Featured Research Projects

Researchers at VRAC and receive funding from a variety of commercial and government agencies. Here are some featured projects to give you an idea of the type of research being conducted at VRAC.


With over 5.25 million traffic incidents being reported in 2020 alone, improving safety in road design is essential. A research team at the VRAC comprised of graduate students Jack Miller, Adam Kohl, Michael Holm, Jacklin Stonewall, Jordan Williams, and Tor Finseth and faculty members Vijay Kalivarapu, Michael Dorneich, Stephen Gilbert, Anuj Sharma, and Eliot Winer developed a multi-user traffic simulation platform capable of generating and rendering life-like roadways and traffic scenarios on various hardware devices. The outcomes of this project enable traffic safety researchers to study complex traffic environments and new situations such as bike friendly cities and adoption of autonomous vehicles.

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Unmanned aerial systems (UASs) face the obstacle of negative public perception. VRAC researchers Robert Philpott, a graduate student in Aerospace Engineering and Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and Professor Eliot Winer have created a model that measures infringement, defined as encroachment or trespassing of civilian privileges and rights, to see how it can be quantified and what values may look like for different operational scenarios.

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Active Shooter Tracking and Evacuation Routing for Survival

Evacuation strategies and techniques during mass shooting events are critical to maximizing survivability. VRAC researchers Soumik Sarkar and Stephen Gilbert, alongside Joanne Marshall (ISU School of Education) and Subhadeep Chakraborty (U Tennessee Knoxville) have used NSF funding to develop an all-in-one active shooter detection, egress routing, and communication solution to track active shooters and safely evacuate buildings. The system is called ASTERS.

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Farmers need reliable data collection of soil nutrient levels to optimize fertilizer use. The Nutriprobe sensor, developed in part by Carmen Gomes and Jonathan Claussen at VRAC, provides accurate readings and increases the profitability and sustainability of agriculture.

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Portable Ergonomic Assessment Tool

Manufacturing facilities perform ergonomic assessments to reduce employee injuries, but that process may shut down a manufacturing line, which can lead to delays in production and higher costs. Professor Stephen Gilbert and student Kathryn Lieffrig at VRAC explored whether virtual reality can be a reliable substitute.

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