Natural Interaction Metaphors


A typical Natural Interaction application with a user interacting with a virtual mirror in a CAVE.

Natural Interaction in virtual environments is a key requirement for the virtual validation of functional aspects in automotive product development processes. Natural Interaction is the metaphor people encounter in reality: the direct manipulation of objects by their hands. To enable this kind of Natural Interaction, we propose a pseudo-physical metaphor that is both plausible enough to provide realistic interaction and robust enough to meet the needs of industrial applications. Our analysis of the most common types of objects in typical automotive scenarios guided the development of a set of refined grasping heuristics to support robust finger-based interaction of multiple hands and users. The objects’ behavior in reaction to the users’ finger motions is based on pseudo-physical simulations, which also take various types of constrained objects into account. In dealing with real-world scenarios, we had to introduce the concept of Normal Proxies, which extend objects with appropriate normals for improved grasp detection and grasp stability. An expert review revealed that our interaction metaphors allow for an intuitive and reliable assessment of several functionalities of objects found in a car interior. Follow-up user studies showed that overall task performance and usability are similar for CAVE- and HMD-environments. For larger objects and more gross manipulation, using the CAVE without employing a virtual hand representation is preferred, but for more fine-grained manipulation and smaller objects the HMD turns out to be beneficial.

Papers and Documents

Moehring, M., Froehlich, B.
Natural Interaction Metaphors for Functional Validations of Virtual Car Models
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG), Accepted Manuskript.