ANNOUNCEMENTS SOAS Presentation of Shimmila Bhowmick

Ms. Shimmila Bhowmick, PhD student at EI Labs presented her research area, research gap, objectives and methodology in a recently concluded State of the Art Seminar (SOAS) at Department of Design, IIT Guwahati. Her tentative title of research is "Explorations on Body-Gesture based Object Selection on HMD based VR Interfaces for Dense and Occluded Dense Virtual Environments"

Abstract
Recent years have seen incredible growth of Virtual Reality (VR) interfaces due to its capability to simulate the real-world, provide an experience of the unseen, communicate a difficult concept with ease and increase self-efficacy and learnability in the context of training and education. Moreover, VR interfaces presented on Head Mounted Displays (HMDs) present the advantages of improved learning outcomes, confidence, positive behavior and scaling to resource-constrained users and communities. Despite these advantages, VR interfaces, especially HMD based VR interfaces possess challenges of poor usability and usable user interface methods for object selection in a virtual environment (VE). Although numerous studies have investigated controller based object selection for varied VEs, they still demand holding a physical device that is cumbersome, increases fatigue and restricts user’s movement in a physical world. Moreover, the inconsistent technology platforms and related input devices demand users to learn the interaction each time they adopt a different technology platform. To overcome the challenges of controllerbased input interactions, researchers have also explored controller-less input methods, especially object selection using body-gesture. However, the current literature is limited in investigating the effectiveness of body-gestures for object selection in different VEs including dense and occluded dense VE, varied object sizes, proximity, and distances. Moreover, the current work employs a developer drive gesture design approach instead of a user-centric approach, which has seen increased acceptance and adoption in HCI literature. The use of context and user-centric body gestures for object selection of varied object density, object proximity, object size and object distances in HMD based VR interfaces still remains unexplored and needs suitable interventions. Within this view, this research document presents 2 core research questions (RQ) and 3 subquestions for each core RQ with an aim to pursue them during the course of this Ph.D. It also presents an overview of the methodology to investigate the proposed 2 core RQ and 2 subquestions. This state of the art seminar document starts with introducing VR, benefits of VR and its application areas in recent years. This is followed by a definition of object selection, the importance of object selection and factors that influence object selection in a VR interface. Further, a detailed literature review of the controller based and controller-less object selection is presented along with their limitations and research gaps. It includes the review of desktop based and projection based VR interfaces followed by an investigation on HMD based VR interfaces. At last, the document details of out the 2 RQ and 3 sub-questions followed by an overview of the methodology to conduct future studies.

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