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Wired Features Evan Suma and Redirected Walking

August 21, 2015

An article in Wired covered redirected walking research and the potential for virtual reality to allow people to explore immersive virtual spaces—like buildings or even whole cities—on foot in head-mounted displays.

“This problem of how you move around when in VR is one of the big unsolved problems of the VR community,” said Evan Suma.

The article noted that Suma has taken advantage of a phenomenon called change blindness: If we don’t see an object move, we don’t really notice its position change. For example, he rearranges the virtual world behind a participant’s back by rotating the location of a door by 90 degrees. It states that he tested 77 participants who each went through a dozen such rotated doors—and only one person noticed anything funky going on. By using this technique of rotating doors, he’s able to create a virtual building of several thousand by several thousand feet in a 16 by 16 room.