Protecting the Outside from the Inside: New UNM VR Research

Protecting the Outside from the Inside: New UNM VR Research

These are the tips and lessons school children have learned for ages: do your part to save the planet. Whether it’s recycling, reducing water consumption or carpooling, we teach you that it is essential to protect the environment. Yet it is the actions of many that make the difference.

This is the lesson that Professor Michael Lechuga and graduate student Robert Howard try to communicate in a unique way.

We’re tackling environmental issues, but we’re also trying to do it in innovative ways,” Lechuga said.

They worked with California State University San Bernardino’s xReal Lab to develop the “Reconnections” video game, a true representation of why it’s important to trust your neighbors to also play their part in a greener future.

Thanks to a grant of nearly $10,000 from UNM Research Stipends CommitteeLechuga and Howard were able to set up the VR Lab and purchase Oculus hardware to transport participants to a remote island.

All we’ve done since is build what is potentially an environment, or a series of environments that will allow people to reshape their connection with the environment, reshape their connection with other people,” he said. declared. “Really, it’s the attitude change we want.”

From there, participants go through four stages, each designed to test their ability to choose more than the last. It also incorporates an age-old example from game theory: the prisoner’s dilemma.

“IIf we all collectively make decisions that benefit society, we will eventually create a better social bond between us,” Lechuga said.

You are presented with decisions like building bridges for the betterment of the island or building yourself a house for your own sake. Later, you will also have to choose between burning almost extinct creatures and burning your own possessions.

However, to reach higher levels and reach the end of the game, your other players – with whom you have no contact – must also make the right choice.

JThe prisoner’s dilemma, of course, creates a situation where individual decision makers will always feel more inclined to choose in a way that helps them, but does not lead to the best outcome for the individuals as a group.

“It most closely resembles what we experience in the real world. We can do everything right and do our part, but if someone doesn’t do their part, then we’re all kind of left sitting in the ruins. – Professor Michael Lechuga

The RV tech allows you to immerse yourself in the progress of decision-making. You can place wooden planks, collect fish, and walk around the land.

Lechuga says that on average, by engaging with VR technology for 45 minutes to an hour, you’re more likely to embody the character and the situation.

He and Howard believe that seeing is believing. If you truly feel the consequences of your actions, it will translate into your real-life behavior in the face of climate change.

Environmental activism often boils down to recycling more or loving the environment more, but having a different attitude towards the environment is what we try to harness,” he said.

You can always also look at the numbers.

Right now humans are emitting about 9.5 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year by burning fossil fuels, and another 1.5 billion from land modifications. Since 1750, humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 50%. In reality, more than 99.9% of peer-reviewed scientific articles agree that climate change is primarily caused by us, according to a recent survey of 88,125 climate-related studies.

Developed with the assistance of Dr. Kate Hoyt of Pacific Lutheran University and Shane Burrell, Jr., a graduate student at the University of Oregon, all collaborators believe that there is something to be said about this novel approach.

“We kind of tried to mimic how our own ecosystem works and can only be sustained if we really invest in our ecosystems,” Lechuga said.

He traces much of this in his research on colonial settlements. Over time, technology and monetization have taken precedence, severing the connection between humans and the land they inhabit. Using this same technology, however, Lechuga intends to bring users back to that initial relationship.

“It’s really about getting people to think about their attitudes, about themselves, about their place in society, their place in nature, and then changing that a bit,” he said. declared.

This C&J team is looking for 100-200 volunteers to help test the software and solve ethical issues.

They intend to collect results throughout the fall semester, with plans to compile their data in the spring.

Additionally, they hope to expand the simulation, making decisions more complex.

You can join the study by sending an e-mail michel lettuce Where Robert Howard.

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