Man wearing VR headset used in healthcare


Explore our cross reality applications research, one of our areas of expertise in Digital and Creative Technologies

Extended or Cross Reality (XR) systems are immersive technologies that bring physical objects into digital environments and take digital objects into physical reality. XR includes hardware and software used to create virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR) and cinematic reality (CR). Our research helps overcome barriers to the use of this emerging technology so it can integrate seamlessly into everyone's daily life.

Our research looks at how XR systems influence human experience and how the design of XR systems and software affects perception and behaviour. For example, we look at whether spending extended periods of time using VR might affect the way a user perceives the real-world or whether their peripheral vision is affected. We have, for example, discovered that a 15 minute session with a VR headset where the image is predominantly green can result in the user experiencing the real-world with a pink hue for a while after removing the headset.

We're also exploring whether audiovisual information in VR overrides our physical senses. Tests reveal that when using VR participants can perform physically uncomfortable tasks for longer before feeling pain. This indicates that VR could be used for pain management, including to distract patients when undergoing painful treatment. Our work will also explore the potential of VR as an alternative treatment for conditions such as phobias, which could alleviate pressure on health care resources.

Our research also looks at using XR for training purposes to see whether XR is more effective and efficient at delivering information to workforces than traditional approaches such as using a presenter.

We use controlled experiments, case studies, observational analysis and think-aloud protocols to study how people interact with XR technology in order to develop better software. We investigate the effectiveness of equipment and explore the impact of technological set up on users' experiences. For instance, by analysing whether a VR headset connected to a PC is more effective than a mobile system.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Mixed Reality (MR)
  • Extended or Cross Reality (XR)
  • Physical and psychological rehabilitation
  • Cultural heritage
  • Mixed-reality theatre
  • Auditory perception in VR
  • VR simulations for healthcare
  • Perception in VR
  • Behaviour in XR
  • Training and Education in XR
  • Sound in VR, AR, MR and XR


Our research makes use of the following facilities within the School of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) and other departments across the University.

  • Large-screen stereoscopic VR display system
  • Consumer VR and AR headsets
  • Haptic feedback devices
  • Motion capture cameras
  • Treadmill interfaced to VR system
  • Physiological sensors including EEG and EMG
  • Music and sound studios

Discover our areas of expertise

Cross reality applications is one of 7 areas of expertise within the Digital and Creative Technologies research area. Explore the others below.

Animation and CGI

We're creating ground-breaking, award-winning CGI films, and investigating how film production can be used in education.

Student in motion capture suit in the studio
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Computer Games Design And Technology

We're examining the theory, psychology and development of video games and contributing to the design, development and release of games.

Male gamer holding playstation controller
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Digital Heritage

We're investigating the impact and application of digital technology in the cultural and heritage sectors to improve visitor experiences and conserve cultural and historical sites.

Female employee talking about history, holding a tablet
Discover our research

Digital User Experience

We're exploring the changing relationship between users and technology to develop new and better experiences for users.

Female academic using a tablet with pencil
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Visual Computing

We're analysing body and facial motion and cognitive signals to develop machine understanding of visual environments, through 3D reconstruction and modelling.

Male research participant driving car in VR headset
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Music: Composition, Practices and Technology

We're investigating music and sound and creating new tools to enhance performance and creativity.

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Interested in a PhD in Digital & Creative Technologies?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Digital & Creative Technologies postgraduate research degrees page.