KCON professor uses virtual reality for study

An associate professor from Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing is studying how people with Alzheimer’s disease find their way to a destination. Rebecca Davis and her team are using a virtual reality simulation of a retirement home, a computer program designed by the University of Michigan Virtual 3D Lab. Subjects in the study put on glasses and move a joystick to guide their way through a long hallway to a destination. The glasses track where the eyes look so that Davis can collect data on whether colorful cues on the wall are helpful during navigation. Research is being done with the help of a $316,000 grant Davis earned from the National Institutes of Health. Davis’s research team includes both graduate and undergraduate nursing students.