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A system for optimizing space utilization in virtual reality arenas

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000243916D
Publication Date: 2015-Oct-28
Document File: 5 page(s) / 334K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The availability of affordable and successful virtual reality (VR) technology is increasing. Incorporation of wireless features and further improvements to technology will make VR simulations increasingly free-form. Increasing space and safety requirements will be needed to maintain freedom of movement when immersed in simulations. This article proposes a system for optimizing the space utilization in VR arenas through space and user tracking, in-simulation environment tuning, path optimization, and conscious or sub-conscious navigational feedback to the user.

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A system for optimizing space utilization in virtual reality arenas

Virtual reality (VR) is set to become mainstream in the near future. To be fully immersive people need the freedom to physically move whilst in the virtual reality environment. Historically physical movement has been restricted by the computing and power supply requirements, but modern VR systems could be made wireless enabling free movement. However, once a person is able to move freely whilst engaging in a VR world it requires a significant amount of space and/or safety measures to prevent someone from colliding in the real world. This system provides a method of coordinating the users physical movements with the virtual environment to both prevent collisions and optimize the amount of space required in the real

world to interact within a virtual world.

    Currently this problem is being addressed in two primary ways:
Firstly, large foam padded rooms, such as that described in [1]. The disadvantage of this approach is that each user requires an individual room and their interactions in the VR world are limited to the bounds of the physical room.

    Secondly, omni-directional treadmills or similar, such as those described in
[2],[3] and [4]. Whilst these do allow unlimited scale for interaction, they require large infrastructure investment and still require one treadmill per VR user.

    The proposed solution is to track the VR user or users with a system of sensors. This sensor data is used to determine the paths of the users and predict a likely path based on current motion and optionally improved by data from in-game or in-environment goals. The system then compares the paths from all users and provides coordinated feedback through two mechanisms: i) adjustments in the visual field of the VR headset, ii) physical feedback to steer the user. In this way the system can keep the user or users on appropriate and independent paths.

    The advantage of this approach over the current approaches are: i) significantly less mechanical infrastructure is required than with an omni-directional treadmill
ii) the size of the physical space does not bound the movement in the VR

iii) many users can share the same (padded) VR arena space, with the

computer orchestrating movements to prevent them interfering with each other or the walls

    The system works by tracking users within a physical space using any appropriate sensors. The users paths are monitored and when the path vectors are going to intercept with each other or with the established physical bounds of the play area then the users are nudged onto non-intersecting paths by coordinating adjustments of the VR display and physical feedback. In this way the user is unaware of the change of direction in the physical world as the apparent direction of motion in the virtual world is unchanged. As a result it is possible to keep the users confined in a smaller physical area than is displayed in the VR world, whilst allowing

full freedom of move...