A Virtual Obstacle Course within Diverse Sensory Environments

Zhu Wang, Anat Lubetzky, Charles Hendee, Marta Gospodarek, and Ken Perlin. 2020. A Virtual Obstacle Course within Diverse Sensory Environments. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2020 Immersive Pavilion (SIGGRAPH ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 9, 1–2. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3388536.3407875

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Author(s): Zhu Wang, Anat Lubetzky, Charles Hendee, Marta Gospodarek, and Ken Perlin

We developed a novel assessment platform with untethered virtual reality, 3D sounds, and pressure sensing floor mat to help assess the walking balance and negotiation of obstacles given diverse sensory load and/or cognitive load. The platform provides a city-like scene with anticipated/unanticipated virtual obstacles. Participants negotiate the obstacles with perturbations of: auditory load by spatial audio, cognitive load by a memory task, and visual flow by generated by avatars movements at various amounts and speeds. A VR system tracks the position and orientation of the participant’s head and feet. A pressure-sensing walkway senses foot pressure and visualizes it in a heatmap. The system helps to assess walking balance via pressure dynamics per foot, success rate of crossing obstacles, available response time as well as head kinematics in response to obstacles and multitasking. Based on the assessment, specific balance training and fall prevention program can be prescribed.

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