Consumer virtual reality systems are now becoming widely available. We report on a study on presence and embodiment within virtual reality that was conducted `in the wild', in that data was collected from devices owned by consumers in uncontrolled settings, not in a traditional laboratory setting. Users of Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard devices were invited by web pages and email invitation to download and run an app that presented a scenario where the participant would sit in a bar watching a singer. Each participant saw one of eight variations of the scenario: with or without a self-avatar; singer inviting the participant to tap along or not; singer looking at the participant or not. Despite the uncontrolled situation of the experiment, results from an in-app questionnaire showed tentative evidence that a self-avatar had a positive effect on self-report of presence and embodiment, and that the singer inviting the participant to tap along had a negative effect on self-report of embodiment. We discuss the limitations of the study and the platforms, and the potential for future open virtual reality experiments.
Title: An 'In the Wild' Experiment on Presence and Embodiment using Consumer Virtual Reality Equipment
Publication: Proceedings IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 22(4):1406-1414 | full text (PDF)