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ReWaVE 2


Development and Validation of a Virtual Reality Simulator including Haptics and Walking for Studies in Consumer Behavior Research

Within the successfully finished SNF project 200021_127298, “Immersive Virtual Environments (IVEs) Allowing Optimal Free Walking Experience in a Limited Physical Space”, a virtual reality (VR) simulator was built that enables a user to navigate in a virtual environment (VE) using real, physical walking. By employing optimal control techniques, the simulator can guide a user imperceptibly on curved paths in the real world in order to “compress” the VE into the real physical room where the simulator is installed. I.e. a user can visit a VE that is larger than the space available for the VR simulator.

Such a simulator is of great use for research areas where user studies in complex and fully controllable environments are required. Especially in consumer behavior research, it is analyzed how persons make buying decisions in relation to their environment. Usually complex and elaborated physical setups are required for conducting user studies, and changes to the environment cannot be realized rapidly. Here, a simulator would be appreciated.

Hence, the goal of the proposed project is to realize a new dimension of consumer behavior studies by the use and further development of a VR simulator. To allow studies in simulated shops with real walking, grasping, and detection of the focus of interest, an important aspect will be the analysis and validation of the user trajectories in the VE and the influence of VE “compressions” and the results of a study. After a verification and comparison with traditional evaluation methods, a new tool for consumer behavior research should be provided that greatly increases the efficiency of user studies and even allows study setups that have been impossible so far. The proposed research project thus brings together the challenging research fields of Virtual Reality (VR) and Consumer Behavior (CB), who both will significantly benefit from this envisioned common research goals.


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