July 2019
Volume 19, Issue 8
Open Access
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   July 2019
Sensitivity to visual gain modulation in head-mounted displays depends on fixation
Author Affiliations
  • Paul MacNeilage
    Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Matthew Moroz
    Neuroscience Program, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Isabelle Garzorz
    Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences, LMU Munich
  • Eelke Folmer
    Department of Computer Science, University of Nevada, Reno
Journal of Vision July 2019, Vol.19, 97. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/19.8.97
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      Paul MacNeilage, Matthew Moroz, Isabelle Garzorz, Eelke Folmer; Sensitivity to visual gain modulation in head-mounted displays depends on fixation. Journal of Vision 2019;19(8):97. https://doi.org/10.1167/19.8.97.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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A primary cause of simulator sickness in head-mounted displays (HMDs) is the rendering of visual scene motion that does not match head motion. Agreement between visual scene motion and head motion can be quantified based on their ratio which we refer to as visual gain. We suggest that it is useful to measure perceptual sensitivity to visual gain modulation in HMDs (i.e. deviation from gain=1) because conditions that minimize this sensitivity may prove less likely to elicit simulator sickness. In prior research, we measured sensitivity to visual gain modulation during slow, passive, full-body yaw rotations and observed that sensitivity was reduced when subjects fixated a head-fixed target compared with when they fixated a scene-fixed target. In the current study, we investigated whether this pattern of results persists when 1) movements are faster, active head turns, and 2) visual stimuli are presented on an HMD rather than on a monitor. Subjects wore an Oculus Rift CV1 HMD and viewed a 3D scene of white points on a black background. On each trial, subjects moved their head from a central position to face a 15 deg eccentric target. During the head movement they fixated a point that was either head-fixed or scene-fixed, depending on condition. They then reported if the gain applied to the visual scene motion was too fast or too slow. Gain on subsequent trials was modulated according to a staircase procedure to find the gain change that was just noticeable. Sensitivity to gain modulation during active head movement was reduced during head-fixed fixation, similar to what we observed during passive whole-body rotation. We conclude that fixation of a head-fixed target is an effective way to reduce sensitivity to visual gain modulation in HMDs, and may also be an effective strategy to reduce susceptibility to simulator sickness.


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