Validation of Locomotion Paradigms in an Immersive Virtual Environment

Head mounted display and joystick

Project TOUCH is a collaborative effort between the University of New Mexico, The University of Hawaii, and the SimCen to apply advanced technologies to medical learning. Project TOUCH uses Flatland, an virtual reality visualization environment, to recreate medically relevant scenarios for practice and training. Individuals explore and interact with the virtual environment using a motion-tracked head mounted display and joystick. Multiple systems can connect via the Internet and share the same virtual space. In this manner, geographically dispersed individuals can still come together for team training exercises.

Since the head mounted display and joystick are tethered, the individual's range of physical motion is limited. Alternative methods for going between places in the virtual environment must be developed. A locomotion paradigm is a method for moving around in the virtual environment. Locomotion paradigms are typically designed to be easily understood or learned. An important factor is evaluating the ease in which users can interact and move around using different paradigms.

We have ported software for the TOUCH/Flatland environment from Linux to Windows. A series of experiments have been designed to evaluate different locomotion paradigms. Each experiment requires the user to navigate a series of waypoints in a simplified virtual environment. The intent is to determine conditions under which one paradigm performs better (or worse) than another.

Project Members

Chang Ha Lee and Alan Liu


This work is supported by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract No. W81XWH-04-1-0875. The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by other documentation.