Ms. Priya Vinod, 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 "A Study of Body Gestures Based Input Interaction for Locomotion in HMD-VR Interfaces in a Sitting Position"

Recent developments in the technology have finally brought virtual reality (VR) out of the laboratory and into the hands of developers and consumers. However, a number of challenges remain to be solved. Virtual travel is one of the most common and universal tasks performed inside virtual environments (VEs), yet enabling users to navigate in VEs is not a trivial challenge. A virtual space may be virtually infinite in size. Thus, the user should be able to move freely to the extent that the virtual topography and architecture allows it. However, in the real world, the user’s movement is confined to a limited physical space. One of the most important challenges is providing users with natural travel experience in VR worlds that are larger than the tracked physical space and providing users with the appropriate multisensory stimuli in response to their interactions with the virtual world. To explore large VEs, users must switch to an artificial locomotion technique (ALT) that is activated using a controller. Although numerous studies have investigated artificial locomotion technique, they still demand to hold a physical device that is cumbersome, increasing fatigue and induces spatial disorientation.

Locomotion based on proxy gestures requires the user to perform gestures that serve as a proxy for actual steps. It is possible to distinguish between different subcategories depending on what part of the body is used to perform the proxy gesture. Although locomotion using proxy gestures provide a natural mode for travel, it still has drawbacks of fatigue when used to explore a larger environment. Hence, in order to mitigate the fatigue due to prolonged standing, we explore the natural gestural inputs for travel in sitting based posture. The current literature is limited in investigating the effectiveness of body-gestures in a sitting based position for travel while simultaneously performing multiple tasks such as selection and manipulation in the VEs.

Moreover, although many techniques have been developed for moving in VE, each technique works well in different scenarios and is tested and evaluated in different test environments and on different tasks. To the best of our knowledge, no studies have investigated the effect of environment size, path complexity, and presence or absence of landmarks on the sitting based locomotion technique in HMD based VR environment.

This state of art seminar report presents an overview of the different categories in locomotion techniques. Further, a detailed literature review of the standing based and sitting based travel techniques using proxy gestures is presented along with their limitations and research gaps. It includes the review of both the HMD based and mobile VR interfaces. Further, the document unfolds two core research questions (RQ) with an aim to pursue them during the course of this Ph.D. The document details out an overview of the methodology that would be followed for the further studies.

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