Effects of virtual reality locomotion techniques on distance estimations
Mental representations of geographic space are based on knowledge of spatial elements and the spatial relation between these elements. Acquiring such mental representations of space requires assessing distances between pairs of spatial elements. In virtual reality (VR) applications, locomotion techniques based on real-world movement are constrained by the size of the available room and the used room scale tracking system. Therefore, many VR applications use additional locomotion techniques such as artificial locomotion (continuous forward movement) or teleporting (“jumping” from one location to another). These locomotion techniques move the user through virtual space based on controller input. However, it has not yet been investigated how different established controller-based locomotion techniques affect distance estimations in VR. In an experiment, we compared distance estimations between artificial locomotion and teleportation before and after a training phase. The results showed that distance estimations in both locomotion conditions improved after the training. Additionally, distance estimations were found to be more accurate when teleportation locomotion was used.