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Virtual Reality team presents infinite walking in virtual environments

Posted April 12, 2013
Credit: Hannes Kaufmann, Vienna University of Technology

Credit: Hannes Kaufmann, Vienna University of Technology

Virtual reality experiences through the lenses and screens of future smart devices will keep on coming at us. Now a team of researchers from Vienna and the U.S. believe they have a stepped-up technology to support the intensive virtual environment apps of the future. VR designers will be interested in their paper, “Flexible Spaces: Dynamic Layout Generation for Infinite Walking in Virtual Environments,” which deals with their idea of walking in the virtual world. Rather than placing the user in a virtual layout that remains constant, the researchers set a goal toward more flexible spaces–described as infinite real walking in virtual environments. Rather than being hurtled through an endless maze that can frazzle the user’s nerves, however, the maze is navigable.

When the wearer moves forward, the VR system’s computer provides new hallways and rooms. The corridors and rooms are generated automatically as the walker moves to always fit inside the real space available. Their technique involves “procedural layout generation.” Designers benefit in that they will be able to focus on content of the virtual world they have in mind, “independent of the implementation details imposed by real walking.” This can make spatial manipulation techniques more practical for use in a variety of application domains.

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