West Virginia University Professor Receives Funding to Improve Hospital Experiences Through Virtual Reality Technology

In *All, Technology by Ag is America

West Virginia University’s Professor Shan Jiang was selected to receive funding for her team’s research in utilizing immersive virtual reality technologies to make patients’ hospital visits less overwhelming. Professor Jiang’s team is studying the functional complexity of large hospitals, which refers to how the confusion of navigating around a large hospital can often lead to spatial disorientation for patients and their families. Their research proposal beat out several other high-quality proposals for this research grant from the Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation.

Jiang, an assistant professor of landscape architecture in the School of Design and Community Development, bases her research on the fact the difficulties of getting around a confusing layout of a hospital can make an already anxiety-producing experience even worse. Professor Jiang’s research hypothesizes that as visual engagement with nature has been proven therapeutic, it could play a role with easing disorientation and facilitating better spatial cognition. Participants in the study will have their eye movements tracked with their navigation strategies which will be analyzed through cognitive mapping.

Jiang will collaborate with Clemson University Professors Davis Allison and Andrew Duchowski, who examine the design of hospital circulation spaces with transparent connections and views in relation to individuals’ spatial orientation and wayfinding performances. The research will also explore patients’ environmental experience of visual engagement with nature in hospital circulation spaces. The findings of this study will be used in design recommendations to help hospitals improve the layout of various spaces in complex hospital designs.

To learn more about the this exciting research from West Virginia University, read more here.

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