Are users aware of each other in an immersive multi-user virtual environment if they cannot see or hear each other? We present a study on users´ awareness of other users who share the same physical space. The goal of our research is to investigate proximity awareness when walking in multi-user virtual environments. The high degree of immersion in our virtual environment is achieved through the use of a head-mounted display and real walking in a large tracked space. In our experiment, pairs of participants are required to walk on pre-defined paths towards or side by side to each other and point at their test partners if they feel their presence. Our results show that 1/3 of the participants who had a-priori knowledge about the possible proximity of their test partners could notice their test partners during the experiment at a distance shorter than 1m. The test subjects who did not have any a-priori knowledge proved to be not aware of other users.
I. Podkosova, H. Kaufmann: "Mutual Proximity Awareness in Immersive Multi-User Virtual Environments with RealWalking"; in: "Proceedings of International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence and Eurographics Symposium on Virtual Environments", Eurographics Association, 2015, ISBN: 978-3-905674-84-2, 109 - 116.
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