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Maintaining Spatial Orientation during Travel in an Immersive Virtual Environment
An experiment is presented comparing the effects of various virtual travel techniques in an immersive virtual environment (VE) on the spatial orientation of users. The experiment was designed and implemented in the context of a formal framework for the design and evaluation of VE travel techniques. Subjects traveled through virtual corridors, noting the location of objects along the way, and were asked to point in the direction of one of these objects when the end of the corridor was reached. Results indicate that virtual travel techniques, in which users do not physically translate their bodies, can allow the maintenance of a user's spatial orientation as measured by a pointing task. The experiment also replicates an earlier result, showing that path dimension significantly affects user performance. Finally, the strategies used by subjects to perform the task were shown to be significant, indicating that performance depends not only on the technique, environment, and task, but also on the sophistication of the user.