Perceiving simulated ego-motions in virtual reality -comparing large screen displays with HMDs

Bernhard E. Riecke, Jörg Schulte-Pelkum, Heinrich H. Bülthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In Virtual Reality, considerable systematic spatial orientation problems frequently occur that do not happen in comparable real-world situations. This study investigated possible origins of these problems by examining the influence of visual field of view (FOV) and type of display device (head-mounted display (HMD) vs. projection screens) on basic human spatial orientation behavior. In Experiment 1, participants had to reproduce traveled distances and to turn specified target angles in a simple virtual environment without any landmarks that was projected onto a 180° half-cylindrical projection screen. As expected, distance reproduction performance showed only small systematic errors. Turning performance, however, was unexpectedly almost perfect (gain=0.97), with negligible systematic errors and minimal variability, which is unprecedented in the literature. In Experiment 2, turning performance was compared between a projection screen (FOV 84°×63°), an HMD (40°×30°), and blinders (40°×30°) that restricted the FOV on the screen. Performance was best with the screen (gain 0.77) and worst with the HMD (gain 0.57). We found a significant difference between blinders (gain 0.73) and HMD, which indicates that different display devices can influence ego-motion perception differentially, even if the physical FOVs are equal. We conclude that the type of display device (HMD vs. curved projection screen) seems to be more critical than the FOV for the perception of ego-rotations. Furthermore, large, curved projection screens yielded better performance than HMDs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Pages (from-to)344-355
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventProceedings of SPIE-IS and T Electronic Imaging - Human Vision and Electronic Imaging X - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 2005 Jan 172005 Jan 20


  • HMD
  • Motion simulator
  • Navigation
  • Projection screen
  • Psychophysics
  • Self-motion
  • Spatial cognition
  • Virtual Reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceiving simulated ego-motions in virtual reality -comparing large screen displays with HMDs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this