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Comfortable locomotion in VR is an evolving problem. Given the high probability of vestibular-visual disconnect, and subsequent simulator sickness, new users face an uphill battle in adjusting to the technology. While natural locomotion offers the least chance of simulator sickness, the space, economic and accessibility barriers to it limit its effectiveness for a wider audience. Software-enabled locomotion circumvents much of these barriers, but has the greatest need for simulator sickness mitigation. This is especially true for standing VR experiences, where sex-biased differences in mitigation effectiveness are amplified (postural instability due to vection disproportionately affects women).
Predictive trails were developed as a shareable Unity module in order to combat some of the gaps in current mitigation methods. Predictive trails use navigation meshes and path finding to plot the user’s available path according to their direction of vection. Some of the more prominent software methods each face distinct problems. Vignetting, while largely effective, restricts user field-of-vision (FoV), which in prolonged scenarios, has been shown to disproportionately lower women’s navigational ability. Virtual noses, while effective without introducing FoV restrictions, requires commercial licensing for use.
Early testing of predictive trails proved effective on the principal investigator, but a wider user study - while approved - was unable to be carried out due to circumstances of the global health crisis. While the user study was planned around a seated experience, further study is required into the respective sex-biased effect on a standing VR experience. Additional investigation into performance is also required.