Improving Virtual Reality safety precautions with depth sensing.
Thesis DisciplineHuman Interface Technology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Human Interface Technology
Virtual Reality (VR) technology provides a computer-generated three-dimensional environment, in which the user can interact with virtual objects in real time and walk naturally with the locomotion techniques. However, because of the fully immersive design of VR headsets, free walking with VR headsets may result in people colliding with surrounding obstacles and cause serious physical injury. Securing users' safety is a prerequisite for any VR experience no matter in which kinds of circumstances. To improve VR interaction safety, virtual safety walls textured with a grid, such as HTC Chaperone and Oculus Guardian, have been widely adopted by many VR companies to remind users of safe interaction boundaries. However, they cannot provide detailed geometrical information of the environment, and limit users to stay within a small interactive space.
In this thesis, we developed two Augmented Virtuality (AV) interfaces that integrate depth sensing of surroundings into the VR scene for safety precautions, 1) a 3D Virtual Monochrome Grid (3DVMG), and 2) a 3D Virtual Coloured Grid (3DVCG). For 3DVCG, colours vary according to the distance objects are away from the user. We then conducted a user study to evaluate the usability of our proposed interfaces, and to investigate whether VR interaction safety can be improved with depth sensing and colour cues while the user navigates in VR. 2D Outlines of Surroundings (2DOoS) was used as a control.
There are two main findings from the experiment. First, with either of 3D interfaces, participants can navigate the virtual environment more confidently. Second, the colour visualization provides more hints to users for determining distances between real objects and their own positions and provide better assistance in avoiding obstructions than only superimposing the depth clues.