Researchers Study Gorilla Arm Fatigue in VR Gaming
A group of researchers is studying arm and muscle fatigue related to the use of hand gestures for mid-air computer interaction such as VR and AR gaming.
Study Tries to Find Solutions for Gorilla Arm Fatigue
Moder VR gaming systems require the use of natural motions and gestures in order to virtually control VR user interfaces. This results in fatigue from prolonged use and it is becoming an issue for many players.
“In previous years, all the computer interaction technologies we had included something to support our limbs. But with newer forms of interaction, there is no support. The question now is what the guidelines are to design new interfaces and interaction for such settings.”
Said Karthik Ramani, Professor at the Purdue University.
“Physical ergonomics is an important design factor for mid-air interaction,” Ramani said. “In particular, arm fatigue – the so-called ‘gorilla arm syndrome’ – is known to negatively impact user experience and hamper the prolonged use of mid-air interfaces.”
The study determines an individual’s arm strength and estimates the cumulative subjective fatigue levels of people.
The study used inexpensive depth cameras to sense hand motion and body motion. They are quite inexpensive and effective. 24 participants were asked to hold a dumbbell and hold their arm out horizontally for as long as they could. The camera sensors measured what their arms and hands were doing.
By using endurance time and shoulder torque, the group of researchers determined arm strength with high accuracy. The study was also able to estimate the cumulative subjective fatigue.
Stuerzlinger, a 3D user interfaces expert, the “gorilla arm syndrome” is already an issue with touchscreens, so this is not a problem exclusive to VR and AR systems.
“The results of our work enable user interface designers to predict how fatiguing a specific user interface is, even before a new design is built/realized, which enables the designers to make better decisions around new, proposed 3-D user interfaces,” he said. “This, in turn, will accelerate and lead to the development of better user interface solutions for virtual and augmented reality systems.”
Studies like this one will help developers improve their game design to find relief and better comfort for their players.