Virtual reality locomotion experts have developed a new resource that analyzes all of the different locomotion possibilities currently available.
Traveling in a virtual reality world can be very different from walking or using a vehicle in the real world and new approaches and techniques are continually being developed to meet the challenges of different applications.
Called Locomotion Vault, the project was developed by researchers from the universities of Birmingham, Copenhagen and Microsoft Research. It aims to provide a central and freely available resource to analyze the many locomotion techniques currently available.
The goal is to make it easier for developers to make informed decisions about the appropriate technique for their application and for researchers to study the best methods. By cataloging the techniques available in the Locomotion Vault, the project will also give creators and designers a head start on identifying gaps where future investigation might be needed. The database is an interactive resource, so it can be expanded with contributions from researchers and practitioners.
University of Birmingham researcher Massimiliano Di Luca said: “Locomotion is an essential part of virtual reality environments, but there are many challenges. A fundamental question, for example, is whether there should be a one-size-fits-all approach to the ‘best’, or instead, whether the tactics and methods used should be selected based on the application being designed or the particularities of the material available. Locomotion Vault will help developers make these decisions. “
The database also aims to address vital issues of accessibility and inclusiveness. These two attributes were evaluated against each technique included in the vault.
Co-researcher, Mar Gonzalez-Franco, Microsoft Research, said: “As new and existing technologies advance and become a more regular part of our lives, new challenges and opportunities in accessibility and inclusion will present themselves. Virtual reality is a prime example. We need to think about how virtual reality can be designed to accommodate the variety of capabilities represented by those who want to use it. “
The research team is presenting Locomotion Vault this week at the Human Factors in Computer Systems (CHI 2021) online conference.
“This is an area of constant and rapid innovation,” says co-author Hasti Seifi of the University of Copenhagen. “Locomotion Vault is designed to help researchers meet the challenges they currently face, but also to help support future discoveries in this exciting field.”
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