Special Issue "New Frontiers in Virtual Reality: Methods, Devices and Applications"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Optics and Lasers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 6348

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Diego Gutierrez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Universidad de Zaragoza, EINA (Edificio Ada Byron), 50018 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: physically based global illumination; computational imaging and virtual reality
Dr. Ana Serrano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department 4: Computer Graphics, Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
Interests: visual computing; computational imaging; applied perception; virtual reality
Dr. Qi Sun
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
NYU Tandon School of Engineering, New York University, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Interests: perceptual computer graphics; virtual reality; augmented reality; visual optics; human–computer interaction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to dramatically change the way we create and consume content in our everyday life. This technology has the ability to unlock unprecedented user experiences by allowing for an increased sense of presence, immersion, and engagement. In the last few years, we have witnessed astonishing progress in technological developments, such as capture and display technologies, accompanied by a steady advance in the understanding of cognitive factors regarding user perceptions in this new medium. This has enabled many applications, including in education, entertainment, training, cognitive and psychological therapies, design, communication, and advertising.

For VR to become commonplace and realize its full potential, various aspects of capture and display technologies, computer graphics, computer vision, visualization techniques, and applied perception play a crucial role. This Special Issue welcomes contributions addressing interdisciplinary research challenges towards generating complete, engaging VR experiences. In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Expected contributions of this Special Issue include, but are not limited to: 

  • VR systems (capture hardware, displays, and visualization techniques)
  • Immersive sensory devices (eye-tracking technologies, motion tracking, haptic devices, etc.)
  • 3D environment understanding (tracking, segmentation, recognition, etc.)
  • Immersive interfaces and interaction
  • Multimodality in VR
  • Navigation techniques for VR
  • Cognitive factors and perception in VR
  • Presence and embodiment
  • Content generation and applications (cinematography, telepresence, games, education, cultural heritage, medicine, therapy, training, simulation, etc.)

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Diego Gutierrez
Dr. Ana Serrano
Dr. Qi Sun
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Virtual reality systems
  • 3D environment understanding
  • Immersive devices
  • Immersive interfaces
  • Multimodality
  • VR navigation
  • Perception in VR
  • Presence and embodiment in VR
  • VR applications

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Multi-Object Grasp Technique for Placement of Objects in Virtual Reality
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(9), 4193; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12094193 - 21 Apr 2022
Viewed by 395
Abstract
Some daily tasks involve grasping multiple objects in one hand and releasing them in a determined order, for example laying out a surgical table or distributing items on shelves. For training these tasks in Virtual Reality (VR), there is no technique for allowing [...] Read more.
Some daily tasks involve grasping multiple objects in one hand and releasing them in a determined order, for example laying out a surgical table or distributing items on shelves. For training these tasks in Virtual Reality (VR), there is no technique for allowing users to grasp multiple objects in one hand in a realistic way, and it is not known if such a technique would benefit user experience. Here, we design a multi-object grasp technique that enables users to grasp multiple objects in one hand and release them in a controlled way. We tested an object placement task under three conditions: real life, VR with single-object grasp and VR with multi-object grasp. Task completion time, distance travelled by the hands and subjective experience were measured in three scenarios: sitting in front of a desktop table, standing up in front of shelves and a room-size scenario where walking was required. Results show that the performance in a real environment is better than in Virtual Reality, both for single-object and multi-object grasping. The single-object technique performs better than the multi-object, except for the room scenario, where multi-object leads to less distance travelled and reported physical demand. For use cases where the distances are small (i.e., desktop scenario), single-object grasp is simpler and easier to understand. For larger scenarios, the multi-object grasp technique represents a good option that can be considered by other application designers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Virtual Reality: Methods, Devices and Applications)
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Article
Calculating and Analyzing Angular Head Jerk in Augmented and Virtual Reality: Effect of AR Cue Design on Angular Jerk
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 10082; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112110082 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 543
Abstract
In this work, we propose a convenient method for evaluating levels of angular jerk in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Jerk is a rarely analyzed metric in usability studies, although it can be measured and calculated easily with most head-worn displays [...] Read more.
In this work, we propose a convenient method for evaluating levels of angular jerk in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Jerk is a rarely analyzed metric in usability studies, although it can be measured and calculated easily with most head-worn displays and can yield highly relevant information to designers. Here, we developed and implemented a system capable of calculating and analyzing jerk in real-time based on orientation data from an off-the-shelf head-worn display. An experiment was then carried out to determine whether the presence of AR user interface annotations results in changes to users’ angular head jerk when conducting a time-pressured visual search task. Analysis of the data indicates that a decrease in jerk is significantly associated with the use of AR augmentations. As noted in the limitations section, however, the conclusions drawn from this work should be limited, as this analysis method is novel in the VR/AR space and because of methodological limitations that limited the reliability of the jerk data. The work presented herein considerably facilitates the use of jerk as a quick component measure of usability and serves as an initial point off which future research involving jerk in VR and AR can be performed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Virtual Reality: Methods, Devices and Applications)
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Article
Hands-On Deformation of Volumetric Anatomical Images on a Touchscreen
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(20), 9502; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209502 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 528
Abstract
In this work, we propose a novel metaphor to interact with volumetric anatomical images, e.g., magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scans. Beyond simple visual inspection, we empower users to reach the visible anatomical elements directly with their hands, and then move and [...] Read more.
In this work, we propose a novel metaphor to interact with volumetric anatomical images, e.g., magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scans. Beyond simple visual inspection, we empower users to reach the visible anatomical elements directly with their hands, and then move and deform them through natural gestures, while respecting the mechanical behavior of the underlying anatomy. This interaction metaphor relies on novel technical methods that address three major challenges: selection of anatomical elements in volumetric images, mapping of 2D manipulation gestures to 3D transformations, and real-time deformation of the volumetric images. All components of the interaction metaphor have been designed to capture the user’s intent in an intuitive manner, solving the mapping from the 2D touchscreen to the visible elements of the 3D volume. As a result, users have the ability to interact with medical volume images much like they would do with physical anatomy, directly with their hands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Virtual Reality: Methods, Devices and Applications)
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Article
A Test Platform for Managing School Stress Using a Virtual Reality Group Chatbot Counseling System
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(19), 9071; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11199071 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1309
Abstract
Student life causes many sources of stress due to the requirements of managing schoolwork, family, friends, health and wellbeing, and future career planning. Some students are overwhelmed and lack resilience to overcome stress, especially if they are inexperienced in managing setbacks, fail to [...] Read more.
Student life causes many sources of stress due to the requirements of managing schoolwork, family, friends, health and wellbeing, and future career planning. Some students are overwhelmed and lack resilience to overcome stress, especially if they are inexperienced in managing setbacks, fail to achieve expectations, or lack skills to independently manage social skills, recreation, and study time. The long-term accumulation of stress has a negative impact on students’ physical and mental health, and may lead to a range of symptoms such as depression, anxiety, headache, insomnia, and eating disorders. Although most universities provide psychological counseling services, there is often a shortage of professional psychologists, which leads to students suffering from stress for longer than necessary without immediate assistance. The build-up of stress can lead to tragic consequences including abnormal reasoning, anti-social behavior, and suicide. There should never be a need for a student to wait more than a month to make an appointment for counseling services and every request for help should be immediately addressed and assessed. In this research, we designed a unique test platform for an immersive virtual reality group chatbot counseling system so students can receive psychological help and stress management counseling anytime and anywhere. First, the research used questionnaires to measure the stress levels and identifies how stress affects their lives. An immersive virtual reality chatbot was developed using professional psychological counseling knowledge that can provide answers during individual or group counseling sessions. Students can log in to the platform as avatars and ask the chatbot questions or interact with other students on the platform. This research provides college students with a new technology-based counseling environment designed to help relieve stress and learn new ways to improve student life quality from others. The platform provides a test base for future clinical trials to evaluate and improve the automated virtual reality chatbot counseling system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Virtual Reality: Methods, Devices and Applications)
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Article
A Study on Visually Induced VR Reduction Method for Virtual Reality Sickness
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(14), 6339; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11146339 - 08 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 814
Abstract
In this paper, we propose a new type of visually induced reduction method for virtual reality (VR) sickness. This method induces a gaze based on a visual guide (VG). Although VGs are used in commercial VR game contents as crosshairs, no studies have [...] Read more.
In this paper, we propose a new type of visually induced reduction method for virtual reality (VR) sickness. This method induces a gaze based on a visual guide (VG). Although VGs are used in commercial VR game contents as crosshairs, no studies have been conducted related to VR sickness. VGs can have various properties determined by position, size, shape, color, etc., and it was necessary to investigate which properties affect VR sickness. In particular, size and position of VG are properties that directly affect the user’s gaze movement. Therefore, in this paper, five VR sickness reduction methods with different position and size of VG are proposed. Then, an experiment was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of the proposed VR sickness reduction method. To this end, a SSQ (including nausea, oculomotor discomfort, disorientation, and total score) and a questionnaire on fatigue and immersion were used. From the experimental results, a VG with a size 30% that of the aspect ratio, and a position synchronized to the user’s head movement direction, was most effective in terms of VR sickness reduction and immersion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Virtual Reality: Methods, Devices and Applications)
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Article
Impact of View-Dependent Image-Based Effects on Perception of Visual Realism and Presence in Virtual Reality Environments Created Using Multi-Camera Systems
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(13), 6173; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11136173 - 02 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 696
Abstract
Several recent works have presented image-based methods for creating high-fidelity immersive virtual environments from photographs of real-world scenes. In this paper, we provide a user-centered evaluation of such methods by way of a user study investigating their impact on viewers’ perception of visual [...] Read more.
Several recent works have presented image-based methods for creating high-fidelity immersive virtual environments from photographs of real-world scenes. In this paper, we provide a user-centered evaluation of such methods by way of a user study investigating their impact on viewers’ perception of visual realism and sense of presence. In particular, we focus on two specific elements commonly introduced by image-based approaches. First, we investigate the extent to which using dedicated image-based rendering algorithms to render the scene with view-dependent effects (such as specular highlights) causes users to perceive it as being more realistic. Second, we study whether making the scene fade out beyond a fixed volume in 3D space significantly reduces participants’ feeling of being there, examining different sizes for this viewing volume. To provide details on the virtual environment used in the study, we also describe how we recreated a museum gallery for room-scale virtual reality using a custom-built multi-camera rig. The results of our study show that using image-based rendering to render view-dependent effects can effectively enhance the perception of visual realism and elicit a stronger sense of presence, even when it implies constraining the viewing volume to a small range of motion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Virtual Reality: Methods, Devices and Applications)
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Concept Paper
Conceptual Design of an Extended Reality Exercise Game for the Elderly
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6436; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136436 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 287
Abstract
Facing the increasingly serious ageing problem, IT technology is being applied more and more to alleviate the increasing health demands of the elderly. Virtual reality (VR) games, in particular, have been shown to benefit the physical and mental health of the elderly. However, [...] Read more.
Facing the increasingly serious ageing problem, IT technology is being applied more and more to alleviate the increasing health demands of the elderly. Virtual reality (VR) games, in particular, have been shown to benefit the physical and mental health of the elderly. However, almost all consumer-level VR games address the general user, not considering the characteristics of the elderly, such as their particular needs regarding cognitive aspects and safety. In addition, the existing VR rowing games’ research typically focuses on athlete training or is based on a rowing machine. Extending on previous research, this paper proposes a conceptual design of a VR rowing game, VRrowing to provide a home exercise game for the elderly which benefits both physical and mental health. This research first analysed the relevant literature and existing VR exercise games for the elderly to find characteristics and their particular needs. Then, following design principles (in exercise games, human–computer interaction, and user interfaces (UIs)) for the elderly, this study proposed a conceptual design of VRrowing through the MDA framework (standing for mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics). The results cover the system architecture, activities and tasks, patterns and roles, mechanics and structures, and UI examples. Based on comprehensive consideration of the results from relevant research and fostering strengths and circumventing weaknesses, VRrowing was designed as a sports game, aimed at the elderly according to their characteristics and needs, which fills the void of home VR rowing games for seniors’ exercise. This research has reference value for scientific research or development personnel in VR game applications and evaluations, especially for such games targeting the elderly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Virtual Reality: Methods, Devices and Applications)
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