Recently, many studies have been conducted to apply virtual reality (VR) technology to the mining industry. To accomplish this, it is necessary to develop user interface devices that can effectively control software. Most VR content in the mining industry requires precise device control for equipment operation or accident response. In this study, we compare the performance of four user interface devices (a 2D mouse, 2D & 3D mice, a VR controller, and a Kinect (Microsoft) sensor and bend-sensing data glove) for controlling mining industry software in a VR environment. The total working time, number of device clicks and click accuracy, were analyzed based on 10 experimenters performing 3D orebody modeling, using each device in the VR environment. Furthermore, we conducted a survey to evaluate the ease of learning, ease of use, immersion and fatigue of each device after the experiment. The results show that the 2D mouse yields a high performance in terms of its working time, click accuracy, ease of learning and ease of use. However, the 2D mouse did not completely leverage the VR environment, owing to low user immersion. The Kinect sensor and bend-sensing data glove could control the software efficiently while maximizing user immersion. Our findings are expected to provide a useful reference for the future development of user interface devices in the mining industry.
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