One of the main goals of immersive virtual reality is to allow people to walk in virtual environments in an ecological way. Several techniques have been developed in the literature: the use of devices such as omnidirectional treadmills, robotic tiles, stepping systems, sliding-based surfaces and human-sized hamster balls; or techniques such as the walking-in-place. Conversely, real walk requires the precise tracking of the user, performed on a large area, in order to allow him/her to explore the virtual environment without limitations. This can be achieved by using optical tracking systems, or low cost off-the shelf devices, such as the HTC-Vive tracking system. Here, we consider the latter solution and we aim to compare real walking in a virtual environment with respect to walking in a corresponding real world situation, with the long term goal of using it in rehabilitation and clinical setups. Moreover, we analyze the effect of having a virtual representation of the user’s body inside the virtual environment. Several spatio-temporal gait parameters are analyzed, such as the total distance walked, the patterns of velocity in each considered path, the velocity peaks, the step count and step length. Differently from what can be typically found in the literature, in our preliminary results we did not find significant differences between real walk in virtual environments and in a real world situation. Also having the virtual representation of the body inside virtual reality does not affect the gait parameters. The implication of these results for future research, in particular with respect to the specific considered setup, are discussed.

Comparing real walking in immersive virtual reality and in physical world using gait analysis

Canessa A.;Solari F.;Chessa M.
2019-01-01

Abstract

One of the main goals of immersive virtual reality is to allow people to walk in virtual environments in an ecological way. Several techniques have been developed in the literature: the use of devices such as omnidirectional treadmills, robotic tiles, stepping systems, sliding-based surfaces and human-sized hamster balls; or techniques such as the walking-in-place. Conversely, real walk requires the precise tracking of the user, performed on a large area, in order to allow him/her to explore the virtual environment without limitations. This can be achieved by using optical tracking systems, or low cost off-the shelf devices, such as the HTC-Vive tracking system. Here, we consider the latter solution and we aim to compare real walking in a virtual environment with respect to walking in a corresponding real world situation, with the long term goal of using it in rehabilitation and clinical setups. Moreover, we analyze the effect of having a virtual representation of the user’s body inside the virtual environment. Several spatio-temporal gait parameters are analyzed, such as the total distance walked, the patterns of velocity in each considered path, the velocity peaks, the step count and step length. Differently from what can be typically found in the literature, in our preliminary results we did not find significant differences between real walk in virtual environments and in a real world situation. Also having the virtual representation of the body inside virtual reality does not affect the gait parameters. The implication of these results for future research, in particular with respect to the specific considered setup, are discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/958081
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