Force Push: Exploring Expressive Gesture-to-Force Mapping

Most 3D manipulation techniques directly map the position of the user’s hand to the position of a virtual object, but this “natural” metaphor is not without its limitations. We present Force Push, a hyper-natural gesture-to-action mapping for object manipulation in virtual reality (VR). It maps hand gestures derived from human-human interaction to physics-driven movement of an object. Force Push maps quantitative features of dynamic gestures to the properties of the physics-based simulation, so both coarse-grained ballistic movement and fine-tuned precise movement are achieved naturally. We hypothesized that Force Push would result in a fun and magical user experience while still providing good task performance. An initial user study of a limited translation task showed that it was perceived as more natural and fun to use, even though its controllability and accuracy were inferior to direct control. Direct control outperformed Force Push when the initial distance between the object and the target was close relative to the required accuracy; however, the gesture-based method began to show promising results when they were far away from each other. We discuss the potential uses for hyper-natural gestures and physics-based techniques in VR applications.