Mel Slater

Universitat de Barcelona

Engineering Sciences

Mel Slater joined ICREA in January 2006 and is at the University of Barcelona. He became Professor of Virtual Environments at University College London in 1997. He was a UK EPSRC Senior Research Fellow from 1999 to 2004, and was founder of the Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics group at UCL. Thirty seven of his PhD students have obtained their PhDs since 1989. In 2005 he was awarded the Virtual Reality Career Award by IEEE Virtual Reality `In Recognition of Seminal Achievements in Engineering Virtual Reality.' He is Co-Director of the Event Lab ( at UB. He held a European Research Council Advanced Grant TRAVERSE (, and has been awarded two ERC Proofs of Concept. He started a new European Research Council Advanced Grant 1st January 2018.

Research interests

Mel Slater's main goal is to radically extend the boundaries of virtual reality. His research aims to provide a framework for the scientific understanding of how people act and respond in immersive virtual reality. He works on applications that involve simulations of social situations that are difficult or impossible to realise in physical reality, even to the extent of transforming the very body of the participant. This research also contributes to the neuroscience of body representation. His research is concerned with presence, that is, understanding the conditions under which people tend to respond realistically to virtual situations and events. The Event Lab at UB carries out research on both the technical side of real-time computer graphics and virtual reality systems, as well as on the scientific side. The application areas of interest include various forms of rehabilitation, including psychological therapy. 

Selected publications

- Banakou D & Slater M 2017, 'Embodiment in a virtual body that speaks produces agency over the speaking but does not necessarily influence subsequent real speaking', Scientific Reports 7, 14227.

- Rovira A & Slater M 2017, 'Reinforcement Learning as a tool to make people move to a specific location in Immersive Virtual Reality',  Int J of Human-Computer Studies98, 89–94  

- Bourdin P, Barberia I, Oliva R & Slater M 2017, 'A Virtual Out-of-Body Experience Reduces Fear of Death'. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169343. 

- Skarbez R, Neyret S, Brooks Jr. FP, Slater M & Whitton MC 2017, 'A psychophysical experiment regarding the components of plausibility illusion', IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 23(4), 1369-1378.

- Bergstrom I, Azevedo AS, Panos P, Saldanha N & Slater M 2017,  'The Plausibility of a String Quartet Performance in Virtual Realit', IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 23(4), 1352-1359.

- Freeman D, Reeve S, Robinson A, Ehlers A, Clark D, Spanlang B & Slater M 2017, 'Virtual reality in the assessment, understanding, and treatment of mental health disorders', Psychological Medicine, 47, 14, 2393 - 2400.

- Hasler BS, Spanlang B & Slater M 2017, 'Virtual race transformation reverses racial ingroup bias', Plos One, 12, 4, e0174965.

- Tajadura-Jiménez A, Banakou D, Bianchi-Berthouze N & Mel Slater M 2017, 'Embodiment in a Child-Like Talking Virtual Body Influences Object Size Perception, Self-Identification, and Subsequent Real Speaking', Scientific Reports, 7, 9637.  

Selected research activities

Mel Slater is Field Editor of Frontiers in Robotics and AI, and Editor of the Virtual Environments Section.

He was an invited or keynote speaker at 12 international conferences in 2017, including the Microsoft Faculty Summit in Redmond, USA.

His research on VR in psychological therapy has been reported several times in the media including The Guardian the BBC, New Scientist and PNAS.