Doctoral Dissertation

Mark R. Mine (


Exploiting Proprioception in Virtual-Environment Interaction

Mark Raymond Mine

Doctoral Dissertation

(Under the direction of Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.)

Manipulation in immersive virtual environments is difficult partly because users must do without the haptic contact with real objects they rely on in the real world to orient themselves and the objects they are manipulating. To compensate for this lack, I propose exploiting the one real object every user has in a virtual environment, his body. I present a unified framework for virtual-environment interaction based on proprioception, a person's sense of the position and orientation of his body and limbs. I describe three forms of body-relative interaction:

Automatic scaling is a way to bring objects instantly within reach so that users can manipulate them using proprioceptive cues. Several novel virtual interaction techniques based upon automatic scaling and the proposed framework of proprioception allow a user to interact with a virtual world intuitively, efficiently, precisely, and lazily.

Two formal user studies evaluate key aspects of body-relative interaction. The virtual docking study compares the manipulation of objects co-located with one's hand and the manipulation of objects at a distance. The widget interaction experiment explores the differences between interacting with a widget held in one's hand and interacting with a widget floating in space.

Lessons learned from the integration of body-relative techniques into a real-world system, the Chapel Hill Immersive Modeling Program (CHIMP), are presented and discussed.

Available as:

Mine, Mark (1997). Exploiting Proprioception in Virtual-Environment Interaction., UNC Chapel Hill Computer Science Technical Report TR97-014.

(compressed postscript file)


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Revised: August 16th, 1996 by: Mark R. Mine (