IMPLEMENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF CO-LOCATED VIRTUAL REALITY FOR COLLABORATIVE SCIENTIFIC DATA VISUALIZATION

2020-05-07T17:52:18Z (GMT) by Jordan M McGraw
Advancements in virtual reality (VR) technologies have led to overwhelming critique and acclaim in recent years. Academic researchers have already begun to take advantage of these immersive technologies across all manner of settings. Using immersive technologies, educators are able to more easily interpret complex information with students and colleagues. Despite the advantages these technologies bring, some drawbacks still remain. One particular drawback is the difficulty of engaging in immersive environments with others in a shared physical space (i.e., with a shared virtual environment). A common strategy for improving collaborative data exploration has been to use technological substitutions to make distant users feel they are collaborating in the same space. This research, however, is focused on how virtual reality can be used to build upon real-world interactions which take place in the same physical space (i.e., collaborative, co-located, multi-user virtual reality).

In this study we address two primary dimensions of collaborative data visualization and analysis as follows: [1] we detail the implementation of a novel co-located VR hardware and software system, [2] we conduct a formal user experience study of the novel system using the NASA Task Load Index (Hart, 1986) and introduce the Modified User Experience Inventory, a new user study inventory based upon the Unified User Experience Inventory, (Tcha-Tokey, Christmann, Loup-Escande, Richir, 2016) to empirically observe the dependent measures of Workload, Presence, Engagement, Consequence, and Immersion. A total of 77 participants volunteered to join a demonstration of this technology at Purdue University. In groups ranging from two to four, participants shared a co-located virtual environment built to visualize point cloud measurements of exploded supernovae. This study is not experimental but observational. We found there to be moderately high levels of user experience and moderate levels of workload demand in our results. We describe the implementation of the software platform and present user reactions to the technology that was created. These are described in detail within this manuscript.

License

CC BY 4.0