The effects of natural locomotion on maneuvering task performance in virtual and real environments
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This thesis investigates human performance differences on maneuvering tasks in virtual and real spaces when a natural locomotion technique is used as opposed to an abstraction through a device such as a treadmill. The motivation for the development of locomotion devices thus far has been driven by the assumption that a Î²perfectÎ³ device will result in human performance levels comparable to the real world. This thesis challenges this assumption under the hypothesis that other factors beyond the locomotion device contribute to performance degradation. An experiment was conducted to study the effects of these other factors. The experiment studied sidestepping, kneeling, looking around a corner, and backward movement tasks related to a building clearing exercise. The participants physically walked through the environment under all conditions. There were three treatments: real world (no display, physical objects present), virtual world (headmounted display, no physical objects), and real and virtual world combined (head-mounted display, physical objects present). The results suggest that performance and behavior are not the same across conditions with the real world condition being uniformly better than the virtual conditions. This evidence supports the claim that even with identical locomotion techniques, performance and behaviors change from the real to the virtual world.
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