Nicola La Magna


Year: 2023

Supervisor: Luciano Gamberini

Co-supervisor: Alice Bettelli

Graduate student: Nicola La Magna

One of the most noteworthy features of Virtual Reality (VR) is its capability to immerse users in a realistic simulated environment, allowing them to not only interact with the virtual world but also explore it physically.
Recent advancements in VR technology require the design of effective and easy to use locomotion interfaces. However, the latest VR technologies do not convey a convincing feeling of self-motion in the absence of actual motion (i.e., vection). This shortcoming is primarily attributable to the discrepancy between the level of immersion that can be induced by a particular VR system and users’ experience of feeling as if they were actually present, i.e., sense of presence in the virtual environment. Furthermore, the actual mismatch between the visual stimulation and the signal coming from the proprioceptive receptors can lead to an unpleasant phenomenon called “cybersickness”. A promising trend in VR is represented by embodied interfaces, devices that include motion of the body and proprioceptive stimulation while interacting within a Virtual Environment (VE). When compared to handheld interfaces (e.g.,gamepad), these devices can enhance immersion, perceived naturalness and user experiences while at the same time reducing cybersickness.
In the study, participants interacted with a novel embodied interface called VitruvianVR.

The machine is composed of three separate rings to which users are tied in the middle of the central ring. The interface allows users to bodily rotate onto three different axis. The aim of the study was to introduce and to assess a series of human behavioral and perceptual factors when using VitruvianVR, comparing it with traditional hand-held devices to conduct VR flight experiences. We focused on the differences in the experiences regarding cybersickness, sense of presence, performance measures (i.e., accuracy, fails), head-movements and position of the body. Furthermore, a series of data about user experience, acceptance, mental task load index and usability were retrieved. Investigating aspects of the experience conducted with this emerging technology that allows rotation on every axis to interact in a VE is fundamental to attempt to solve the problems of cybersickness while at the same time providing a more naturalistic and immersive (i.e., sense of presence) simulation to conduct flight experiences.

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