Using a Physically-based Camera to Control Travel in Virtual Environments

Bruno Marques Ferreira da SilvaSelan Rodrigues dos SantosJauvane Cavalcante de Oliveira

Navigation is an ubiquitous user interaction taskin Virtual Environments (ves). Travel is the motorcomponent of navigation and comprehends controlof both locomotion and orientation of viewpointwithin a ve. Commonly, travel is done via ametaphor that maps user input to changes in theorientation and position parameters. In this workwe present a distinct approach, called Physicam,in which the camera is represented by a rigid bodywith physical properties such as mass, tensor ofinertia, and coefficient of friction; travel happenswhen forces and/or torques are exerted upon therigid body, in response to user input. The dynamicssimulation involved in this new approach is entirelyhandled by a physics engine, while a graphicsengine manages the rendering. Our aim is twofold:to provide a camera whose travel behavior is easy toprogram, and; to engage users of a desktop ve in aricher interaction experience capable of raising theirlevel of immersion and, hopefully, improving thenavigation process. To demonstrate our proposal, wehave built three ves. Each of these ves is capable ofsimulating physical properties and requires users tocomplete a specific navigation task, namely search,maneuvering, and exploration. We did an informaluser study with a group of volunteers who interactedwith all three ves, and used their subjective feedbackto evaluate our proposal.

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