Investigating the Effects of Individual Spatial Abilities on Virtual Reality Object Manipulation

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PubDate: April 2023

Teams:Ulm University

Writers:Tobias Drey,Michael Montag,Andrea Vogt,Nico Rixen,Tina Seufert,Steffi Zander,Michael Rietzler,Enrico Rukzio

PDF:Investigating the Effects of Individual Spatial Abilities on Virtual Reality Object Manipulation

Abstract

Object manipulation in 3D space, meaning translating, rotating, and scaling, is ubiquitous in virtual reality (VR), and several interaction techniques have been developed in the past to optimize the task performance and usability. However, preliminary research indicates that individual spatial abilities also have an impact. Yet, it was never investigated if users’ spatial abilities influence VR object manipulation. We assessed this in a user study (N=66) using 21 manipulation tasks defined in a Fitts’ law-related approach. As interaction techniques, we chose gizmos for simultaneously manipulating 1 and 3 degrees of freedom (DOF) and a handle bar metaphor for 7 DOF. Higher spatial abilities resulted in significantly shorter task completion time and more targeted manipulations, while task accuracy was unaffected. However, an optimized interaction technique could compensate individual disadvantages. We propose seven guidelines on spatial abilities in interaction technique design and research to personalize and improve VR applications.

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