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Walking in a Cube: Novel Metaphors for Safely Navigating Large Virtual Environments in Restricted Real Workspaces

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6 Author(s)
Cirio, G. ; INRIA Rennes, Rennes, France ; Vangorp, P. ; Chapoulie, E. ; Marchal, M.
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Immersive spaces such as 4-sided displays with stereo viewing and high-quality tracking provide a very engaging and realistic virtual experience. However, walking is inherently limited by the restricted physical space, both due to the screens (limited translation) and the missing back screen (limited rotation). In this paper, we propose three novel locomotion techniques that have three concurrent goals: keep the user safe from reaching the translational and rotational boundaries; increase the amount of real walking and finally, provide a more enjoyable and ecological interaction paradigm compared to traditional controller-based approaches. We notably introduce the "Virtual Companion", which uses a small bird to guide the user through VEs larger than the physical space. We evaluate the three new techniques through a user study with travel-to-target and path following tasks. The study provides insight into the relative strengths of each new technique for the three aforementioned goals. Specifically, if speed and accuracy are paramount, traditional controller interfaces augmented with our novel warning techniques may be more appropriate; if physical walking is more important, two of our paradigms (extended Magic Barrier Tape and Constrained Wand) should be preferred; last, fun and ecological criteria would favor the Virtual Companion.

Published in:

Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

April 2012

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