VR simulator makes the user feel the movement even if they are sitting

Despite the fact that virtual reality (VR) technology is more affordable than ever,

developers have yet to achieve a fully immersive digital experience. One of the biggest challenges is making the user feel like they are walking.

Researchers from the University of TechnologyToyohashi and the University of Tokyo in Japan have created a platform that is designed to reproduce the sensation of walking in virtual reality. Details about the development are published by the magazine Frontiers in Virtual Reality.

“Walking is fundamental and funoccupation for a person in everyday life. Therefore, it is very important to provide a quality walk in the virtual reality space, ”explains Yusuke Matsuda. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Toyohashi University of Technology and an article author.

“We believe that the public is also more likely toin all, he will be interested in this study, which combines walking and virtual reality experience, the demand for which is growing rapidly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ”he adds.

The aim of the study was to find out if an avatar can convey the sensation of walking in a virtual environment through optical streams and rhythmic streams of foot vibration.

When a member moves their digital avatar,the platform is synchronized with these movements so that the user "feels as if the avatar, consisting only of arms and legs, is his own body," the researchers write. Scientists tested the new platform on 40 participants.

Sitting on a stool, each subject was connectedto 4 vibration transducers made of aluminum springs and wooden plates attached to the legs. As the avatar moved, the pads on the feet vibrated to mimic the character's movement.

To eliminate the sound of the vibration system,the participants wore white noise headphones. They then walked down a virtual hallway that consisted of a textured floor and side walls made of wood, with mirrors evenly spaced on either side of their avatar's path.

The researchers said that the inability to seeyour avatar had a significant impact on a person's perception of walking when he sits motionless. However, the inclusion of specular reflections helped to achieve the desired effect.

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