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Hands-Free Multi-Scale Navigation in Virtual Environments

Conference Article

Hands-Free Multi-Scale Navigation in Virtual Environments. Joseph LaViola, Daniel Acevedo, Daniel F. Keefe, Robert Zeleznik. Proceedings of ACM Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics 2001 (2001) pp. 9–15

Abstract

This paper presents a set of interaction techniques for hands-free multi-scale navigation through virtual environments. We believe that hands-free navigation, unlike the majority of navigation techniques based on hand motions, has the greatest potential for maximizing the interactivity of virtual environments since navigation modes are offloaded from modal hand gestures to more direct motions of the feet and torso. Not only are the users’ hands freed to perform tasks such as modeling, notetaking and object manipulation, but we also believe that foot and torso movements may inherently be more natural for some navigation tasks. The particular interactions that we developed include a leaning technique for moving small and medium distances, a foot-gesture controlled Step WIM that acts as a floor map for moving larger distances, and a viewing technique that enables a user to view a full 360 degrees in only a three-walled semi-immersive environment by subtly amplifying the mapping between their torso rotation and the virtual world. We formatively designed and evaluated our techniques in existing projects related to archaeological reconstructions, free-form modeling, and interior design. In each case, our informal observations have indicated that motions such as walking and leaning are both appropriate for navigation and are effective in cognitively simplifying complex virtual environment interactions since functionality is more evenly distributed across the body.

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