Identifying strategies to mitigate cybersickness in virtual reality induced by flying with an interactive travel interface.

Type of content
Theses / Dissertations
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Thesis discipline
Human Interface Technology
Degree name
Master of Human Interface Technology
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Page, Daniel W.

Virtual Reality (VR) is a versatile and evolving technology for simulating different experiences. As this technology has improved in hardware, accessibility of development, and availability of applications its interest has surged. However, despite these improvements, the problem of Cybersickness (CS) remains, causing a variety of uncomfortable symptoms in users. Hence the need for guidelines that developers can use to create experiences that mitigate these effects. With an incomplete understanding of CS and techniques yet to be tried, this thesis seeks to identify new strategies that mitigate CS. In the literature, the predominant theories attribute CS or closely related sicknesses to the body rejecting inconsistencies between senses and the body failing to adapt to conflicts or new dynamics in an experience. There are also a variety of user, hardware, and software factors that have been reported to affect it. To measure the extent of CS, the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ) is the most commonly used tool. Some physiological responses have also been associated with CS that can be measured in real-time.

Three hypotheses for mitigation strategies were devised and tested in an experiment. This involved a physical travel interface for flying through a Virtual Environment (VE) populated with models as a control condition. On top of this, three manipulation conditions referred to as Gaze-Tracking Vignette (GV), Personal Embodiment (PE), and Fans and Vibration (FV) could be individually applied. The experiment was designed to be between-subjects, with participants randomly allocated to four groups. Overall, 37 participants did the experiment with Heart Rate (HR), eye-tracking data, and flight data recorded. Post-exposure, they also filled out a survey that included the SSQ.

To analyse the data, statistical tests and regression models were used. These found significant evidence that a vignette that changes intensity with speed and scope position with eye-gaze direction made CS worse. The same result was found from adding personal embodiment with hand tracking. Evidence was also found from the SSQ that directional fans with floor vibration did not cause a difference. However, an overall lowering of HR for this condition indicated that it might help, but could be due to other factors. Additionally, comments from participants identified that many experienced symptoms consistent with CS, with dizziness as the most common, and some issues with the usability of the travel interface.

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ANZSRC fields of research
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