Spatial Reasoning, Learning, and Locomotion in Virtual Environments
How people reason, learn, and move in virtual environments
Our work develops design
principles for immersion that allow environments where people can
actively explore and guide their own learning.
important applications of virtual environments assume that what people
learn from exploring virtual simulations of physical environments is
functionally similar to what they learn from exploring the physical
environments themselves. Understanding these similarities or
differences is important: when constructing learning environments, we
want either to correct differences or exploit them. We have demonstrated
such functional similarities in
subjects' access to spatial knowledge between real and virtual
environments, as well as
dissimilarities in the perception of
distance between real and virtual environments.
Related work posits that while current
immersive virtual environments are expensive,
that head-mounted display technology may become widely affordable in the
near future. A significant problem for the widespread adoption of
virtual environments that enable people to actively explore them will then
be the problem of space. Having large areas suitable for active
exploration of a large virtual environment will not be practical and
commodity-level virtual environment equipment will need to be placed
in small rooms. The important issue my work has addressed is how
subjects can explore large environments on foot when physical space
is constrained. The
qualification ``on foot'' is critical as we have shown that using a
joystick is inferior to foot exploration, and
devices such as treadmills are expensive. Our solution works
by manipulating the translational and rotational gain of movement so
that the virtual environment affords cognitively-friendly
- J. Meng, J. Rieser, B. Bodenheimer, ``Distance Estimation in Virtual Environments Using Bisection,''
Symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization Poster,
Boston, MA, July 2006.
- B. Williams, G. Narasimham, B. Rump, T. McNamara, T. Carr, J. Rieser, B. Bodenheimer, ``Exploring
Large Virtual Environments with an HMD on Foot,'' Symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization Poster,
Boston, MA, July 2006.
- Williams, B., G. Narasimham, T. McNamara, T. Carr, J. Rieser, and B. Bodenheimer,
``Updating Orientation in Large Virtual Environments Using Scaled Translational Gain'',
Symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization, pp. 21-28, Boston, MA, July 2006.
Accompanying video (MPEG4, 10.8MB).
- Williams, B., G. Narasimham, C. Westerman, J. Rieser, and B. Bodenheimer,
``Functional Similarities in Spatial Representations Between Real and Virtual Environments'',
ACM Transactions on Applied Perception, 2006, to appear.
Students and Collaborators