Dr Gang Li, University Glasgow

RSE International Joint Project Awardee 2021

A man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera
Dr Gang Li. Photograph: Ian Georgeson Photograph

From lawn bowls to PC-based poker, humans of all ages are drawn to games for recreation and relaxation. However, when it comes to a burgeoning video game platform—consumer head-mounted display virtual reality (HMD-VR) systems—game players cannot always fully enjoy the experience due to HMD-VR-induced motion sickness or cybersickness. Moreover, when HMD-VR systems are used for immersive therapeutic applications, the problem becomes more keenly felt, due to the unpleasant side effects negating the therapeutic benefits.

Despite HMD-VR technologies becoming widely used commercially since 2016, the problem of cybersickness persists because it touches on many scientific fields, including computing science, biomedical engineering, psychology, and neuroscience.

Neuroscientist Gang Li, University of Glasgow, received an RSE International Joint Project award to collaborate with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to explore a new neurostimulation-based method of mitigating cybersickness by the enhancement of human functions without the need to re-design existing VR contents.

A man standing in front of a fence
Dr Gang Li. Photograph: Ian Georgeson Photography

UCSF ranks No.1 in the US for neuroscience, and I always dreamed of collaborating with them again. Without this award, I would not have had the opportunity to sit down with their exceptional neuroscientists and discuss VR cybersickness in person. To explain my research, I ran a pilot test in front of them and ended up creating a totally new, ground-breaking solution for VR cybersickness mitigation. I feel that the RSE International Joint Project award has given me a long-awaited adrenaline rush!”

Dr Gang Li

The success of this project will build a foundation for the development of “side-effect-free” VR therapies, which could be used by Scotland’s National Care Service to provide better digital medicine or healthcare services at home, without the need for hospital care.

Dr Gang Li has now developed his project to a point where he has now applied for a larger ERC project to enable him to build a team in Scotland. He hopes his team can deeply research the aetiology of VR cybersickness and develop targeted digitalized interventions to cure VR cybersickness in Scotland and beyond.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON RSE International Joint Projects:

Facilitate international collaboration between researchers based in Scotland with researchers overseas.