Virtual Reality for Palmtop Computers

George Fitzmaurice, Shumin Zhai, Mark Chignell

ACM Transactions on Information Systems


We are exploring how virtual reahty theories can be applied toward palmtop computers. In our prototype, called the Chameleon, a small 4-inch hand-held monitor acts as a palmtop computer with the capabihties of a Silicon graphics workstation. A 6D input device and a response button are attached to tbe small monitor to detect user gestures and input selections for issuing commands. An experiment was conducted to evaluate our design and to see how well depth could be perceived in the small screen compared to a large 21-inch screen, and the extent to which movement of the small display (in a palmtop virtual reality condition) could improve depth perception, Results show that with very little training, perception of depth in the palmtop virtual reality condition is about as good as corresponding depth perception in a large (but static) display. Variations to the initial design are also discussed, along with issues to be explored in future research, Our research suggests that palmtop virtual reality may support effective navigation and search and retrieval, in rich and portable information spaces.

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