Faculty Advisor

Robert W. Lindeman

Faculty Advisor

Charles Rich

Faculty Advisor

Craig E. Wills



Three dimensional travel in immersive virtual environments (IVE) has been a difficult problem since the beginning of virtual reality (VR), basically due to the difficulty of designing an intuitive, efficient, and precise three degrees of freedom (DOF) interface which can map the user's finite local movements in the real world to a potentially infinite virtual space. Inspired by the Silver Surfer Sci-Fi movie and the popularity of the Nintendo Wii Balance Board interface, a surfboard interface appears to be a good solution to this problem. Based on this idea, I designed and developed a VR Silver Surfer system which allows a user to surf in the sky of an infinite virtual environment, using either an isometric balance board or an elastic tilt board. Although the balance board is the industrial standard of board interface, the tilt board seems to provide the user more intuitive, realistic and enjoyable experiences, without any sacrifice of efficiency or precision.

To validate this hypothesis we designed and conducted a user study that compared the two board interfaces in three independent experiments that break the travel procedure into separate DOFs. The results showed that in all experiments, the tilt board was not only as efficient and precise as the balance board, but also more intuitive, realistic and fun. In addition, despite the popularity of the balance board in the game industry, most subjects in the study preferred the tilt board in general, and in fact complained that the balance board could have been the cause of possible motion sickness. "


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Computer Science

Project Type


Date Accepted





3D user interface, position control, rate control, travel, surfboard, elastic, isometric, virtual reality