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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Computer Science

Advisor 1

Scott A. Kuhl

Committee Member 1

Robert Pastel

Committee Member 2

Myounghoon Jeon

Committee Member 3

Shane Mueller


Virtual environments provide controllable, compelling, and immersive experiences to users and will likely change the way we interact with computers. A perfect virtual reality system should allow people to perceive and act in a way that matches how they would perceive and act in an equivalent real-world environment. In this work, we researched two ways to make virtual worlds viewed in head-mounted displays more consistent with the real world. First, people systematically underestimate certain types of distance judgments in the virtual environment while they are accurate in the real world. We investigated using an approach called “minification" which intentionally distorted the imagery presented to the user to compensate for the underestimation. Second, HMD users may wish to walk through a large virtual space when they are confined to a smaller real world space. When a person reaches an unsafe situation, for example they are going to run into a wall, the person must be interrupted. In this work, we examined methods of reducing interruptions by introducing mismatches between the direction and amount of virtual world movements. We also modified how we interrupted people to help reduce the number of future interruptions and studied the perception of these interruptions. We developed a general algorithm to integrate these techniques together. In summary, this work attempts to improve the overall utility of HMD systems by improving spatial perception and enabling efficient navigation.