First, apologies for the ugly and confusing title. I couldn't come up with a worthy literal English translation for the Dutch "geestverruimende middelen" that had the same pun to it for the topic below, in these times of being pretty much locked up at home. So I used the next best thing.
This post isn't about drugs. It could have been, as I live and work in Amsterdam and apparently getting weed online is a thing now that the coffee shops are closed. Instead, this blog is about virtual reality (VR) and more specifically the IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR) that was held last week. It was one of the many conferences that was forced to move online due to the corona crisis. One of the side-effects of the current corona situation was that the full online conference could now be attended for free, while it normally costs hundreds of dollars to attend and get access to the proceedings. It was to be hosted in the US this year so attending it online from home was also much more convenient.
The topic of this conference might seem a bit lightweight and hobby-like, but the research presented is very much grounded in science, with many papers using rigid evidence-based methodologies (hypotheses, experiments with subjects, statistical analysis ... the works). And as this was a conference on virtual (and augmented) reality the organizers took the opportunity to host it partly within a virtual world. This turned out be an interesting experiment.