The XR Research Awards 2021 received great interest with 319 applications and 89 proposals. The XRRA provided a new opportunity for researchers and content creators to apply to a €50,000 fund to study behaviour in VR and promote the use of objective data to understand human behavioural responses in VR.
The Awards targeted worldwide researchers, content creators or individuals affiliated with academic, research, clinical, rehabilitation, or commercial organisations. The proposals had to integrate biosensors to provide for objective outcome measures to be eligible. The awards provide cash, equipment and support for projects.
Of the 319 applications and 89 proposals, twelve solutions stood out. The finalists were judged by leaders in the fields of scientific research, biosignals, safety and business. The proposals were judged on the following criteria: focus on validating the effectiveness of VR, team collaboration, working with partners in two or more organisations and having clear defined outputs.
The winners are:
1st prize: “The impact of social reciprocity on attitudes and behaviour in virtual social interactions” by Dr Leon Kroczek, Dipl.-Psych.
“Face-to-face interactions are a fundamental part of our life and Virtual Reality is a promising tool to study social behaviour. The XRRA award allows us to take VR research on social interactions to the next level by implementing an ecologically valid, real-time interaction paradigm based on eye gaze and facial expressions. This project will advance our understanding of social behaviour during real-time social interactions.” commented Leon Kroczek, the winner of the 1st prize
In addition to the 2 runner-up awards, an additional runner-up prize was given this year due to the number of quality submissions.
1st runner up prize: “Development of a framework for emotional audio research (EAR) that uses biofeedback to deepen the immersive experience through the real-time integration of data from various biosensor inputs, which adaptively modify and enhance auditory content” by Richard Warp, Producer and Composer at Pollen VR, London
2nd runner up prize: “Investigating the Effectiveness of Treating Pain and Anxiety with Virtual Reality Using Physiological Data” by Omer Liran, Co-director of Virtual Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles
3rd additional runner up prize award went to the proposal for “Augmented Interoception: Parameters of Pain” by Hamid Ghaednia, Research Scientist at Massachussetts General Hospital, Boston
“The judges were very impressed by the number and calibre of submissions to this first XR Research Awards. There’s tremendous excitement in the metaverse, but clearly, more research is needed to ensure that XR is rolled out safely and with a strong evidence base. We are delighted to announce that the XR Research Awards will continue in 2022, and we invite entrants to register for the new competition at www.xrra.net” commented Dr. Charles Nduka, CEO and Scientist of Emteq Labs