Document Type thesis Author Name Wang, Jia Email Address wangjia at wpi.edu URN etd-053111-002643 Title Isometric versus Elastic Surfboard Interfaces for 3D Travel in Virtual Reality Degree MS Department Computer Science Advisors Robert W. Lindeman, Advisor Charles Rich, Reader Craig E. Wills, Department Head Keywords 3D user interface position control rate control travel surfboard elastic isometric virtual reality Date of Presentation/Defense 2011-05-03 Availability unrestricted
Three dimensional travel in immersive virtual environments (IVE) has been a difficult problem since the beginning of virtual reality (VR), basically due to the difficulty of designing an intuitive, efficient, and precise three degrees of freedom (DOF) interface which can map the user's finite local movements in the real world to a potentially infinite virtual space. Inspired by the Silver Surfer Sci-Fi movie and the popularity of the Nintendo Wii Balance Board interface, a surfboard interface appears to be a good solution to this problem. Based on this idea, I designed and developed a VR Silver Surfer system which allows a user to surf in the sky of an infinite virtual environment, using either an isometric balance board or an elastic tilt board. Although the balance board is the industrial standard of board interface, the tilt board seems to provide the user more intuitive, realistic and enjoyable experiences, without any sacrifice of efficiency or precision.
To validate this hypothesis we designed and conducted a user study that compared the two board interfaces in three independent experiments that break the travel procedure into separate DOFs. The results showed that in all experiments, the tilt board was not only as efficient and precise as the balance board, but also more intuitive, realistic and fun. In addition, despite the popularity of the balance board in the game industry, most subjects in the study preferred the tilt board in general, and in fact complained that the balance board could have been the cause of possible motion sickness.
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