Yesterday, 16 September 2021, LIFE, the new Laboratory of Innovation in Philosophy and Educational Sciences at the University of Turin, was inaugurated. It will use the most advanced technologies to support the study of attentional phenomena and human behaviour in interaction with virtual reality. The ceremony was attended by the Rector Stefano Geuna, the Vice-Rector for Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities Gianluca Cuniberti and Director of the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences Gianluca Cuozzo.
The spaces that will be used are those of the Library of the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, a total area of 1,200 square meters completely renovated thanks to an investment of 1.2 million euros to which must be added the 600,000 euros that the Department of Excellence has allocated to purchase all the technological equipment of the new research laboratory.
LIFE will make it possible to carry out interdisciplinary research and to involve companies in the activities of the laboratory, which will help them in the transition towards Industry 4.0 models, especially as regards staff training and the development and implementation of company procedures that are more suited to regulating and promoting a balanced man-machine-environment relationship.
The examination, simulation and study of attentional processes are important with regard to the innovations in the field of many new business processes, especially those concerning machine learning and the biases that algorithms can assume on the basis of human behaviour from which they learn. It is important for companies to know and anticipate the possible implications on the well-being and behaviour of the staff who have to interact with these kinds of machines. The Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, thanks to LIFE, will be able to expand the network of educational institutions and businesses with which it collaborates, making a tangible philosophical and pedagogical contribution to the development of society, from the world of education to the world of work..
The technologies available to the new laboratory will be:
- a Virtual Room that will offer experiences of virtual environments and worlds, allowing researchers to observe and study the reactions of the users who use them;
- an Motion Capture system to record and analyse the movements of subjects and apply them to virtual 2D and 3D digital animation models;
- an Eye Tracking system to record the emotional reaction of the subjects during the experiences through the tracking of eye movements;
- systems of Augmented Reality e Virtual Reality;
- aMultimedia Area equipped with a collaborative touch table and screen to facilitate exchange and interaction between researchers during study and design;
- two touch tables where LIFE users can freely consult and observe the results of their research.
As regards the more classic aspect of LIFE's offer, the assortment of over 200,000 volumes available for consultation will include both the publications coming from the Library of Philosophy and Educational Sciences and those from the Luisa Guzzo Foundation . In addition, there will be a shelf area, accessible through the automated system of self-lending and self-replenishment, with about 18,000 volumes and 97 subscription magazines. It will be possible to consult encyclopaedias, dictionaries, works by thinkers and scholars in the field of philosophy and pedagogical sciences, the publications of active lecturers and the most important works by the great masters of the Department such as Abbagnano, Chiosso, Fornaca, Gallino, Guzzo, Pareyson and Vattimo. Visitors will have at their disposal 40 consultation stations, 8 thin client computer stations, a station for searching the online catalogue and a space with chaise longue chairs for reading.
The LIFE Library, thanks to its open shelving system and the advanced type of workstations available, will thus further enhance the experience of its users by providing access to large spaces for discussion, study, research and interdisciplinary exchanges. One of the aims of LIFE is also to increase the attractiveness to foreign students, lecturers and researchers by responding to new needs in terms of internationalisation, cooperation between research groups and advanced teaching.