Redirected walking is a technique (developed by Sharif Razzaque) that enables users to walk in a virtual environment that exceeds the size of the real tracked environment by imperceptibly rotating the virtual world around the users head. Users can be made to believe that they are walking along a straight line, when they are in fact walking along a curve, and large rotations can be injected when a users head is turning. However, freely exploring a virtual environment with redirected walking is still difficult and impractical because there are many cases in which the user cannot be guided quickly enough to avoid leaving the lab space. Several reorientation techniques have emerged to address this issue, and this summer we will implement a few of these techniques as well as develop new techniques of our own.
Specific new approaches include:
- Using the sensation of the feet to increase the amount that users can be redirected, via rumbling floors, actuated mechanical devices attached to the feet, sand, etc.
- Using revolving doors at key locations in the lab to enable exploration of an infinitely large virtual space.
Luv Kohli, a PhD candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, works with the Effective Virtual Environments (EVE) team headed by Professor Fred Brooks, Jr. His research is primarily in the area of haptics in virtual environments. He is investigating ways to improve haptic interaction in virtual environments by introducing distortions that affect peoples perception of their environment. This summer Luv will explore various new redirected walking techniques in an effort to make redirected walking more effective and usable than it has been thus far.