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INESC TEC researchers strive to improve realism and multisensory experiences in virtual environment training

The scientific work "Studying the Influence of Multisensory Stimuli on a Firefighting Training Virtual Environment" won the 13th edition of the Professor José Luís Encarnação award. It is the sixth time that a group of INESC TEC researchers won this annual award.

17th January 2024

David Narciso, Miguel Melo, Susana Rodrigues, João Paulo Cunha, José Vasconcelos Raposo and Maximino Bessa are the authors of this work dedicated the use of realistic multisensory firefighting training virtual environments.

"The award is the direct result of an output of David Narciso's PhD work; it also relates to the laboratory's line of research on the training of specialised technicians using virtual reality technologies", said Miguel Melo.

The use of virtual environments associated with training is not new - with proven benefits in terms of safety, controlled costs and adaptability to individual needs. However, training in controlled environments can be misleading, as the actions are carried out without the stress or fatigue induced by real environments - especially disaster scenarios, where firefighters are called to intervene. The inclusion of the multisensory component allows the training of procedures and to improve the decision-making abilities. "An important contribution of the study was to prove that, with the use of multisensory stimuli, we were able to induce this cognitive load perceptually equivalent to the real environments - and, consequently, stimulate stress and fatigue that cloud the professionals' decision-making capacity," explained the researcher.

Miguel Melo also pointed out that another line of research explored at the MASSIVE Laboratory focuses on radio-nuclear safety - already showing promising results.

The Professor José́ Luís Encarnacão award aims to encourage higher education students to carry out research activities of excellence in the area of Computer Graphics and its Applications, evaluated through the publication of results in major international conferences and journals.


The researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC, UTAD, and UP-FEUP.