We partnered with Virtual and Augmented reality (VR/AR) specialists Gorilla in the Room, who supported us with the 360 VR video capture. With Virtual Reality rapidly growing traction in the field of research, this programme of work elicited valuable insights about the role of VR in accessing reality and in its ability to truly transport people into the mindset of the real-life experience.
We used biometrics (heart rate monitors) to measure emotional engagement throughout the performance (in theatre, virtual reality and live to cinema), a post-performance interview was also completed immediately after the performance. Text and voice analytics were used to understand spontaneous reactions and emotional sentiment.
Analysis from the heart rate data, under the three different conditions (theatre, virtual reality and live to cinema), showed that number of times the heart rate peaked above average was comparable across all three test cells. On average, heart rate was raised to levels equivalent to that of a 5-minute cardio workout across the total duration of the performance.
All 33 participants who viewed the 3-hour performance within the VR headsets did so willingly and with no side effects. This has positive implications for both research purposes, and the potential for VR to be a medium for future consumption of entertainment.
The study has demonstrated that the realism that VR can bring has potential not only for the entertainment industry as a potential media channel (although it is still early days and there is much development work to be done), but also for the research industry to immerse people in what feels like real-life situations, for the means of better observing, understanding and predicting behaviour and intuitive reactions.
To view the video which shows our fieldwork team and participants in action, please click on the play button below.
To listen to our podcast with interviews from The Royal Shakespeare Company, Gorilla in the Room and Ipsos MORI, please click on the play button below.