Factors affecting embodied interaction in virtual environments: familiarity, ethics and scale
Al-Attili, Aghlab Ismat
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The thesis explores human embodiment in 3D Virtual environments as a means of enhancing interaction. I aim to provide a better understanding of embodied interaction in digital environments in general. 3D interactive virtual environments challenge users to question aspects of their embodiment by providing new modes for interacting with space. Designers are facing new challenges that require novel means of interacting with virtual environments that do not simply mirror the way we interact within physical environments. Much of the research in the field aims to show how such environments can be made more familiar and "realistic" to users. This thesis attempts to probe the unfamiliar aspects of the medium. In this thesis I explore the concept, image and object of intimate space. How can an understanding of intimate space inform embodied interaction with virtual environments? I also investigate the role of familiarity by analysing and testing it in two contrasting interactive virtual environments. My contribution is to provide an account of familiarity as the driver behind embodied interaction in virtual environments based on human experience (from a phenomenological standpoint). In order to enhance the process of design for human embodied interaction in 3D virtual environments or in physical environments, I will identify tangible and intangible elements that affect human embodiment in 3D virtual environments and space, such as ethics and scale. Both examples are explored in interactive 3D virtual environments corresponding to real physical environments by subjects who are the daily users of the real physical environments. The thesis presents scale as a tangible element and ethics as an intangible element of human embodied interaction in space in order to highlight the different aspects that affect human engagement with space, and therefore human perception of their space and their embodiment. The Subjects’ accounts contribute toward informing the design of interactive 3D virtual environments within the context of embodied interaction.