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Feel the Breeze: Promoting Relaxation in Virtual Reality using Mid-Air Haptics

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PubDate: Aug 2023

Teams: University of Bayreuth

Writers: Naga Sai Surya Vamsy Malladi, Viktorija Paneva, Jörg Müller

PDF: Feel the Breeze: Promoting Relaxation in Virtual Reality using Mid-Air Haptics

Abstract

Mid-air haptic interfaces employ focused ultrasound waves to generate touchless haptic sensations on the skin. Prior studies have demonstrated the potential positive impact of mid-air haptic feedback on virtual experiences, enhancing aspects such as enjoyment, immersion, and sense of agency. As a highly immersive environment, Virtual Reality (VR) is being explored as a tool for stress management and relaxation in current research. However, the impact of incorporating mid-air haptic stimuli into relaxing experiences in VR has not been studied thus far. In this paper, for the first time, we design a mid-air haptic stimulation that is congruent with a relaxing scene in VR, and conduct a user study investigating the effectiveness of this experience. Our user study encompasses three different conditions: a control group with no relaxation intervention, a VR-only relaxation experience, and a VR+Haptics relaxation experience that includes the mid-air haptic feedback. While we did not find any significant differences between the conditions, a trend suggesting that the VR+Haptics condition might be associated with greater pleasure emerged, requiring further validation with a larger sample size. These initial findings set the foundation for future investigations into leveraging multimodal interventions in VR, utilising mid-air haptics to potentially enhance relaxation experiences.

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