|University of Minnesota
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Virtual Reality (VR) is an imitation of the real world. VR provides people an opportunity to experience surroundings that simulate real experiences, train people for situations or pro- vide interaction with situations that do not exist. VR allows users to learn about a particular environment which would not be possible due to reasons such as time, distances, expense and safety. Virtual environments (VE) are usually presented through Head Mounted Dis- plays (HMD). There are different locomotive techniques to explore virtual environments. The most common and immersive one is natural walking with a HMD in a room-size or larger tracking space. However, the size of the VE system that can be explored by walking is limited by the size of tracking space area. Redirected Walking is a promising, low-cost algorithm for enabling large virtual explo- ration via natural locomotion in smaller tracked spaces. This thesis utilizes a Redirected Walking algorithm that is used to steer user’s exploration in an infinite virtual scene while augmenting the algorithm to avoid potential physical obstacles that may exist in the tracked space itself. Adding obstacle avoidance to the Redirected Walking algorithm makes the tracking space more robust because there can be restrictions such as physical tables, doors or other obstacles that could hinder the user’s movements in VR. Moreover,this addition has potential use with passive haptics in Redirected Walking situations. The Magic Barrier Tape Technique is another alternative for exploring a large virtual environments on foot when the size of the physical surroundings is small by taking advantage of people’s natural ability to spatially update. Magic Barrier Tape is an interactive locomotion technique that helps the user to navigate in an infinite virtual space while restricted to a limited tracking space area. In the Magic Barrier Tape algorithm the user's pointing direction acts like a joystick to control their movement when near the tracking space boundaries. Magic Barrier Tape has the potential to become an effective resetting technique for the Redirected Walking algorithm because it may be more natural and there is a continuous visual flow for the users in the system. This thesis implements Redirected Walking while also dealing with potential collisions between users and physical objects in the laboratory.