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Proceedings Article

The perception of linear self-motion

[+] Author Affiliations
Frank H. Durgin, Evan Schaffer, Rabi Whitaker

Swarthmore College (USA)

Laura F. Fox

Swarthmore College (USA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)

Proc. SPIE 5666, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging X, 503 (March 18, 2005); doi:10.1117/12.610864
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From Conference Volume 5666

  • Human Vision and Electronic Imaging X
  • Bernice E. Rogowitz; Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas; Scott J. Daly
  • San Jose, CA | January 17, 2005


VR lends itself to the study of intersensory calibration in self-motion perception. However, proper calibration of visual and locomotor self-motion in VR is made complicated by the compression of perceived distance and by unfamiliar modes of locomotion. Although adaptation is fairly rapid with exposure to novel sensorimotor correlations, here it is shown that good initial calibration is found when both (1) the virtual environment is richly structured in near space and (2) locomotion is on solid ground. Previously it had been observed that correct visual speeds seem too slow when walking on a treadmill. Several principles may be involved, including inhibitory sensory prediction, distance compression, and missing peripheral flow in the reduced FOV. However, though a richly-structured near-space environment provides higher rates of peripheral flow, its presence does not improve calibration when walking on a treadmill. Conversely, walking on solid ground still shows relatively poor calibration in an empty (though well-textured) virtual hallway. Because walking on solid ground incorporates well-calibrated mechanisms that can assess speed of self-motion independent of vision, these observations suggest that near space may have been better calibrated in the HMD. Near-space obstacle avoidance systems may also be involved. Order effects in the data from the treadmill experiment indicate that recalibration of self-motion perception occurred during the experiment.

© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

Frank H. Durgin ; Laura F. Fox ; Evan Schaffer and Rabi Whitaker
"The perception of linear self-motion", Proc. SPIE 5666, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging X, 503 (March 18, 2005); doi:10.1117/12.610864; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.610864

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