / Communication Science [VU]
Jeroen de Man Agent System Reasoning Group [VU]
Tibor Bosse Agent System Reasoning Group, CS [VU]
Jean-Louis van Gelder NSCR
Charlotte Gerritsen NSCR
Robbert van de Velde Communication Science (VU)
Katinka van der Kooij FALW (VU)
Jantsje Mol IVM (VU)
Faviola Brugger-Dadis Clinical Neuropsychology (VU)


  • Training the Elderly (12/3/2017) -

    Doorstep scams are scams in which a con artist has a convincing, but fraudulent, story with the purpose of coming into your house and/or stealing money. Often these scams appear at the doorstep, for example when somebody wants to enter your house because they must check the electricity or with similar excuses. However, it also [...]

  • Virtually Bad (5/6/2017) -

    This project introduces the concept of “virtual bad guys”: intelligent virtual agents that take a negative or even aggressive stance towards the user. Although they pave the way to various interesting applications, it is hard to create virtual bad guys that are taken seriously by the user, since they are typically unable to apply serious [...]

  • Can VR help autistic children? (5/1/2017) -

    In this study a virtual environment was build to see if a virtual training agent could help autistic children in trying to relate to other children. The idea was that a virtual environment feels safer and the children will more easily accept instructions and interact with the virtual agents.

    The participants would sit in a [...]

  • Network Institute VR at IDFA 2017 (2/1/2017) -

    Take a look at this short impression of the VR display at the IDFA this year.

  • Tech Labs VR featured in Discovery Channel documentary (11/14/2016) -

    As most of you have probably seen in the Tech Labs Newsletters, the Tech Labs have been working on a virtual neighborhood for studying burglary. These studies are a collaboration between the NSCR (Jean-Louis van Gelder), the University of Porstmouth (Claire Nee) and the Network Institute’s Tech Labs (Marco Otte). The previous version of the [...]

  • Video on Virtual Reality in Academic Research (10/21/2015) -

    Erik Verwiel, master student at the UvA, made a short video about the role of immersive Virtual Reality in academic research at the moment. ReTeks

  • Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn (Stanford) talks about Immersive VR Sept 15 (8/31/2015) - As part of the unfolding activities of Network Iinstitute’s VR group, we would be excited if you like to save the date for an upcoming presentation by Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, former Stanford Ph.D. of Jeremy Bailenson. Grace will talk about “Persuasive Technologies: Using Immersive Virtual Environments to Promote Attitude and Behavior Change.” Grace will [...]
  • Are Aggressive Agents as Scary as Aggressive Humans? (7/13/2015) -

    This question has recently been investigated by a team of researchers from the VU Computer Science department and the NSCR. The results have been published at the 14th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS), including the two Virtual Reaklity Group members Tibor Bosse and Jeroen de Man ( see for full article [...]

  • Feeling present in an impossible Virtual Reality (6/11/2015) -

    For most people, the term Virtual Reality will bring to mind visions of imaginary worlds, complicated devices and gaming teens, but nowadays, VR is increasingly being used for purposes other than gaming. Surgeons, for example, use it to operate using a robot. It is also used in training and education in the military, sports, healthcare [...]

  • VR against aggressive behaviour in the public sector (4/23/2015) -

    Aggressive behaviour against employees in the public sector, such as police officers, tram conductors, and ambulance personnel, is an ongoing concern worldwide, and in the Netherlands in particular. As an illustration, the Amsterdam public transport company GVB reports about 500 incidents of aggression against employees (e.g., insulting, threatening) per year. In general, such confrontations with [...]

  • Tech Labs en VR Criminal Research (3/17/2015) -

    In the Correspondent an interview was posted about criminological research using Virtual Reality. Jean-Lious van Gelder (NSCR) collaborated with Marco Otte of the Network Institute Tech Labs who created the Virtual Environment to research burglary behaviour (see Tech Labs Newsletter).

    To read the full article, click here.


  • The Oculus Rift is not just “another gaming device” (3/11/2015) -

    The Oculus Rift is not just “another gaming device” – it promises to initiate the next step in the evolution of media

    Among the video gamer it’s talk of the town, and soon it may be among many more people: the Oculus Rift, a new high-quality but low-cost Virtual Reality head-mounted display that may be [...]