Maximilian Landeck is a student in the HCI Group at the University of Würzburg, and he presented a poster at IEEE VR conference investigating the impacts of avatar embodiment on virtual fitness training. He was initially interested in seeing whether or not the fidelity of the avatar from photorealistic to stylized and from human-like to not human-like had an impact on their performance in a virtual fitness scenario.
He used a Kinect to capture the movements of the participant’s bodies, and the projected that onto a screen so that it was mirroring their movements. He found that the human-like avatars invoked the virtual body ownership illusion more than the non-humanoid avatars such as having spheres for hands. He didn’t find any significant difference in performance based upon the fidelity of the avatars, but he did find that the non-realistic avatars that looked stronger and more fit avatars had participants report that they felt like they had more power. This is a surprising result that he intends on exploring more in future research.
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