Reducing Head Mounted Display VR Sickness Through Dynamic Field of View Constriction

  • Hashim Yaqub

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Engineering (EngD)


Although virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMD) have been in use since the mid-1960s, the surge in public awareness and access to VR had spurred an increased interest in all industries to investigate the potential of VR as an interaction modality associated with high subjective presence. Many challenges need to be addressed through the disciplined application of research methods, especially combating VR sickness, if this potential is to be realised. This Engineering Doctorate thesis reports a series of investigations within the context of real-world development with a partner company (BMT Defence Service, a naval engineering consultant). The primary interest of the thesis is in the potential of VR for developing cases and uses for this technology in training. The target modality of training was a portable set-up, i.e.\ sitting down with a laptop, HMD and a game controller. This set up would prove beneficial for providing axillary training to personnel who are not always able to receive regular on-board training. It would also prepare people for situations which are difficult to simulate in real-world conditions. Example cases included familiarisation, line of sight tests, hazard recognition and evacuation procedures. An initial study of VR HMD experience in training scenario highlighted VR sickness as a key limiting factor for usability thus focusing the research on identifying and reducing the factors which induce VR sickness. Prior research suggest that static field of view restrictions could help but only at the cost of loss of presence. There were no reported studies of the effects of restricting the field of view dynamically thus this thesis presents two investigations of dynamic Field of View (FOV) constriction triggered by movement in a virtual space. It was hypothesised that a reduction in FOV reduced the induction of VR sickness. The problem with doing so however was that it may negatively influence presence as the change in FOV could distract the user. This thesis reports the development of a method for adjusting FOV to reduce simulator VR without loss of presence. Two dynamic FOV constriction studies are reported. The first failed to demonstrate a clear effect but subjective user reports suggested methodological and experiential issues in its design. Meanwhile, research into a similar method was published at the 3DUI Symposium at IEEE VR 2016. Fernandes \& Feiner (2016) \cite{DynamicFOV_Feiner16}, who demonstrated that dynamic FOV constriction can reduce VR sickness without compromising presence. However, their work used interaction scenarios with normal walking in an unchallenging virtual environment. Users were not subject to the types of motion which literature suggests are most likely to induce sickness. Consequently, the second DFOV constriction study tested VR sickness reduction in more discomforting situations via involuntary movements and animations on the virtual character and camera. Many of these animations and movements are typical in first-person applications and yet are absent from VR applications. These include for example head-bobbing, falling animations, stumbling, and forward rolls. The aim was to test whether DFOV constriction could allow VR developers to include such facets in future development. It showed that extreme movements still generate VR sickness, despite the use of DFOV constriction, but subjective reports suggest some users appear to benefit. Further research is recommended on introducing user control to the extent of DFOV manipulation. The thesis concludes with an evaluation of the state-of-the-art in DFOV constriction as a general approach to immersive VR interactions, including how the human vestibular system may limit DFOV effectiveness as a means of controlling VR sickness.
Date of Award13 Jun 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SponsorsBMT Group
SupervisorLeon Watts (Supervisor) & Paul Shepherd (Supervisor)


  • VR
  • Sickness
  • Presence
  • Simulation
  • Cybersickness
  • HMD

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