School of Engineering

Biomechanics and Immersive Technology Laboratory

Biomechanics and Immersive Technology Laboratory, led by Dr Mateusz Bocian, is dedicated to fundamental and applied research on human behaviour utilising novel sensing technologies in real-life and immersive environments. It clusters a wide multidisciplinary research community within the College of Science and Engineering and beyond, representing numerous scientific disciplines, most notably engineering, psychology, computer science and mathematics.

With the roof raised to in excess of 4.5 metres above the floor level and 60 square metre floor area, Biomechanics  Immersive Technology Laboratory can accommodate a range of custom-built experimental platforms of unusual dimensions. It hosts a suite of state-of-the-art equipment for motion, force and gaze tracking, and virtual, augmented and mixed reality projections.  

The activities currently undertaken in the Lab revolve around the following themes:

  • Wearable technologies for the quantification of human motion
  • Stability and control of human gait and posture
  • Human behaviour in VR environments
  • Human-structure interaction
  • Human-human interaction
  • Human-vehicle interaction
  • Crowd dynamics

Our activities

Mazaruni Penal Settlement

October 2019

In early 2019 we were approached by Prof Clare Anderson and Dr Kellie Moss, both from the School of History, Politics and International Relations, interested in creating a visualisation of Mazaruni Penal Settlement in Guyana. Mazaruni Penal Settlement, established in 1842, served to incarcerate male offenders. Located near the intersection of Cuyuni and Mazaruni Rivers, it consisted of multiple buildings scattered inland from the waterfront, hosting convicts’ cell blocks, guards’ quarters, offices, kitchen, chapel, and a hospital. The offenders were forced into manual labour, working in agriculture, logging and quarrying.

A stand-alone application enabling a first-person perspective reconnaissance of the 3D virtual environment of the settlement was built by Joseph Beyera, supervised by Dr Mateusz Bocian. Joseph worked in close collaboration with Kellie, ensuring compliance of the visualisation with historical sources and providing a narrative guiding the user through the virtual settlement environment.

Locomotion in Virtual Reality

July 2019

We are passionate about VR and locomotion. Passionate enough to convert our full-scale sports hall into a warehouse-scale VR studio! We teamed up with Target3D, the UK distributor of OptiTrack and motion capture enthusiasts, to make it happen. This enabled walkers to move unconstrained in VR while having their gait monitored by a state-of-the-art motion capture system. The ongoing research, conducted by Mr Artur Soczawa-Stonczyk as a part of PhD project supervised by Dr Mateusz Bocian, seeks to determine the adaptability in human gait and, in a broader sense, to validate the VR environment as a proxy of real life conditions in the context of locomotion. It could provide evidence for the applicability of immersive and interactive VR in research on crowd dynamics, ranging from pedestrian movement in a crowd, city planning and evacuation studies, to human loading on structures such as bridges, concert arenas and grandstands, specifically in the context of vibration serviceability. Are you interested in knowing more about our work?

An image from the tests produced by Artur has been shortlisted for Images of Research Competition 2019/2020 organised by the University of Leicester Doctoral College. Throughout 2020, all 26 shortlisted images from across the University will be on display in various venues around the county.

Road-crossing Decision-making in Virtual Reality

January 2019 - now

We love to collaborate with our talented colleagues. This time we teamed up with the Visuo-Motor Lab set within the Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, and led by Dr David Souto. The main aim of this research, conducted by Jennifer Sudkamp within a scope of PhD project supervised by David and Dr Mateusz Bocian, is to understand the eye movement and walking behaviour during road crossing in the presence of moving vehicles. Our investigatory approach combines classical visual psychophysics utilising stationary displays, and real-word and immersive VR environments enabling walking behaviour. Some of the preliminary results were presented at the European Conference on Eye Movements in Alicante, Spain, in August 2019.

Virtual Vauxhall Gardens

January - July 2019

The aim of the project, led by Prof Andrew Hugill, was to create a multi-sensory experience of the Rotunda of London's most famous 18th century pleasure gardens - the Vauxhall Gardens. A multi-disciplinary ensemble from across the University of Leicester teamed up with the consultants on Vauxhall Gardens and MBD Ltd. - a local company specialising in arts and heritage installations. Our lab delivered a 3D architectural model of the Rotunda - the main building hosting a concert chamber, collaborating with historians and project consultants to ensure authenticity and structural integrity.

The team behind the Virtual Vauxhall Gardens project won the Research Team of the Year Award at Discovering Excellence Staff Awards 2019.

Contact us

Dr Mateusz Bocian

Director of the Biomechanics & Immersive Technology Laboratory
School of Engineering
University of Leicester

+44 (0)116 252 2539

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