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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  4. Humans communicate by writing, often taking notes that assist thinking. With the growing popularity of collaborative Virtual Reality (VR) applications, it is imperative that we better understand aspects that affect writing in these virtual experiences. On-air writing in VR is a popular writing paradigm due to its simplicity in implementation without any explicit needs for specialized hardware. A host of factors can affect the efficacy of this writing paradigm and in this work, we delved into investigating the same. Along these lines, we investigated the effects of a combination of factors on users’ on-air writing performance, aiming to understand the circumstances under which users can both effectively and efficiently write in VR. We were interested in studying the effects of the following factors: (1) input modality: brush vs. near-field raycast vs. pointing gesture, (2) inking trigger method: haptic feedback vs. button based trigger, and (3) canvas geometry: plane vs. hemisphere. To evaluate the writing performance, we conducted an empirical evaluation with thirty participants, requiring them to write the words we indicated under different combinations of these factors. Dependent measures including the writing speed, accuracy rates, perceived workloads, and so on, were analyzed. Results revealed that the brush based input modality produced the best results in writing performance, that haptic feedback was not always effective over button based triggering, and that there are trade-offs associated with the different types of canvas geometries used. This work attempts at laying a foundation for future investigations that seek to understand and further improve the on-air writing experience in immersive virtual environments. 
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  5. Walking through immersive virtual environments is one of the important parts of Virtual Reality (VR) applications. Prior research has established that users’ gait in virtual and real environments differs; however, little research has evaluated how users’ gait differs as users gain more experience with VR. We conducted experiments measuring novice and experienced subjects’ gait parameters in VR and real environments. Results showed that subjects’ performance in VR and Real World was more similar in the last trials than in the first trials; their walking dissimilarity in the start trials diminished by walking more trials. We found trial as a significant variable affecting the walking speed, step length, and trunk angle for both groups of users. While the main effect of expertise was not observed, an interaction effect between expertise and the trial number was shown. Trunk angle increased over time for novices but decreased for experts. 
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  6. The goal of this research is to provide much needed empirical data on how the fidelity of popular hand gesture tracked based pointing metaphors versus commodity controller based input affects the efficiency and speed-accuracy tradeoff in users’ spatial selection in personal space interactions in VR. We conduct two experiments in which participants select spherical targets arranged in a circle in personal space, or near-field within their maximum arms reach distance, in VR. Both experiments required participants to select the targets with either a VR controller or with their dominant hand’s index finger, which was tracked with one of two popular contemporary tracking methods. In the first experiment, the targets are arranged in a flat circle in accordance with the ISO 9241-9 Fitts’ law standard, and the simulation selected random combinations of 3 target amplitudes and 3 target widths. Targets were placed centered around the users’ eye level, and the arrangement was placed at either 60%, 75%, or 90% depth plane of the users’ maximum arm’s reach. In experiment 2, the targets varied in depth randomly from one depth plane to another within the same configuration of 13 targets within a trial set, which resembled button selection task in hierarchical menus in differing depth planes in the near-field. The study was conducted using the HTC Vive head-mounted display, and used either a VR controller (HTC Vive), low-fidelity virtual pointing (Leap Motion), or a high-fidelity virtual pointing (tracked VR glove) conditions. Our results revealed that low-fidelity pointing performed worse than both high-fidelity pointing and the VR controller. Overall, target selection performance was found to be worse in depth planes closer to the maximum arms reach, as compared to middle and nearer distances. 
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  7. Distance compression, which refers to the underestimation of ego-centric distance to objects, is a common problem in immersive virtual environments. Besides visually compensating the compressed distance, several studies have shown that auditory information can be an alternative solution for this problem. In particular, reverberation time (RT) has been proven to be an effective method to compensate distance compression. To further explore the feasibility of applying audio information to improve distance perception, we investigate whether users’ egocentric distance perception can be calibrated, and whether the calibrated effect can be carried over and even sustain for a longer duration. We conducted a study to understand the perceptual learning and carryover effects by using RT as stimuli for users to perceive distance in IVEs. The results show that the carryover effect exists after calibration, which indicates people can learn to perceive distances by attuning reverberation time, and the accuracy even remains a constant level after 6 months. Our findings could potentially be utilized to improve the distance perception in VR systems as the calibration of auditory distance perception in VR could sustain for several months. This could eventually avoid the burden of frequent training regimens. 
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