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The Torus Treadmill: realizing locomotion in VEs

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1 Author(s)
Iwata, H. ; Tsukuba Univ., Ibaraki, Japan

Locomotion in virtual environments (VEs) remains one of the major problems in current virtual reality research. The most intuitive way to move about the real world is to travel on foot. People often feel a better sense of distance or direction while walking than while riding in a vehicle. This article discusses the development of a locomotion device that provides a sense of walking. In terms of natural interaction, the physical exertion of walking proves essential to locomotion. The research of my colleagues and I aims to give users a sense of walking while their position remains localized in the physical world. We've developed several prototypes of interface devices for walking. From the results of our research, we concluded that an infinite surface would offer an ideal means for giving people a sense of walking. Our device, called the Torus Treadmill, uses a torus-shaped surface to realize the locomotion interface. The surface employs 12 sets of treadmills connected side-by-side and driven in a perpendicular direction. These treadmills generate an infinite surface. We measured the motion of the users' feet with magnetic sensors. The floor moves in the opposite direction of the walker, canceling the motion of each step. The walker's position remains localized in the real world by this computer-controlled motion of the floor. The walker can freely change direction. An image of the virtual space appears in a head-mounted display corresponding to the walker's virtual position

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

Nov/Dec 1999

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