Academic journal article Human Factors

Effects of Navigation Speed on Motion Sickness Caused by an Immersive Virtual Environment

Academic journal article Human Factors

Effects of Navigation Speed on Motion Sickness Caused by an Immersive Virtual Environment

Article excerpt

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This study investigated the effects of navigation speed on the level of motion sickness during and after a 30-mm head-steered virtual environment. Root-mean-squares for 8 speeds in the fore-and-aft axis were 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 24, 30, and 59 m/s. Participants were 96 Chinese men. Both the nausea and vection ratings increased significantly with speeds increasing from 3 m/s to 10 m/s. At speeds exceeding 10 m/s, the ratings stabilized. Navigation speeds were found to significantly affect the onset times of vection and nausea but did not affect their rates of increase with duration of exposure. For the various Simulator Sickness Questionnaire scores, navigation speed had a significant influence on only the oculomotor subscore. Actual or potential applications of this research include the prediction of sickness associated with simulation tours in a virtual environment at different navigation speeds.

INTRODUCTION

Motion sickness associated with exposure to virtual environments (VEs) has been the subject of many studies (see reviews in Stanney, Salvendy, et al., 1998, and Wilson, 1996). This type of sickness has been referred to as a type of vection-induced sickness (Hettinger, Berbaum, Kennedy, Dunlap, & Nolan, 1990) and is called cybersickness (McCauley & Sharkey, 1992). In a VE, operators can be exposed to moving scenes with a wide field of view in the absence of appropriate physical motion. This may cause the illusion of self-motion in the opposite direction (referred to as vection). Such experiences have been reported to be nauseogenic for participants navigating through a VE (e.g., Cobb, Nichols, Ramsey, & Wilson, 1999; Lo & So, 2001; Regan, 1995; Stanney & Kennedy, 1998).

Because vection and sickness can be generated by watching moving scenes in a VE, the effect of navigation speed on the level of cybersickness becomes an interesting line of research. How fast or slow should an operator navigate through a VE in order to minimize the occurrence of cybersickness? A review of the literature indicates that although the effects of navigation methods have been studied (e.g., Hash & Stanney, 1995: level of control; Howarth & Finch, 1999: head-control vs. manual-control navigation; Regan, 1995: increased head movement and speed of interactions; Rich & Braun, 1996: presence or absence of active control of navigation), we know of no studies that have purposely investigated the effects of navigation speed on cybersickness. The study that comes closest to this objective seems to be Regan (1995), in which participants in one group were instructed to interact with the VEs as fast as they could and members of the other group were free to control their own speed of interaction. Results showe d that there was no significant difference in the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ; Kennedy, Lane, Berbaum, & Lilienthal, 1993) scores between the two groups. However, the speeds of navigation through the VEs were not measured in that study.

In lieu of studies on the effects of navigation speed on cybersickness, we can review studies concerning vection-induced sickness during exposure to moving scenes other than VEs. Hu, Stern, Vasey, and Koch (1989) reported that as the rotating speeds of an optokinetic drum with black and white stripes changed from 15[degrees]/s to 90[degrees]/s, symptoms of vectioninduced sickness increased, peaked, and then declined. The peak in sickness occurred at 60[degrees]/s. Muller, Wiest, and Deecke (1990) reported that the time taken for vection to occur shortened as the speed of rotating scene increased from 10[degrees]/s to 40[degrees]/s. Beyond 40[degrees]/s the time remained similar for speeds up to 200[degrees]/s. Muller et al. used three different scene patterns (random dots, stripes, and checkerboard), for which they obtained similar results.

The finding of Muller et al. regarding the onset times of vection with different speeds of moving scene is consistent with those reported in Kennedy, Hettinger, Harm, Ordy, and Dunlap (1996). …

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