Large-Scale Walkable Virtual Reality, Hannes Kaufmann
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This talk focuses on real walking through large virtual environments. Seven years ago we developed a low-cost virtual reality platform that supports multiple users to walk untethered in a large environment. For that purpose we also designed and implemented a low-cost large area
tracking system. Our platform was extended within multiple research projects and used for research in application areas such as first responder training, scientific visualization, architectural design, marketing & sales and entertainment. Based on this platform we were able to design and perform evaluation studies to investigate users' behavior in large virtual worlds. First we studied if users can perceive each other when fully immersed (mutual proximity awareness) and then studied collision prevention techniques, collision avoidance and copresence. We also developed novel techniques to manipulate the spatial layout of virtual worlds to make them seem larger than they are by overlapping virtual rooms while the overlap is unnoticed by users. In a follow-up study we investigated which design choices provide the best results for spatial manipulation. Finally, I will present our current work on large-scale haptics utilizing a mobile robotic platform to provide haptic feedback to multiple users in large-scale VR.