This Article 
 Bibliographic References 
 Add to: 
The Effect on Lower Spine Muscle Activation of Walking on a Narrow Beam in Virtual Reality
February 2011 (vol. 17 no. 2)
pp. 255-259
Angus Antley, University College London, London
Mel Slater, (ICREA) Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona
To what extent do people behave in immersive virtual environments as they would in similar situations in a physical environment? There are many ways to address this question, ranging from questionnaires, behavioral studies, and the use of physiological measures. Here, we compare the onsets of muscle activity using surface electromyography (EMG) while participants were walking under three different conditions: on a normal floor surface, on a narrow ribbon along the floor, and on a narrow platform raised off the floor. The same situation was rendered in an immersive virtual environment (IVE) Cave-like system, and 12 participants did the three types of walking in a counter-balanced within-groups design. The mean number of EMG activity onsets per unit time followed the same pattern in the virtual environment as in the physical environment—significantly higher for walking on the platform compared to walking on the floor. Even though participants knew that they were in fact really walking at floor level in the virtual environment condition, the visual illusion of walking on a raised platform was sufficient to influence their behavior in a measurable way. This opens up the door for this technique to be used in gait and posture related scenarios including rehabilitation.

[1] A. Noë, Action In Perception. Bradford Book, 2004.
[2] C. Cruz-Neira et al., "The CAVE: Audio Visual Experience Automatic Virtual Environment," Comm. ACM, vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 64-72, 1992.
[3] C. Cruz-Neira, D.J. Sandin, and T.A. DeFanti, "Surround-Screen Projection-Based Virtual Reality: The Design and Implementation of the CAVE," Proc. 20th Ann. Conf. Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, pp. 135-142, 1993.
[4] M. Slater, "Place Illusion and Plausibility Can Lead to Realistic Behaviour in Immersive Virtual Environments," Philosophical Trans. Royal Soc., vol. 364, pp. 3549-3557, 2009.
[5] R.M. Held and N.I. Durlach, "Telepresence," Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 109-112, 1992.
[6] W. Barfield and S. Weghorst, "The Sense of Presence Within Virtual Environments: A Conceptual Framework," Human-Computer Interaction: Software and Hardware Interfaces, G. Salvendy and M. Smith, eds., pp. 699-704, Elsevier Publisher, 1993.
[7] T.B. Sheridan, "Musings on Telepresence and Virtual Presence," Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 120-126, 1992.
[8] T.B. Sheridan, "Further Musings on the Psychophysics of Presence," Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 241-246, 1996.
[9] J.V. Draper, D.B. Kaber, and J.M. Usher, "Telepresence," Human Factors, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 354-375, 1998.
[10] M.V. Sanchez-Vives and M. Slater, "From Presence to Consciousness through Virtual Reality," Nature Rev. Neuroscience, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 332-339, 2005.
[11] M. Minsky, "Telepresence," Omni, vol. 2, pp. 45-52, 1980.
[12] D.P. Pertaub, M. Slater, and C. Barker, "An Experiment on Public Speaking Anxiety in Response to Three Different Types of Virtual Audience," Presence-Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 68-78, 2002.
[13] M. Meehan et al., "Effect of Latency on Presence in Stressful Virtual Environments," Proc. IEEE Virtual Reality Conf., pp. 141-148, 2003.
[14] M. Meehan et al., "Physiological Measures of Presence in Stressful Virtual Environments," ACM Trans. Graphics, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 645-652, 2002.
[15] M. Slater et al., "Visual Realism Enhances Realistic Response in an Immersive Virtual Environment," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 76-84, May 2009.
[16] M. Slater et al., "Analysis of Physiological Responses to a Social Situation in an Immersive Virtual Environment," Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 553-569, 2006.
[17] M. Slater et al., "A Virtual Reprise of the Stanley Milgram Obedience Experiments," PLoS ONE, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. e39. Dec. 2006, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000039.
[18] B. Bideau et al., "Real Handball Goalkeeper vs. Virtual Handball Thrower," Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 411-421, 2003.
[19] J. Jordan and M. Slater, "An Analysis of Eye Scan Path Entropy in a Progressively Forming Virtual Environment," Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 185-199, 2009.
[20] R. Di Fabio, "Reliability of Computerized Surface Electromyography for Determining the Onset of Muscle Activity," Physical Therapy, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 43-8, 1987.
[21] C. De Luca, "The Use of Surface Electromyography in Biomechanics," J. Applied Biomechanics, vol. 13, pp. 135-163, 1997.
[22] M. Carrozzino et al., "Lowering the Development Time of Multimodal Interactive Application: The Real-Life Experience of the XVR Project," Proc. ACM SIGCHI Int'l Conf. Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, pp. 270-273, 2005.
[23] A. Bera and C. Jarque, "Efficient Tests for Normality, Homoscedasticity and Serial Independence of Regression Residuals: Monte Carlo Evidence," Economics Letters, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 313-318, 1981.
[24] K.P. Kording and D.M. Wolpert, "Bayesian Integration in Sensorimotor Learning," Nature, vol. 427, no. 6971, pp. 244-247, Jan. 2004.
[25] M. Usoh et al., "Walking > Walking-in-Place > Flying, in Virtual Environments," Proc. 26th Ann. Conf. Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, pp. 359-364, 1999.
[26] H. Sveistrup, "Motor Rehabilitation Using Virtual Reality," J. NeuroEng. Rehabilitation, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 10, 2004.
[27] M.K. Holden, "Virtual Environments for Motor Rehabilitation: Review," Cyberpsychology & Behavior, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 187-211, 2005.

Index Terms:
Information technology and systems, multimedia information systems, artificial, augmented, and virtual realities, evaluation/methodology.
Angus Antley, Mel Slater, "The Effect on Lower Spine Muscle Activation of Walking on a Narrow Beam in Virtual Reality," IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 255-259, Feb. 2011, doi:10.1109/TVCG.2010.26
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.