To read our final report click here: finalreport.pdf
Last year, Professor Interrante's DREU students Amelia and Ramya created a box search task for participants to complete, in order to study the use of a wheelchair as an effective substitute for walking in a virtual environment. This year, after reading relevant studies--all of which say that walking will always be far superior to any substitute--we decided to explore potential benefits of using a wheelchair that walking cannot offer. For example, if a person is in a wheelchair, the experimenter has the ability to change the way they are moving without the person being overtly notified. Our study will focus on exploring how much we can affect a person's movement before they become aware that what they are seeing visually is not what is happening to them physically. The second part will judge how much the process of spatial updating relies on movement.
-TRANSLATION/ROTATION: This state will allow the person to move normally in a wheelchair, and allow us a baseline for the wheelchair equivalent of walking in a virtual space with a scale of 1:1
-VISUAL ONLY: This state will allow the person to move virtually in the world, but there will be no actual physical movement.
-ROTATION ONLY: This state will allow the person to rotate normally, but translation will be visual only.
-PARTIAL ROTATION: This state will allow the person to rotate physically, although not as much as they are visually, and translation will be visual only.
Our goal is not to prove that translation/rotation is the best method, as that has already been found, but to focus on awareness thresholds that participants have for actual movement vs. perceived.
Part Two is comprised of creating a virtual environment in which objects are located around a room. Our program will then be run in conjunction with a typical spatial updating study, and participants will be asked to close their eyes and point to various objects in a variety of cases. Our goal is to investigate spatial situations that are only possible in VR, and run spatial updating analysis on them to see how a participant updates under a variety of conditions. Ella's and my job is to create the environment and set up the experiment, so that participants can be run after we have left Minneapolis.