The avatar that gives the illusion of walking while sitting

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The avatar that gives the illusion of walking while sitting

The avatar comes from Japan which gives the illusion of walking even while sitting, for increasingly engaging immersive experiences: in practice it allows the user's shadow to be projected into virtual reality, offering a greater sensation of bodily presence, while four vibrant elements placed under the feet they induce the perception of footsteps on the ground. The operation of the system is described in the journal i-Perception by researchers from the University of Tokyo and the Toyohashi University of Technology.

There are already several technologies on the market that simulate walking in virtual reality and the metaverse, but they generally require the user to actually move their legs. Furthermore, they are often bulky and expensive devices, not suitable for home use. The novelty created by the Japanese researchers lies in offering a compact and inexpensive system, made up of elements easily available on the market, which allows you to experience the virtual walking experience while sitting, without having to actually move.

The starting point is a virtual reality viewer, through which it is possible to see a 360-degree video with 8K resolution showing the subjective view of a person walking. The avatar moves in sync with the user's head and projects its shadow in front, in the direction of movement, so that it is always visible to give the illusion of bodily presence. When the avatar's feet touch the ground, the user feels the vibrations transmitted by the four elements located under the tips of his feet and under the heels.

According to the researchers, this technology could be further improved for a variety of applications, including for people with disabilities.

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