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CyberWalk: Enabling unconstrained omnidirectional walking through virtual environments

MPS-Authors
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Souman,  JL
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Research Group Multisensory Perception and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Robuffo Giordano,  P
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Ernst,  M
Research Group Multisensory Perception and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Souman, J., Robuffo Giordano, P., Schwaiger, M., Frissen, I., Thümmel, T., Ulbrich, H., et al. (2011). CyberWalk: Enabling unconstrained omnidirectional walking through virtual environments. ACM Transactions on Applied Perception, 8(4): 25, pp. 1-22. doi:10.1145/2043603.2043607.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-B900-9
Abstract
Despite many recent developments in Virtual Reality, an effective locomotion interface which allows for normal walking through large virtual environments was still lacking until recently. Here, we describe the new CyberWalk omnidirectional treadmill system, which makes it possible for users to walk endlessly in any direction, while never leaving the confines of the limited walking surface. The treadmill system improves on previous designs, both in its mechanical features and in the control system employed to keep users close to the centre of the treadmill. As a result, users are able to start walking, vary their walking speed and direction, and stop walking like they would on a normal, stationary surface. The treadmill system was validated in two experiments, in which both the walking behaviour and the performance in a basic spatial updating task were compared to that during normal overground walking. The results suggest that walking on the CyberWalk treadmill is very close to normal walking, especially after some initial familiarization. Moreover, we did not find a detrimental effect of treadmill walking in the spatial updating task. The CyberWalk system constitutes a significant step forward to bringing the real world into the laboratory or workplace.