Making Small Spaces Feel Large: Practical Illusions in Virtual Reality

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 1:25pm - 2:25pm
Lind 305
Evan Rosenberg (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
Over the next decade, immersive technologies have the potential to revolutionize how people communicate over distance, how they learn, train, and operate in challenging physical environments, and how they visualize, understand, and make decisions based on an ever-growing landscape of complex data. However, despite rapid technical advances over the past few years and no small amount of media hype, there are numerous theoretical and practical problems yet to be solved before virtual reality can catch up with our imaginations and make good on these promises. Locomotion is one of the most significant interaction challenges because body movement is constrained by the real world. When walking in VR, users may collide with walls or physical obstacles if they attempt to travel outside the boundaries of a room-scale space. In this talk, I will present a series of illusory techniques that can overcome these movement limitations by imperceptibly manipulating the laws of physics. This approach, known as redirected walking, has stunning potential to fool the senses. Through a series of formal studies, users have been convinced that were walking along a straight path while actually traveling in a circle, or that they were exploring impossibly large virtual environments within the footprint of a single real-world room. Additionally, I will discuss technical challenges for redirected walking systems and present novel algorithms that can automatically redirect users in complex physical spaces with obstacles.

Evan Suma Rosenberg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Previously, he was the Associate Director of the MxR Lab at the Institute for Creative Technologies and a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Southern California. His research interests are situated at the intersection of virtual/augmented reality and HCI, encompassing immersive technologies, 3D user interfaces, and spatial interaction techniques. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2010. Dr. Suma Rosenberg's research has been recognized with multiple best paper awards and has been funded by NSF, ARL, ONR, and DARPA. Over the past decade, he has also directed the development of multiple publicly released free software projects and contributed to an open-source technology initiative that has had a major disruptive impact on the VR industry. Dr. Suma Rosenberg has served as General Chair and Program Chair for IEEE VR, the leading academic conference in the virtual reality field, and currently chairs the steering committee for ACM SUI. His team received first place at the 2015 SIGGRAPH AR/VR Contest, and he received a Google VR Research Award in 2017.