Periphery vision menu system: expanding the interaction tools of head mounted displays for virtual reality

Author: Peter Mitchell

Mitchell, Peter, 2022 Periphery vision menu system: expanding the interaction tools of head mounted displays for virtual reality, Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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As technology adapts and becomes ubiquitous in our daily lives, there is a need to examine how our interactions can best control the systems and information presented. Head-mounted displays are an example of interaction technology that has become popular for virtual and augmented reality use in recent years. Their toolkits have a varied approach to interaction depending on the headset and application. Currently, many services for head-mounted displays are game related. As the cost and size of these devices continue to decrease and technological improvements increase, the expectation is that a broader consumer base will start to embrace the technology. Understanding and then developing appropriate interaction techniques for these devices is essential. As part of this research, an investigation was conducted to determine if an approach to interaction could be utilised generically between all headsets, regardless of additional interaction tools. This research presents a Periphery Vision Menus System developed to provide interface interaction exclusively with head gestures. The design of the menus allows for contextual support to many types of applications. By only utilising the orientation sensor’s data, it was possible to provide useful interactions within a virtual reality system. While the system emphasises head interaction as a standalone solution, there is scope to combine with additional input techniques to provide further layers of engagement.

Throughout three experiments, participants provided their evaluations of the interface and its interactions. The tasks in the initial experiment focused on forms of simple volume object manipulation. The later experiments, still looking at object manipulation, implemented a tower defence game designed to provide the participant with an engaging and exciting experience. A serious games research methodology was employed to improve the interest in research participation. Results from the experiments indicated that the functionality of the Periphery Vision Menu System was accessible and required little training. The activation of menus and subsequent selection of items became natural and straightforward for the participants. Feedback from participants was positive toward the system between the experiments. A desire to use the technique in the future was expressed by participants as well.

It is hoped the approach will become a tool used in many future applications for head-mounted displays. The technique used in this research is beneficial when using additional input methods is difficult or where there is a desire to hide menus intuitively. This research contributes to human-computer interaction, virtual reality, augmented reality, head-mounted displays and serious games. The focus for testing was on virtual reality, but the techniques presented in this research are transferable to any form of head-mounted display application.

Keywords: virtual reality, augmented reality, head mounted displays, human-computer interaction

Subject: Science, Technology and Enterprise thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2022
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Brett Wilkinson