Input Method for Mobile Virtual Reality Headsets

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Mobile VR platforms (standalone or smartphone VR adapters) have a large potential to bring virtual reality to the masses due to their low cost. Input options of mobile VR platforms however are often limited to controller input or input using headtracking. Building immersive experiences using limited interaction options is a challenge. Navigation is considered an essential task in VR but using a controller for navigation offers a low presence and often leads to VR sickness.



Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have developed an input method that allows for using walking-in -place to navigate a virtual environment. Our technology accurately detects steps in real-time using a smartphone's inertial sensors. Our input technique offers a handsfree low-cost alternative to a controller that is easy to learn and offers a higher presence. Most importantlly the use of walking-in-place generates vestibular & proprioceptive afferents, which minimize or avoid visual-vestibular conflict, which is a major cause of VR sickness.



  • High presence. Walking is most natural to us and thus it offers a higher presence while users can learn to use our input technique with little effort.
  • VR sickness reduction. We have empirical evidence that our input technique minimizes VR sickness when compared to using a controller (evidence available as peer reviewed publications in the top conferences in human-computer interaction). Low cost. Our input technique only relies on inertial sensors which are ubiquitous in current smartphones. Our input method has a very low computational overhead and does not impede framerate on any VR applications.
  • Handsfree. Our input method is handsfree which in conjunction with a controller allows for locomotion while users can still use a controller to interact with the VR world. 
  • Integrable. Positional tracking is available on some high end VR headsets and offers the highest presence but this doesn't allow for navigating large virtual environments due to tracking space constraints. Our locomotion technique can be used in conjunction with positional tracking allowing for users to seamlessly switch between real walking and walking in place to navigate at scale.


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Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Cara Baird
Licensing Associate
University of Nevada, Reno
Eelke Folmer
Samuel Tregillus