ARTICLE BY Alexis Macklin

Alexis Macklin is an Analyst with Greenlight Insights covering emerging technology trends at the intersection of VR AR, and the entertainment industry. Follow her: @Alexis_Macklin.


Researchers at Disney are using VR to study human cognition. Disney Research released footage of experiments the team conducted to research human perception while using a VR headset. Different visualizations of targets demonstrate how actions like catching a ball are impacted by what the user is seeing. VR applications can lead to a stronger understanding of how people react to their immediate surroundings.

Object tracking will be a vital component for experiences that utilize object tracking and room-scale technology - tracking physical objects adds another layer of immersion. Hardware manufacturers have announced a wave of object tracking technology for developers to integrate in their content this year. Content creators will be able to use this system to minimize the barrier between the digital environment and our own reality.

Human cognition plays a vital role in creating efficient user experiences. Since VR involves a higher level of interaction with the interface environment, Disney's research can provide valuable insight to developers looking to make the transition between the real and virtual world as seamless as possible.

Disney Research conducts R&D for different Disney arms including Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, EPSN, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Pixar Animation Studios. Disney has not announced any consumer products using the VR object tracking, though one imagined application could be a VR attraction at one of the Disney parks. Location-based VR entertainment (LBVRE) is a growing sector of the VR industry. Notable theme parks such as Six Flags, Universal Studios and Knott's Berry Farm have experimented with adding VR to rides and attractions.

The object tracking is a growing solution the VR industry is solving, notably with HTC releasing the Vive Tracker. Object tracking will have a large effect on the industry beyond entertainment and gaming, vamping up the vocational training sector of the content market.


Additional contributions for this article were made by Jason Rhee and Robin Sanders,