Study Computer Graphics—meet Kieren Carnegie

Oculus Rift—Virtual Reality

Finding a cure is the dream of many embarking on a career in the sciences, but rarely for someone in the field of computer science.

Searching for a cure

Studying a Master’s degree has led Kieran Carnegie to search for a cure for simulator sickness, a phenomena where people feel sick when immersed in environments such as the computer-generated worlds of virtual reality (VR).

Reacting to virtual reality

My research explores how people react to VR immersion and how this can be used to make VR applications more enjoyable, immersive and lifelike.

I’ve focused on the Oculus Rift headset and a novel idea about what causes simulator sickness and how to reduce it.

Transforming the experience

VR totally transforms gaming and film experiences—the illusion of reality is incredibly strong, compared to traditional game or film experiences. However, there is a significant hurdle to overcome—around 80 to 90 percent of people who use it feel sick, with symptoms that are practically identical to seasickness or motion sickness.

Reducing motion sickness

My research involved looking at the rendering methods used to display content from games and films on devices such as the Oculus, and investigating how the sickness people experience could be reduced or eliminated through perceptually optimised rendering.

Dynamic depth

Results have shown the dynamic depth of field—where someone is looking and blur content on the screen to mimic the out-of-focus blur you see in reality. This significantly reduces the sickness or discomfort that people experience on the Oculus.

Exploring the boundaries

I’ve always enjoyed gaming and computers but I wanted to understand how the systems worked. I studied Physics and Computer Science as part of my undergraduate degree and found I really enjoyed Computer Science.

My postgraduate study started in Computer Science and then quickly turned into Computer Graphics as this gave me a discipline that combined my physics knowledge with coding.

Huge variety of courses

The variety of courses available meant he’s never felt that completing assignments or doing work was a drag.

Studying in new areas

I’m also grateful for the “huge opportunity” given to me by the Faculty of Engineering. They’ve supported me to complete a Master’s in the relatively new area of virtual reality.

Flexible study options

I have met a lot of new people and got to do some really awesome research due to the flexibility in postgraduate study.