Dennis Wolf, member of the research group human-computer interaction, has successfully defend his phd thesis with the title Challenges of Controller-Based and Controller-Less Interaction in Cross-Reality. His examiners were Prof. Dr Enrico Rukzio (media informatics, Ulm University), Prof. Jonna Häkkila (University of Lapland), Prof. Dr Timo Ropinski, Prof. Dr Dr Wolfgang Minker, and Prof Dr. Manfred Reichert (all Ulm University).
With the new technologies of cross reality (XR), countless new forms of interaction arise, which seemed impossible in the past. To manipulate virtual content and mediate intentions from the physical to the virtual world, we apply sensors that observe actions and interfaces that interpret these actions into input commands. Since our hands are evolutionary our most powerful and versatile tools, it is no surprise that analogue to the establishment of mice and joysticks for personal computers, hand-held controllers have become the state-of-the-art input device for commercial XR systems. With increasing tracking precision and the integration of haptic feedback, XR controllers are constantly growing in their interaction fidelity. However, as any hand-held device, XR controllers come with limitations such as an additional weight and a static form-factor. Specifically in virtual reality (VR), where scenarios involve holding different tools that do not necessarily fit the form-factor of the current controller or no tool at all, the mismatch between visual representation and haptic feedback can break the feeling of presence, i.e., reduce the feeling of being there. Furthermore, there are users that are physically or cognitively not able to use state-of-the-art VR controllers and have no or very limited alternative forms of interaction.
Considering that a substantial amount of currently available head-mounted displays (HMDs) does not include a controller or offers alternative ways of interaction, gives rise to several questions: (1) What are the draw-backs of controller-based interaction and how can they be overcome? (2) Is controller-less interaction feasible while maintaining or even increasing the performance level and user experience of a controller?
Although controller-based interaction is well-explored and under constant development, it is still facing challenges like selection errors due to spatial disturbance that need further investigation to better understand the requirements for controller-less interaction. Therefore, this dissertation spans a mental model for both, controller-based and controller-less interaction for the set of basic interaction types: selection, travel, and haptic feedback. Previous work is discussed in light of the research questions and categorized in the resulting mental model. Open challenges in each category are analyzed and presented with approaches from own works in the field of selection, travel and haptic feedback.
The presented mental model and own works should serve to improve existing controller-based interaction and increase the bandwidth of meaningful alternative interaction techniques that achieve a high user experience and performance without a controller in XR.
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