WalkingVibe | Portfolio | SH Liu | rarakasm


CHI '20 Paper
Reducing virtual reality sickness and improving realism while walking in VR using unobtrusive head-mounted vibrotactile feedback


Virtual Reality (VR) sickness is common with symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and disorientation, and is a major barrier to using VR. We propose WalkingVibe, which applies unobtrusive vibrotactile feedback for VR walking experiences, and also reduces VR sickness and discomfort while improving realism. Feedback is delivered through two small vibration motors behind the ears at a frequency that strikes a balance in inducing vestibular response while minimizing annoyance.

We conducted a 240-person study to explore how visual, audio, and various tactile feedback designs affect the locomotion experience of users walking passively in VR while seated statically in reality. Results showed timing and location for tactile feedback have significant effects on VR sickness and realism.

With WalkingVibe, 2-sided step-synchronized design significantly reduces VR sickness and discomfort while significantly improving realism. Furthermore, its unobtrusiveness and ease of integration make WalkingVibe a practical approach for improving VR experiences with new and existing VR headsets.


  • 3rd author
  • Idea brainstorming
  • Software prototyping: Unity VR scenes, camera oscillation, GUI for experiment operation
  • User studies design
  • Assisted in user study of 240 participants


Thanks Prof. Mike Y Chen and Prof. Neng-Hao Yu for their ideation, funding and supervision of the project; Yi-Hao Peng and Carolyn Yu (1st, 2nd author) for their primary contributions to the work.