Helping householders to better understand burglary risks using VR

Several years ago our Tech Labs collaborated with researchers (lead by Claire Nee) at the University of Portsmouth in building one of the first ever Burglary simulations in Virutal Reality. This year we decided to reuse that virtual environment and update it to the current state-of-the-art for a new project. Again in collaboration with the Univeristy of Portsmouth (Matthew Talbot and Claire Nee), we set out to completely overhaul the old software. Using the latest technoloogy provided by the Unitu Pro engine and a complete reprogramming of the virutal environment, we were able to create an updated version with minimal effort!
The research uses Virtual Reality as a training tool to help householders better understand burglary risk. Participants will be asked to put themselves in the shoes of an offender, and commit a mock burglary in a virtual neighbourhood. Participants will also be coached to understand typical burglar behaviour and will be supplied with empirically generated crime prevention advice (based on previous research with actual offenders). Through these techniques, we aim to provide an immersive, engaging and effective method of educating householders in the field of burglary prevention’
To aid in better understanding how people behave during these trials, we’re also using eye tracking to actually see where participants were looking when carrying out their mock burglary. VR headsets with built-in eye tracking (we use the HTC Vive Pro Eye) are realatively new and can not only enhance the VR experience, but deliver valuable data about how people go about their business in VR.