Assessing Postural Instability and Cybersickness Through Linear and Angular Displacement

Christopher Widdowson, Israel Becerra, Cameron Merrill, Ranxiao Frances Wang, Steven LaValle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To examine the hypothesis that constant speed is more comfortable than variable speed profiles and may minimize cybersickness. Background: Current best practices for virtual reality (VR) content creation suggest keeping any form of acceleration as short and infrequent as possible to mitigate cybersickness. Methods: In Experiment 1, participants experienced repetitions of simulated linear motion, and in Experiment 2, they experienced repetitions of a circular motion. Three speed profiles were tested in each experiment. Each trial lasted 2 min while standing. Cybersickness was measured using the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ) and operationally defined in terms of total severity scores. Postural stability was measured using a Wii Balance Board and operationally defined in terms of center of pressure (COP) path length. Postural measures were decomposed into anterior-posterior and medial-lateral axes and subjected to detrended fluctuation analysis. Results: For both experiments, no significant differences were observed between the three speed profiles in terms of cybersickness or postural stability, and none of the baseline postural measures could predict SSQ scores for the speed profile conditions. An axis effect was observed in both experiments such that normalized COP movement was significantly greater along the anterior-posterior axis than the medial-lateral axis. Conclusion: Results showed no convincing evidence to support the common belief that constant speed is more comfortable than variable speed profiles for scenarios typical of VR applications. Application: The present findings offer guidelines for the design of locomotion techniques involving traversal in VR environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHuman Factors
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • gait
  • immersive environments
  • motion sickness
  • posture
  • simulator sickness
  • virtual environments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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