A Simple Video-Based Technique for Measuring Latency in Virtual Reality or Teleoperation

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PubDate: March 2020

Teams: Harvard Medical School;NASA Ames Research Center

Writers: Ilja T. Feldstein; Stephen R. Ellis

PDF: A Simple Video-Based Technique for Measuring Latency in Virtual Reality or Teleoperation

Abstract

Designers of virtual reality (VR) systems are aware of the need to minimize delays between the user’s tracked physical actions and the consequent displayed actions in the virtual environment. Such delays, also referred to as end-to-end latency, are known to degrade user performance and even cause simulator sickness. Though a wide variety of hardware and software design strategies have been used to reduce delays, techniques for measuring and minimizing latency continue to be needed since transmission and switching delays are likely to continue to introduce new sources of latency, especially in wireless mobile environments. This article describes a convenient, low-cost technique for measuring end-to-end latencies using a human evaluator and an ordinary consumer camera (e.g., cell phone camera). Since the technique does not depend upon the use of specialized hardware and software, it differs from other methods in that it can easily be used to measure latencies of systems in the specific hardware and software configuration and the relevant performance environments. The achievable precision was assessed in an experimental trial. Results indicate a measurement uncertainty below 10 ms. Some refinements to the technique are discussed, which may further reduce the measurement uncertainty to approximately 1 ms.

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