Technologies for gestural interaction in Immersive Virtual Reality



Interest in Virtual Reality (VR) technology has recently resurfaced due to the emergence of low-cost consumer devices with considerable graphics quality. Although there are various classes of VR devices, the most common is the immersive headset device in which users are almost completely unaware of their physical surroundings. These headsets immerse the user in a stereoscopic visual (and sometimes auditory) experience blocking any outside light sources.

In a fully immersive environment, interaction with virtual objects is a challenge because users cannot see what is physically around them, including any controller devices such as keyboards, mice, joysticks, etc., and because users are required to perform action in a 3D environment. Although classic controllers such as gamepads and joysticks have been used for providing interactivity in immersive VR experiences, many new gestural controllers have also been developed and tried. Instead of pressing buttons and moving joysticks, gestural controllers allow a more natural use of the hands to point, grab, move, etc.

This paper provides a survey of the most common technologies for implementing gesture-based interaction for immersive VR environments, and discusses their advantages and limitations. The analysis is structured around the two major types of devices: those that require users to wear or operate a device, and those that are implements-free. Examples of the first category are Motion Capture studios and corresponding tracking suits and markers, or arm worn devices such as the Myo armband. Examples of the second category are the often used Kinect (and similar depth cameras), or the more recent Leap Motion device.

This survey describes various concrete examples of usage of the various interaction devices and synthesises a list of the main properties of the various technologies including e.g., the required infrastructure and setup, the supported range of gestures, and cost.
Although the focus is immersive virtual reality, i. e., experienced through VR head mounted displays, we occasionally take examples from other settings also, provided they are obviously applicable to immersive VR.


interaction technologies; hci; virtual reality; gesture


interaction technologies; hci; virtual reality; gesture


iGesto'17 International Conference on Gesture and Multimodality, February 2017

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