The Office of the Future: Virtual, Portable, and Global

Jens Grubert, Eyal Ofek, Michel Pahud, Per Ola Kristensson

IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications | , Vol 38(6): pp. 125-133

Virtual reality has the potential to change the way we work. We envision the future office worker to be able to work productively everywhere solely using portable standard input devices and immersive head-mounted displays. Virtual reality has the potential to enable this, by allowing users to create working environments of their choice and by relieving them from physical world limitations, such as constrained space or noisy environments. In this paper, we investigate opportunities and challenges for realizing this vision and discuss implications from recent findings of text entry in virtual reality as a core office task.

Text Entry in Immersive HMDisplay-based VR using Physical and Touch Keyboards 

We study the performance and user experience of two popular mainstream text entry devices, desktop keyboards, and touchscreen keyboards, for use in Virtual Reality (VR) applications. We discuss the limitations arising from limited visual feedback and examine the efficacy of different use strategies. We analyze a total of 24 hours of typing data in VR from 24 participants and find that novice users are able to retain about 60% of their typing speed on a desktop keyboard and about 40–45% of their typing speed on a touchscreen keyboard. We also find no significant learning effects, indicating that users can transfer their typing skills fast into VR. Besides investigating baseline performances, we study the position in which keyboards and hands are rendered in space. We find that this does not adversely affect performance for desktop keyboard typing and results in a performance trade-o for touchscreen keyboard typing.

Effects of Hand Representations for Type in VR 

In IEEE VR 2018 Alphanumeric text entry is a challenge for Virtual Reality (VR) applications. VR enables new capabilities, impossible in the real world, such as an unobstructed view of the keyboard, without occlusion by the user’s physical hands. Several hand representations have been proposed for typing in VR on standard physical keyboards. However, to date, these hand representations have not been compared regarding their performance and effects on presence for VR text entry. Our work addresses this gap by comparing existing hand representations with minimalistic fingertip visualization. We study the effects of four hand representations (no hand representation, inverse kinematic model, fingertip visualization using spheres and video inlay) on typing in VR using a standard physical keyboard with 24 participants. We found that the fingertip visualization and video inlay both resulted in statistically significant lower text entry error rates compared to no hand or inverse kinematic model representations. We found no statistical differences in text entry speed.