Guest Lecturer: Eric Ragan, Ph.D.

Guest Lecturer: Eric Ragan, Ph.D.

Date: February 28, 2018
Time: 9:35 AM - 10:55 AM
Location: 432 Newell Drive, Gainesville, Florida, 32611
Host: UF CISE Department
Admission: This event is free and open to the public.

Balancing Naturalness, Convenience, and Comfort for Interaction Technique in Virtual Reality

Abstract: For virtual reality (VR), the goal is often to achieve a realistic simulation that closely matches the experiences of the real world. It would be ideal if users could freely walk around and use their physical hands to directly interact with the virtual environment. While this can be achieved via interaction with tracking technology, practical limitations can make it difficult to simulate a variety of situations with a single system.

For example, virtual environments are often much larger than the available tracked physical space, and virtual worlds can have more ways to interact than a typical physical space supports. A related issue with realistic interaction is that large amounts of physical movement are often not preferred for comfortable and convenient use of technology.

Our research investigates interaction techniques that balance the level of realism with level of convenience for practical real-world uses of VR. We study semi-natural methods for navigation and view control that can work for seated use of virtual reality with HMDs when physically turning all the way around is not ideal, such as when sitting on a couch or at a desk. We also explore the use of perceptual illusions and passive haptics to allow direct hand interaction through physical props.

This talk will provide an overview of the technical and practical considerations important for the design of convenient 3D interaction techniques, and it will present the results of empirical studies of how different techniques affect users’ spatial orientation, sickness, and experiences in VR.

Biography: Eric Ragan is an assistant professor at Texas A&M University in the Department of Visualization and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. His research interests include humancomputer interaction, virtual reality, 3D interaction techniques, information visualization, and visual analytics. He previously worked as a visual analytics research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he studied visualization designs that enable monitoring and analysis of streaming data. Current research topics include the visualization of analytic provenance, understandable visual interfaces for machine learning systems, and the natural interaction techniques for immersive virtual environments. Dr. Ragan received his Ph.D. in computer science from Virginia Tech.