Ben Congdon

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I studied at UCL for my MEng in Computer Science, graduating Summer 2015. I then worked as a software developer in Formula One before starting my PhD with the department March 2016. I'm supervised by Anthony Steed.

Currently I'm working on interaction methods for virtual reality. I'm interested in allowing users to "really walk" around large virtual spaces using a technique called redirected walking. This involves transforming virtual movement to avoid walls and obstacles in the real world. For example, with a sufficiently large physical space we could lead a user in a circular path while they walk in a straight line in a virtual space. This effectively allows us an infinite virtual space when the user does not deviate from the path. Applied sufficiently slowly, the transformation is imperceptible.

Redirected walking has been effectively applied with pre-determined paths, but has been difficult to generalise. Challenges involve reducing the required physical space, currently very large, and gracefully recovering from failure where movement is blocked by real world obstacles, unavoidable in general redirected walking. Cluttered virtual environments also pose a unique challenge as frequent user direction changes degrade redirected walking performance, increasing the likelihood of real world collisions.

I'm also working on collaboration tools for augmented reality. Communication has a spatial component; gesturing, pointing, eye contact and body language are social signals that operate on the assumption of shared physical space. In augmented reality, each user is tied to their own private space, so this poses a challenge. Currently we're looking at creating inter-space mappings, generating the illusion that remote users are operating in local space.

Primary Supervisor: Anthony Steed

Redirected Walking | Virtual Reality | Augmented Reality | Computer Graphics