Moving Air : A Comparative Study of Physical Controllers and Hand Tracking in Virtual Reality

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: Onboarding is a procedure used to familiarize new employees with the details of a new industry, and VR and AR training are increasingly being used for role-specific medical field experiences. This study aims to explore the affordances and challenges of a task-specific shaped controller vs. a regular controller in a VR training scenario. To explore this comparison in this study, 26 participants performed a task based on a real-life task performed in the metals industry using an Oculus VR headset, as shown above. The task entailed using a large ladle to move "Liquid aluminum" represented by conditioned spheres from the "lava" to a container referred to as a crucible. The task was performed twice, once utilizing hand tracking to control the virtual ladle and again using a physical stick to control the virtual ladle. The order in which the controller was used first was randomized. Participants’ user experience was measured by immersion questionnaire and after-study interview. Participant performance in VR was captured and analyzed in comparison to an optimal metric. Results showed user experience between using a physical controller and hand tracking to be similar, but task performance as measured by comparing average performance in time completion and distance traveled compared to expert-certified metrics proved participants to perform better using just the hand tracking.  

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