Motion Seats for VR

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Using motion seats for enhancing locomotion and immersion in VR

How can we pro­vide a “moving expe­ri­ence” through VR with­out having to use a full-scale motion platform?

Could a com­pact and rel­a­tively low-cost “motion seat” pro­vide some of the same ben­e­fits, thus reduc­ing cost, com­plex­ity, space & safety requirements?

Despite con­sid­er­able advances in Simulation and Virtual Reality (VR) tech­nol­ogy, it largely remains an open prob­lem how to pro­vide a con­vinc­ing and embod­ied sen­sa­tion of really being present and immersed in large vir­tual spaces, and nav­i­gat­ing through them effec­tively with­out exces­sive dis­ori­en­ta­tion and motion/simulator sick­ness. This is par­tic­u­larly true when the goal is to develop cost– and space-efficient solu­tions and phys­i­cal space is lim­ited, such that vir­tual nav­i­ga­tion cannot be enabled by phys­i­cally walk­ing or moving-base motion simulators.
In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Christie, a large audio-visual and VR system com­pany, we jointly per­form research into inno­v­a­tive “motion seats” that allow for small-scale user motion and vibra­tions. The goal is to devise more com­pact and cost-effective ways to enhance the user expe­ri­ence (e.g., per­ceived real­ism, immer­sion, self-motion per­cep­tion) as well as task-specific per­for­mance in simulators.
Initial qual­i­ta­tive research is used to iden­tify key design deci­sions and out­line require­ments. This helps to guide the design and iter­a­tive refine­ment of both the motion seat and suit­able exper­i­ments to inves­ti­gate its effec­tive­ness. Together, this will lead to a work­ing pro­to­type of a motion seat and demon­stra­tor, sci­en­tific analy­sis and reports, and guide­lines for pos­si­ble future research and devel­op­ment. This project will enable and inspire more afford­able yet effec­tive simulators.
Reducing the reliance on large, heavy, and costly moving-base sim­u­la­tors can fur­ther enhance user accep­tance, safety, and acces­si­bil­ity to wider audi­ences while reduc­ing cost, space, and tech­ni­cal sup­port needs.
This could pro­vide ben­e­fits for both use single-user sys­tems (e.g., arcades, home-based pre­mium games, flight sim­u­la­tors or telepresence/remote oper­a­tion sys­tems) and multi-user sys­tems (e.g., large format dig­i­tal the­atres, next-generation movies, and theme parks).

Media Gallery

Project videos

This video gives a first glimps of a gam­i­fied exper­i­ment that we designed, where users can use either a Leap motion con­troller or a 2-handed joy­stick inter­face to con­trol a heli­copter (qua­tro­copter) fly­through in Virtual Reality. This demo illus­trates flying through a Mediterranean market place (which was the train­ing phase in one of our stud­ies), pro­jected on a Christie 2-projector VR simulator.

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Related Publications

Hashemian, A. M., & Riecke, B. E. (2017, April). Rotate and Lean: Does Leaning toward the Target Direction Improves the Virtual Reality Navigation? Poster pre­sented at the Second International Workshop on Models and Representations in Spatial Cognition, Tübingen, Germany. (Download)
Kitson, A., Grechkin, T. Y., Heyde, M. von der, & Riecke, B. E. (2017, April). Navigating Virtual Environments – Do Physical Rotations Aid in Orientation? Poster pre­sented at the Second International Workshop on Models and Representations in Spatial Cognition, Tübingen, Germany. (Download)
Nguyen-Vo, T., Riecke, B. E., & Stuerzlinger, W. (2017, April). Investigating the Effect of Simulated Reference Frames on Spatial Orientation in Virtual Reality. Poster pre­sented at the Second International Workshop on Models and Representations in Spatial Cognition, Tübingen, Germany. (Download)
Freiberg, J., Kitson, A., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Development and Evaluation of a Hands-Free Motion Cueing Interface for Ground-Based Navigation (pp. 273–274). Presented at the IEEE Virtual Reality (accepted 2-page extended abstract). https://doi.org/10.1109/VR.2017.7892282 (Download)
Kitson, A., Hashemian, A. M., Stepanova, E. R., Kruijff, E., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Comparing Leaning-Based Motion Cueing Interfaces for Virtual Reality Locomotion (pp. 73–82). Presented at the IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces 3DUI, Los Angeles, CA, USA. https://doi.org/10.1109/3DUI.2017.7893320 (Download)
Kitson, A., Hashemian, A. M., Stepanova, E. R., Kruijff, E., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Lean Into It: Exploring Leaning-Based Motion Cueing Interfaces for Virtual Reality Movement (pp. 215–216). Presented at the IEEE Virtual Reality, Los Angeles, CA, USA. https://doi.org/10.1109/VR.2017.7892253 (Download)
Kruijff, E., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Navigation Interfaces for Virtual Reality and Gaming: Theory and Practice. In Course (pp. 433–434). Los Angeles, CA, USA. https://doi.org/10.1109/VR.2017.7892362 (Download)
Nguyen-Vo, T., Riecke, B. E., & Stuerzlinger, W. (2017). Moving in a Box: Improving Spatial Orientation in Virtual Reality using Simulated Reference Frames (pp. 207–208). Presented at the IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces 3DUI. https://doi.org/10.1109/3DUI.2017.7893344 (Download)
Freiberg, J. (2015). Experience Before Construction: Immersive Virtual Reality Design Tools for Architectural Practice (MSc Thesis). Simon Fraser University, Surrey, BC, Canada. Retrieved from http://summit.sfu.ca/item/16052 (Download)
Kitson, A., Riecke, B. E., Hashemian, A. M., & Neustaedter, C. (2015). NaviChair: Evaluating an Embodied Interface Using a Pointing Task to Navigate Virtual Reality. In Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction (pp. 123–126). Los Angeles, CA, USA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2788940.2788956 (Download)
Kruijff, E., Riecke, B. E., Trepkowski, C., & Kitson. (2015). Upper Body Leaning can affect Forward Self-Motion Perception in Virtual Environments (pp. 103–112). Presented at the SUI ’15: Symposium on Spatial User Interaction, Los Angeles, CA, USA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2788940.2788943 (Download)
Grechkin, T. Y., & Riecke, B. E. (2014). Re-evaluating Benefits of Body-based Rotational Cues for Maintaining Orientation in Virtual Environments: Men Benefit from Real Rotations, Women Don’t. In ACM Symposium on Applied Perception SAP (pp. 99–102). Vancouver, Canada: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2628257.2628275 (Download)