The Integrated Multi-Sensory Research (IMSR) Lab focuses on technologies that can aid research on the five human senses: sight, sound, touch, scent and taste. While different senses can be targeted and researched separately, the IMSR Lab is able to research all of these senses in an integrated scenario-based experimental setting.
Recent research has focused on the influence of virtual environments on people and how they respond in these domains.By creating various virtual scenarios and manipulating conditions through the five senses, researchers can manipulate the virtual environments that subjects are exposed to and measure their subsequent responses and behavior as a result of the exposure to these virtual environments. The focus here is on the physiological and behavioral outcomes and how they relate to the fields of social science and psychology.
With regard to sight (visual research), eye tracking equipment will be made available to track a subject’s eye movements when perusing websites, advertisements or video clips. Affect-measuring software and tools will be employed to measure subject’s behavior and emotional responses.
The IMSR Lab features sound-treated rooms, an anechoic chamber, and a reverbant room. With sophisticated audio manipulation equipment, researchers are able to conduct cutting edge research into the effects of sound (auditory research) on human psychology and behavior.
The IMSR Lab also focuses on providing support for touch (haptic or tactile) research. Haptic research in recent years has been conducted using simulated virtual environments and haptic devices. This allows researchers to explore the influence of various simulations on the response of the human being through the sense of touch.
Olfactory (smell) research, an important domain in the fields of communication, business and humanities, will be supported in the IMSR Lab through a 6-seater laboratory olfactometer, and a ventilated experimental room with ambience and sound controls for mood manipulation. With the help of these devices, more advanced and robust olfactory research can be conducted.
The IMSR Lab will feature equipment that can measure human physiological and behavioral responses to taste (gustatory research), and sophisticated tools in this area will allow researchers to explore, for example, how food items are perceived and the intention to consume them.