Questions for ‘Cool Jobs: Doing real science in virtual worlds’


Simple technologies have made virtual reality something almost anyone can experience. Some scientists are even finding that VR can be a useful tool in the lab.


To accompany feature “Cool Jobs: Doing real science in virtual worlds


Before Reading

1.  Have you ever used virtual reality? What was it like?

2.  Can you think of any reasons why a scientist might want to do research in virtual worlds, instead of the real world?

During Reading

1.    How does a virtual reality headset work?

2.    What kind of virtual environment does David Peeters use in his research?

3.    What aspect of speech is Peeters studying?

4.    How could Peeters’ research someday help people with autism?

5.    How can a doctor use virtual reality to treat someone’s fears?

6.    Why did Wim Veling choose dolphins as the subject of his VR video?

7.    What are three ways that Veling measures whether his patients are relaxed?

8.    Why are biologists in California experimenting with moving baby salmon onto rice fields?

9.    What is augmented reality?

10.  Why does Jeanette Newmiller bring her augmented reality sandbox into classrooms?

After Reading

1.  What advantages do the researchers in this story get by using virtual or augmented reality?

2.  If you could use David Peeters’ virtual restaurant and electrode caps to do your own research, what would you try to learn about how people interact? Be specific.