How to Improve Your Virtual Experience : Exploring the Obstacles of Mainstream VR

What is Virtual Reality (VR)? A professional tool, made to facilitate our everyday tasks? A conceptual mistake, accompanied by cybersickness and unsolved locomotion issues since the very beginning? Or just another source of entertainment that helps us escape from our deteriorating world?</br> The public and scientific opinions in this respect are diverse. Furthermore, as researchers, we sometimes ask ourselves whether our work in this area is really "worth it", given the ambiguous prognosis regarding the future of VR.</br> To tackle this question, we explore three different areas of VR research in this dissertation, namely locomotion, interaction, and perception. We begin our journey by structuring the VR locomotion landscape and by introducing a novel locomotion concept for large distance traveling via virtual body resizing.</br> In the second part, we focus on our interaction possibilities in VR. We learn how to represent virtual objects via self-transforming controllers and how to store our items in VR inventories. We design comprehensive 3D gestures for the audience and provide an I/O abstraction layer to facilitate the realization and usage of such diverse interaction modalities.</br> The third part is dedicated to the exploration of perceptual phenomena in VR. In contrast to locomotion and interaction, where we mainly deal with the shortcomings of VR, our contributions in the field of perception emphasize the strong points of immersive setups. We utilize VR to transfer the illusion of virtual body ownership to nonhumanoid avatars and exploit this phenomenon for novel gaming experiences with animals in the leading role.</br> As one of our most significant contributions, we demonstrate how to repurpose the dichoptic presentation capability of immersive setups for preattentive zero-overhead highlighting in visualizations. We round off the dissertation by coming back to VR research in general, providing a critical assessment of our contributions and sharing our lessons learned along the way.


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