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Seminar: Robert Teather

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Virtual reality (VR) has recently become popular again with the release of low-cost and effective consumer-grade head-mounted displays such as the Oculus Rift. The longstanding dream of VR has users interacting with virtual objects as naturally as real ones. In practice, despite technological advances, numerous technical and human factors make this difficult. Modern VR interaction continues to employ naturally-inspired interaction techniques that have changed little since their introduction in the late 80s. Similarly, cybersickness and the lack of tactile feedback when interacting with virtual objects are well-known to limit the effectiveness of VR systems, yet these issues persist today.

In this talk, I will discuss my research addressing these three interrelated areas of virtual reality interaction. I will first describe my studies comparing 3D selection interfaces between 3D and desktop systems, and my work in extending a standardized methodology to support fair and direct comparison between these two different modalities. I will then discuss my research group's recent work employing this standardized methodology for evaluating novel 3D selection methods, as well as other projects aimed at enhancing the usability of VR systems through evaluating the effectiveness of cybersickness reduction techniques and novel approaches to VR haptics that employ shape-changing devices and perceptual illusions.


Robert J. Teather is an assistant professor in the School of Information Technology at Carleton University. Dr. Teather’s research specialization is primarily in 3D user interfaces for virtual reality. He holds a PhD and MSc in Computer Science (York University), as well as a BSc in Computer Science (Brock University). His PhD work focused on developing standardized methods for the empirical comparison of input devices for 3D interaction – primarily in order to compare mouse and 3D tracker-based input. To this end, Dr. Teather has established himself as an expert in comparing drastically different input devices and interaction techniques for common fundamental interaction tasks in VR (e.g., target selection), across varying system configurations (e.g., display properties such as stereo graphics, or system properties such as latency). His research is supported by NSERC and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Dr. Teather has served as the technical program chair for both the ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction (SUI 2016, 2017) and the IEEE Virtual Reality Conference (Conference Papers track, formerly IEEE 3DUI 2017–2019). More recently, he was the general chair of the ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST) in Fall 2020. He has also served on several conference program committees, such as the ACM CHI Conference (games subcommittee), IEEE VR/3DUI, Graphics Interface, and the ACM Virtual Reality Software & Technology Symposium (VRST). He has helped organize several events, serving on organizing committees for the IEEE Virtual Reality (VR) conference, and the ACM CHI Conference in various roles. He has served as a reviewer for many more.