Perception Engineering (PE)

The Perception Engineering research group focuses on fundamental issues in virtual reality and robotics. We consider virtual reality broadly as a category that leverages the latest technologies and products in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and telepresence. We consider core robotics problems such as sensing, sensor fusion, planning, learning, and control.

We view VR as a problem of perception engineering, which requires the design, development, and delivery of a perceptual illusion through artificial stimulation of the human senses. Each human sense is capable of such illusions; in the case of vision, we are familiar with many optical illusions. Because VR directly impacts the human body and even disrupts its ordinary functions, it is crucial to understand human physiology, neuroscience, and perception and how they respond to VR technology. We strive to determine perception-based and physiology-based criteria that capture important qualities such as task effectiveness, comfort, and presence. These criteria are used to guide the engineering specifications for VR systems. Typical challenges are viewpoint movement, display artifacts, rendering methods, interaction mechanisms, distributed computation, and limitations of wireless communication.

Perception engineering involves the forward engineering of VR systems with the tight integration of low-level human considerations, which are essentially obtained via reverse engineering (we did not engineer ourselves). Based on current academic fields, this requires a highly interdisciplinary approach; however, one day perception engineers might emerge, who are specifically trained in methodologies based on the science of perception. This would follow a similar path as existing engineering fields. Civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering derive from physics. Chemical and biological engineering derive from chemistry and biology, respectively. Likewise, perception engineering should derive from perceptual psychology and related fields of physiology, medicine, and neuroscience, while also building upon existing engineering principles.


Participate in our research studies


Paula Alavesa : University Lecturer

Paula Alavesa
University Lecturer
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Anna LaValle : University Lecturer

Anna LaValle
University Lecturer
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Vadim Weinstein : Senior Research Fellow (part-time)

Vadim Weinstein
Senior Research Fellow (part-time)
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Elmeri Uotila : University Teacher

Elmeri Uotila
University Teacher
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LinkedIn GitHub

Evan Center : Postdoctoral researcher

Evan Center
Postdoctoral researcher
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Matti Pouke : Postdoctoral researcher

Matti Pouke
Postdoctoral researcher
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Nicoletta Prencipe : Postdoctoral researcher

Nicoletta Prencipe
Postdoctoral researcher
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LinkedIn | Scholar

Başak Sakçak : Postdoctoral researcher

Başak Sakçak
Postdoctoral researcher
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Kalle Timperi : Postdoctoral researcher

Kalle Timperi
Postdoctoral researcher
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LinkedIn | Scholar

Aref Amiri : Doctoral researcher

Aref Amiri
Doctoral researcher
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Juho Kalliokoski : Doctoral researcher

Juho Kalliokoski
Doctoral researcher
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Eetu Laukka : Doctoral researcher

Eetu Laukka
Doctoral researcher
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Katherine Mimnaugh : Doctoral researcher

Katherine Mimnaugh
Doctoral researcher
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Filip Georgiev : Research Assistant

Filip Georgiev
Research Assistant
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LinkedIn | GitHub

Filip Kulisiewicz : Junior Research Assistant

Filip Kulisiewicz
Junior Research Assistant
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Alessandro Nardi : Research Assistant

Alessandro Nardi
Research Assistant
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Alexis Chambers : Planning Officer

Alexis Chambers
Planning Officer
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Alex LaValle : Research Programmer

Alex LaValle
Research Programmer
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Jani Vallirinne : Project Coordinator (part-time)

Jani Vallirinne
Project Coordinator (part-time)
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Current Projects

CHiMP – Challenges Hidden in Motion Primitives (Academy of Finland)
ILLUSIVE – Foundations of Perception Engineering (European Research Council & University of Oulu)
OpenARcc – Next generation Open Source AR glasses (Business Finland)
PERCEPT – Human-Perception Based Planning and Filtering (Academy of Finland)
PIXIE – Plausibility Paradoxes in Scaled-Down Virtual Reality (Academy of Finland)
ViRTIA – Virtual Reality-Based Telepresence through Improved Autonomy (University of Oulu / Infotech)

Past Projects

COMBAT (Academy of Finland / Strategic Research Council)
HUMOR – HUMan Optimized xR (Business Finland and industry)
HUMORcc (Business Finland)
TELETAPPIcc (Business Finland)

Selected Publications

LaValle S. Virtual Reality. Cambridge University Press, in press.
Virtual Reality book by Steven LaValle

Arora N, Suomalainen M, Pouke M, Center EG, Mimnaugh KJ, Chambers AP, Pouke S & LaValle SM (2022) Augmenting immersive telepresence experience with a virtual body. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 28(5):2135-2145.

Baraldo A, Bascetta L, Caprotti F, Chourasiya S, Ferretti G, Ponti A & Sakçak B (2022) Automatic computation of bending sequences for wire bending machines. International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing.

Center EG, Gephart AM, Yang P-L & Beck DM (2022) Typical viewpoints of objects are better detected than atypical ones. Journal of Vision 22(12):1,1–14. doi:

Center EG, Mimnaugh KJ, Häkkinen J & LaValle SM (2022) Human perception engineering. In: Alcañiz M, Sacco M & Tromp JG (eds.) Roadmapping Extended Reality: Fundamentals and Applications, Wiley, 157-181.

Halkola J, Suomalainen M, Sakçak B, Mimnaugh KJ, Kalliokoski J, Chambers AP, Ojala T & LaValle SM (2022) Leaning-based control of an immersive-telepresence robot. Proc. 21st IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2022), Singapore.

Kalliokoski J, Sakçak B, Suomalainen M, Mimnaugh KJ, Chambers AP, Ojala T & LaValle SM (2022) HI-DWA: Human-influenced dynamic window approach for shared control of a telepresence robot. Proc. 2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2022), Kyoto, Japan.

Pakanen M, Alavesa P, van Berkel N, Koskela T & Ojala T (2022) “Nice to see you virtually”: Thoughtful design and evaluation of virtual avatar of the other user in AR and VR based telexistence systems. Entertainment Computing 40:100457.

Pouke M, Center EG, Chambers AP, Pouke S, Ojala T & LaValle SM (2022) The body scaling effect and its impact on physics plausibility. Frontiers in Virtual Reality 3:869603.

Sakçak B, Weinstein V & LaValle SM (2022) The limits of learning and planning: Minimal sufficient information transition systems. 15th International Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics (WAFR 2022), College Park, MD, USA.

Suomalainen M, Sakcak B, Widagdo A, Kalliokoski J, Mimnaugh KJ, Chambers AP, Ojala T & LaValle SM (2022) Unwinding rotations improves user comfort with immersive telepresence robots. Proc. ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2022), Sapporo, Japan, 511-520.

Tiwari K, Sakçak B, Routray P, Manivannan M & LaValle SM (2022) Visibility-inspired models of touch sensors for navigation. Proc. 2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2022), Kyoto, Japan.

Weinstein V, Sakçak B & LaValle SM (2022) An enactivist-inspired mathematical model of cognition. Frontiers in Neurorobotics 16.

Mimnaugh KJ, Suomalainen M, Becerra I, Lozano E, Murrieta-Cid R & LaValle SM (2021) Analysis of user preferences for robot motions in immersive telepresence. Proc. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2021), Prague, Czech Republic, 4252-4259.

Nilles AQ, Ren Y, Becerra I & LaValle SM (2021) A visibility-based approach to computing nondeterministic bouncing strategies. The International Journal of Robotics Research 40(10-11):1196-1211.

Pouke M, Mimnaugh KJ, Chambers A, Ojala T & Lavalle SM (2021) The plausibility paradox for resized users in virtual environments. Frontiers in Virtual Reality 2:655744.

Sakçak B & LaValle SM (2021) Complete path planning that simultaneously optimizes length and clearance. Proc. 2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2021), Xi’an, China, 10100-10106.

Suomalainen M, Abu-dakka FJ & Kyrki V (2021) Imitation learning-based framework for learning 6-D linear compliant motions. Autonomous Robots 45:389–405.

Suomalainen M, Mimnaugh KJ, Becerra I, Lozano E, Murrieta-Cid R & LaValle SM (2021) Comfort and sickness while virtually aboard an autonomous telepresence robot. Proc. 18th EuroXR International Conference (EuroXR 2021), Milan, Italy, 3-24.

Alavesa P, Pakanen M, Ojala T, Pouke M, Kukka H, Samodelkin A, Voroshilov A & Abdellatif M (2020) Embedding virtual environments into the physical world: Memorability and co-presence in the context of pervasive location-based games. Multimedia Tools and Applications 79, 3285–3309.

Becerra I, Suomalainen M, Lozano E, Mimnaugh KJ, Murrieta-Cid R & LaValle SM (2020) Human perception-optimized planning for comfortable VR-based telepresence. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters 5(4):6489-6496.

Browning MHEM, Mimnaugh KJ, van Riper CJ, Laurent HK & LaValle SM (2020) Can simulated nature support health? Comparing short, single-doses of 360-degree nature videos in virtual reality with the outdoors. Frontiers in Psychology 10:2667.

Nilles AQ, Pervan A, Berrueta TA, Murphey TD & LaValle SM (2020) Requirements of collision-based micromanipulation. Proc. Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics XIV (WAFR 2020), 210-226.

Pakanen M, Alavesa P, Arhippainen L & Ojala T (2020) Stepping out of the classroom – Anticipated user experiences of web-based mirror world like virtual campus. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments 10(1):1-23.

Pouke M, Mimnaugh K, Ojala T & LaValle SM (2020) The plausibility paradox for scaled-down users in virtual environments. Proc. 2020 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR 2020), Atlanta, GA, USA, 913-921.

Suomalainen M, Nilles AQ & LaValle SM (2020) Virtual reality for robots. Proc. 2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2020), Las Vegas, NV, USA, 11458-11465.

Ylipulli J, Pouke M, Luusua A & Ojala T (2020) From hybrid spaces to “imagination cities”: A speculative approach to virtual reality. In: Willis KS & Aurigi A (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities, Routledge, London.


Virtual Reality – Steven LaValle

Virtual Reality - Steven LaValle

Nyt tuli kiire metaversumiin (Tekniikan Maailma 5/2022) (in Finnish)

Tekniikan Maailma: Nyt tuli kiire metaversumiin

Tiedon valossa: Virtuaalitodellisuuden uudet maailmat (in Finnish)

Tiedon valossa - Virtuaalitodelliseen uudet maailmat



Academy of Finland

Business Finland

University of Oulu