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Jan 05, 2008

Heading assessment by "tunnel vision" patients and control subjects standing or walking in a virtual reality environment

Heading assessment by "tunnel vision" patients and control subjects standing or walking in a virtual reality environment.

ACM Trans Appl Percept. 2007 Jan;4(1):nihms21521

Authors: Apfelbaum H, Pelah A, Peli E

Virtual reality locomotion simulators are a promising tool for evaluating the effectiveness of vision aids to mobility for people with low vision. This study examined two factors to gain insight into the verisimilitude requirements of the test environment: the effects of treadmill walking and the suitability of using controls as surrogate patients. Ten "tunnel vision" patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) were tasked with identifying which side of a clearly visible obstacle their heading through the virtual environment would lead them, and were scored both on accuracy and on their distance from the obstacle when they responded. They were tested both while walking on a treadmill and while standing, as they viewed a scene representing progress through a shopping mall. Control subjects, each wearing a head-mounted field restriction to simulate the vision of a paired patient, were also tested. At wide angles of approach, controls and patients performed with a comparably high degree of accuracy, and made their choices at comparable distances from the obstacle. At narrow angles of approach, patients' accuracy increased when walking, while controls' accuracy decreased. When walking, both patients and controls delayed their decisions until closer to the obstacle. We conclude that a head-mounted field restriction is not sufficient for simulating tunnel vision, but that the improved performance observed for walking compared to standing suggests that a walking interface (such as a treadmill) may be essential for eliciting natural perceptually-guided behavior in virtual reality locomotion simulators.

17:30 Posted in Cybertherapy | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: virtual reality

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