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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Matti Pouke : Senior Research Fellow, Docent

Matti Pouke
Senior Research Fellow, Docent
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Başak Sakçak : Senior Research Fellow, Docent

Başak Sakçak
Senior Research Fellow, Docent
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Elmeri Uotila : University Teacher

Elmeri Uotila
University Teacher
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LinkedIn GitHub

Vadim Weinstein : Senior Research Fellow (part-time)

Vadim Weinstein
Senior Research Fellow (part-time)
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Evan Center : Postdoctoral researcher

Evan Center
Postdoctoral researcher
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Nicoletta Prencipe : Postdoctoral researcher

Nicoletta Prencipe
Postdoctoral researcher
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LinkedIn | Scholar

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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Mikko Korkiakoski : Doctoral researcher

Mikko Korkiakoski
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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Iresh Bandara : Research Assistant

Iresh Bandara
Research Assistant
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LinkedIn | GitHub

Khalil Chakal : Research Assistant

Khalil Chakal
Research Assistant
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Filip Georgiev : Research Assistant

Filip Georgiev
Research Assistant
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LinkedIn | GitHub

Lorenzo Medici : Research Assistant

Lorenzo Medici
Research Assistant
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LinkedIn | GitHub

Alexis Chambers : Planning Officer

Alexis Chambers
Planning Officer
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Alex LaValle : Research Programmer

Alex LaValle
Research Programmer
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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)
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)
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)
TELETAPPIcc (Business Finland)

Selected Publications

Steven M. LaValle. Virtual Reality. Cambridge University Press.
Virtual Reality book by Steven LaValle


Berthier M, Prencipe N & Provenzi E (2024) Split-quaternions for perceptual white balance. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, in press.

LaValle SM, Center EG, Ojala T, Pouke M, Prencipe N, Sakçak B, Suomalainen M, Timperi KG & Weinstein V (2024) From virtual reality to the emerging discipline of perception engineering. Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems 7.


Bilevich MM, LaValle SM & Halperin D (2023) Sensor localization by few distance measurements via the intersection of implicit manifolds. Proc. 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2023), London, UK, 1912-1918.

Kundu S, Bahoo Y, Çağırıcı O & LaValle SM (2023) Arithmetic billiard paths revisited: Escaping from a rectangular room. Proc. 27th International Conference on Methods and Models in Automation and Robotics (MMAR 2023), Międzyzdroje, Poland, 478-483.

LaValle AJ, Sakçak B & LaValle SM (2023) Bang-bang boosting of RRTs. Proc. 2023 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2023), Detroit, MI, USA, 2869-2876.

Mimnaugh KJ, Center EG, Suomalainen M, Becerra I, Lozano E, Murrieta-Cid R, Ojala T, LaValle SM & Federmeier KD (2023) Virtual reality sickness reduces attention during immersive experiences. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 29(11):4394-4404.

Sakçak B, Timperi KG & LaValle SM (2023) A mathematical characterization of minimally sufficient robot brains. The International Journal of Robotics Research.

Sakçak B, Weinstein V & LaValle SM (2023) The limits of learning and planning: Minimal sufficient information transition systems. In: LaValle SM, O’Kane JM, Otte M, Sadigh D & Tokekar P (eds) Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics XV (WAFR 2022). Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics, vol 25. Springer, Cham.

Ylipulli J, Pouke M, Ehrenberg N & Keinonen T (2023) Public libraries as a partner in digital innovation project: Designing a virtual reality experience to support digital literacy. Future Generation Computer Systems 149:594-605.


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.

Çağırıcı O, Bahoo Y & LaValle SM (2022) Bouncing robots in rectilinear polygons. Proc. 26th International Conference on Methods and Models in Automation and Robotics (MMAR 2022), Międzyzdroje, Poland, 193-198.

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.

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, 576-583.

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, 7696-7703.

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.

Pouke M, Ylipulli J, Uotila E, Sitomaniemi A-K, Pouke S & Ojala T (2022) A qualitative case study on deconstructing presence for young adults and older adults. PRESENCE: Virtual and Augmented Reality 31:257-281.

Sakçak B & Bascetta L (2022) Safe motion planning for a mobile robot navigating in environments shared with humans. Proc. 2022 IEEE 18th International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE 2022), Mexico City, Mexico, 2074-2079.

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. 17th 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, 13151-13158.

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.

Shukla R, Routray PK, Tiwari K, LaValle SM & Manivannan M (2021) Monofilament whisker-based mobile robot navigation. Proc. 2021 IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC 2021), Montreal, Canada, 1150.

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. In: Bourdot P, Alcañiz Raya M, Figueroa P, Interrante V, Kuhlen TW & Reiners D (editors) Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality (EuroXR 2021). Lecture Notes in Computer Science 13105:3-24. Springer, Cham.


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