Safe Walking In VR using Augmented Virtuality

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PubDate: Nov 2019

Teams: Universidade de Lisboa

Writers: Maurício Sousa, Daniel Mendes, Joaquim Jorge

PDF: Safe Walking In VR using Augmented Virtuality


New technologies allow ordinary people to access Virtual Reality at affordable prices in their homes. One of the most important tasks when interacting with immersive Virtual Reality is to navigate the virtual environments (VEs). Arguably, the best methods to accomplish this use of direct control interfaces. Among those, natural walking (NW) makes for enjoyable user experience. However, common techniques to support direct control interfaces in VEs feature constraints that make it difficult to use those methods in cramped home environments. Indeed, NW requires unobstructed and open space. To approach this problem, we propose a new virtual locomotion technique, Combined Walking in Place (CWIP). CWIP allows people to take advantage of the available physical space and empowers them to use NW to navigate in the virtual world. For longer distances, we adopt Walking in Place (WIP) to enable them to move in the virtual world beyond the confines of a cramped real room. However, roaming in immersive alternate reality, while moving in the confines of a cluttered environment can lead people to stumble and fall. To approach these problems, we developed Augmented Virtual Reality (AVR), to inform users about real-world hazards, such as chairs, drawers, walls via proxies and signs placed in the virtual world. We propose thus CWIP-AVR as a way to safely explore VR in the cramped confines of your own home. To our knowledge, this is the first approach to combined different locomotion modalities in a safe manner. We evaluated it in a user study with 20 participants to validate their ability to navigate a virtual world while walking in a confined and cluttered real space. Our results show that CWIP-AVR allows people to navigate VR safely, switching between locomotion modes flexibly while maintaining a good immersion.