Exploiting Perceptual Limitations and Illusions to Support Walking through Virtual Environments in Confined Physical Spaces

Gerd Bruder, Frank Steinicke, Benjamin Bolte, Phil Wieland, Harald Frenz, Markus Lappe
Elsevier Displays, Volume 34, Number 2, page 132--141 - 2012
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Head-mounted displays (HMDs) allow users to immerse in a virtual environment (VE) in which the user's viewpoint can be changed according to the tracked movements in real space. Because the size of the virtual world often differs from the size of the tracked lab space, a straightforward implementation of omni-directional and unlimited walking is not generally possible. In this article we review and discuss a set of techniques that use known perceptual limitations and illusions to support seemingly natural walking through a large virtual environment in a confined lab space. The concept behind these techniques is called redirected walking. With redirected walking, users are guided unnoticeably on a physical path that differs from the path the user perceives in the virtual world by manipulating the transformations from real to virtual movements. For example, virtually rotating the view in the HMD to one side with every step causes the user to unknowingly compensate by walking a circular arc in the opposite direction, while having the illusion of walking on a straight trajectory. We describe a number of perceptual illusions that exploit perceptual limitations of motion detectors to manipulate the user's perception of the speed and direction of his motion. We describe how gains of locomotor speed, rotation, and curvature can gradually alter the physical trajectory without the users observing any discrepancy, and discuss studies that investigated perceptual thresholds for these manipulations. We discuss the potential of self-motion illusions to shift or widen the applicable ranges for gain manipulations and to compensate for over- or underestimations of speed or travel distance in VEs. Finally, we identify a number of key issues for future research on this topic.

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BibTex references

  author       = "Bruder, Gerd and Steinicke, Frank and Bolte, Benjamin and Wieland, Phil and Frenz, Harald and Lappe, Markus",
  title        = "Exploiting Perceptual Limitations and Illusions to Support Walking through Virtual Environments in Confined Physical Spaces",
  journal      = "Elsevier Displays",
  number       = "2",
  volume       = "34",
  pages        = "132--141",
  year         = "2012",
  keywords     = "vr-speed-illusions detection-thresholds",
  url          = "http://basilic.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/Publications/2012/BSBWFL12"

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» Gerd Bruder
» Frank Steinicke
» Benjamin Bolte
» Phil Wieland
» Harald Frenz
» Markus Lappe