Gradual Transitions and their Effects on Presence and Distance Estimation

Frank Steinicke, Gerd Bruder, Klaus H. Hinrichs, Anthony Steed
Computers & Graphics, Volume 34, Number 1, page 26--33 - 2010
Several experiments have provided evidence that ego-centric distances are perceived as compressed in immersive virtual environments relative to the real world. The principal factors responsible for this phenomenon have remained largely unknown. However, recent experiments suggest that when the virtual environment (VE) is an exact replica of a user's real physical surroundings, the person's distance perception improves. Based on this observation, it sounds reasonable that if subjects feel a high degree of situational awareness in a known VE, their ability for estimating distances may be much better compared to an unfamiliar virtual world. This raises the question, whether starting the virtual reality (VR) experience in such a virtual replica and gradually transiting to a different VE has potential to increase a person's sense of presence as well as distance perception skills in an unknown virtual world. In this case the virtual replica serves as transitional environment between reality and a virtual world. Although transitional environments are already applied in some VR demonstrations, until now it has not been verified whether such a gradual transition improves a user's VR experience. We have conducted two experiments to quantify to what extent a gradual transition to a virtual world via a transitional environment improves a person's level of presence and ability to estimate distances in the VE. We have found that the subjects' self-reported sense of presence shows significantly higher scores, and that the subjects' distance estimation skills in the VE improved significantly, when they entered the VE via a transitional environment.

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BibTex references

@Article\{SBHS10,
  author       = "Steinicke, Frank and Bruder, Gerd and Hinrichs, Klaus H. and Steed, Anthony",
  title        = "Gradual Transitions and their Effects on Presence and Distance Estimation",
  journal      = "Computers \& Graphics",
  number       = "1",
  volume       = "34",
  pages        = "26--33",
  year         = "2010",
  keywords     = "virtual-portals",
  url          = "http://basilic.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/Publications/2010/SBHS10"
}

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» Frank Steinicke
» Gerd Bruder
» Klaus H. Hinrichs
» Anthony Steed