Google Patent | Context Sensitive Hand Collisions In Virtual Reality

Patent: Context Sensitive Hand Collisions In Virtual Reality

Publication Number: 10599211

Publication Date: 20200324

Applicants: Google

Abstract

In one aspect, a method and system are described for receiving input for a virtual user in a virtual environment. The input may be based on a plurality of movements performed by a user accessing the virtual environment. Based on the plurality of movements, the method and system can include detecting that at least one portion of the virtual user is within a threshold distance of a collision zone, the collision zone being associated with at least one virtual object. The method and system can also include selecting a collision mode for the virtual user based on the at least one portion and the at least one virtual object and dynamically modifying the virtual user based on the selected collision mode.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This description generally relates to the use of computing devices in a virtual reality (VR) environment. In particular, this description relates to techniques for handling collisions in a VR environment.

BACKGROUND

In general, virtual reality can surround and immerse a person in a computer-generated, three-dimensional (3D) environment. The person can enter this environment by interacting with and/or physically wearing specific electronic devices. Example electronic devices can include, but are not limited to, a helmet that includes a screen, glasses or goggles that a user looks through when viewing a screen (e.g., a display device or monitor), gloves fitted with sensors, and external handheld devices that include sensors. Once the person enters the VR environment, the person can interact with the 3D environment in a way (e.g., a physical way) that seems real to the person.

SUMMARY

A system of one or more computers can be configured to perform particular operations or actions by virtue of having software, firmware, hardware, or a combination of them installed on the system that in operation causes or cause the system to perform the actions. One or more computer programs can be configured to perform particular operations or actions by virtue of including instructions that, when executed by data processing apparatus, cause the apparatus to perform the actions.

In one general aspect, a computer-implemented method includes a computer-implemented method. The method may include receiving input for a virtual user in a virtual environment. The input may be based on a plurality of movements performed by a user accessing the virtual environment. The method may also include detecting that at least one portion of the virtual user is within a threshold distance of a collision zone based on the plurality of movements. The collision zone may be associated with at least one virtual object. The method may also include selecting a collision mode for the virtual user based on the at least one portion and the at least one virtual object, and dynamically modifying the virtual user based on the selected collision mode. Other embodiments of this aspect include corresponding computer systems, apparatus, and computer programs recorded on one or more computer storage devices, each configured to perform the actions of the methods.

Implementations may include one or more of the following features. The method may also include adjusting the collision zone to align with the modified virtual user. The adjusting may include providing a plurality of viewable targets in the collision zone in which to receive the input. The plurality of viewable targets may be associated with the selected collision mode. The input may include a hover movement proximate to the at least one virtual object and the threshold distance includes about one half to about one inches from the at least one virtual object.

The method may also include determining that the virtual environment is providing scrollable content, selecting a palm-based collision mode, and configuring the content to be scrolled in response to receiving a palm gesture initiated by a hand of the user. Dynamically modifying the virtual user may include modifying a portion of the virtual user corresponding to providing input in the virtual environment. Modifying the portion may also include detecting that the input includes finger movements and the portion includes one or more virtual fingers, and extending a reach of the one or more virtual fingers into the collision zone. The extending may include adapting the virtual user to interact with a virtual object that is shown within a threshold distance to the one or more virtual fingers in the virtual environment. Dynamically modifying the virtual user may include providing at least one of a visual response, an audio response, or a haptic response to the user. The method may also include providing at least one context-sensitive collision zone based at least in part on the selected collision mode, where the collision mode is configured as a fine collision mode if the context of the collision zone is configured to receive finger gestures and where the collision mode is configured as a coarse collision mode if the context of the collision zone is configured to receive interactive hand gestures. The context-sensitive collision zone may be provided based on a size associated with the collision zone. The context-sensitive collision zone may be provided based on a size associated with the at least one virtual object in the virtual environment. Implementations of the described techniques may include hardware, a method or process, or computer software on a computer-accessible medium.

A system of one or more computers can be configured to perform particular operations or actions by virtue of having software, firmware, hardware, or a combination of them installed on the system that in operation causes or cause the system to perform the actions. One or more computer programs can be configured to perform particular operations or actions by virtue of including instructions that, when executed by data processing apparatus, cause the apparatus to perform the actions. One general aspect includes a system including an electronic computing device generating a virtual reality experience in a virtual reality environment, the electronic computing device being portable within a physical space, a plurality of sensors in communication with the electronic computing device, the sensors configured to detect motion associated with a user accessing the electronic computing device within the physical space, and at least one processor. The processor may be configured to detect a movement in the virtual reality environment, the movement being performed by a physical user, the movement being represented in the virtual environment and associated with a body part of the physical user. In response to determining that the virtual object is configured to receive input in an area on the virtual object that is smaller than the body part, the system may be configured to select a collision mode to modify a selection capability with the body part. The at least one processor may be configured to display, on a representation of the body part in the virtual environment, the modified selection capability and maintain the selected collision mode until detecting movement associated with a different virtual object.

Implementations may include one or more of the following features. The processor may be configured to display, on a representation of the body part in the virtual environment, the modified selection capability includes configuring the body part to glow, vibrate, move, grow, or shrink, the display indicating to the physical user a mechanism in which to interact with the virtual object.

In some implementations, the virtual object is a keyboard, the body part is a hand, the collision mode is selected to shrink a fingertip area of the hand, and the representation of the body part includes an indicator on each finger. In some implementations, the collision mode is selected from the group consisting of a full hand mode, a whole arm mode, a finger mode, a whole body mode, and a keyboard mode, each mode including a fine and a coarse configuration.

Implementations of the described techniques may include hardware, a method or process, or computer software on a computer-accessible medium. In another general aspect, a non-transitory computer readable medium containing instructions that, when executed by a processor of a computer system, cause the computer system to receive input for a virtual user in a virtual environment, the input being based on a plurality of movements performed by a user accessing the virtual environment. The instructions may also include detecting that at least one portion of the virtual user is within a threshold distance of a collision zone based on the plurality of movements. The collision zone may be associated with at least one virtual object. The instructions may also include selecting a collision mode for the virtual user based on the at least one portion of the virtual user being within the threshold distance of the collision zone and dynamically modifying the virtual user based on the selected collision mode.

Implementations may include one or more of the following features. The instructions may include adjusting the collision zone to align with the modified virtual user. The adjusting may include providing a plurality of viewable targets in the collision zone in which to receive the input, the plurality of viewable targets being associated with the selected collision mode. In some implementations, the input includes a hover movement and the threshold distance includes about one half to about one inches from the at least one virtual object.

In some implementations, dynamically modifying the virtual user includes modifying a portion of the virtual user corresponding to providing input in the virtual environment. In some implementations, dynamically modifying the virtual user further includes detecting that the input includes finger movements and the portion includes one or more virtual fingers and extending a reach of the one or more virtual fingers into the collision zone. The extending may include adapting the virtual user to interact with a virtual object that is shown within a threshold distance to the one or more virtual fingers in the virtual environment.

The instructions may include providing at least one context-sensitive collision zone based at least in part on the selected collision mode. The collision mode may be configured as a fine collision mode if the context of the collision zone is configured to receive finger gestures and wherein the collision mode is configured as a coarse collision mode if the context of the collision zone is configured to receive interactive hand gestures. Other embodiments of this aspect include corresponding computer systems, apparatus, and computer programs recorded on one or more computer storage devices, each configured to perform the actions of the methods.

The details of one or more implementations are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an example system providing context sensitive collision interaction in a 3D virtual reality (VR)* environment*

FIG. 2 is a diagram that illustrates a user interacting with a computing device.

FIGS. 3A-3C are diagrams that illustrate images that the user can view on a screen of a head-mounted display (HMD) device.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart diagramming one embodiment of a process to provide context sensitive collisions in a VR environment.

FIG. 5 shows an example of a computer device and a mobile computer device that can be used to implement the techniques described here.

Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A computer-generated virtual reality (VR) environment can create an immersive experience for a user by generating virtual space and virtual objects that allow the user to interact with (e.g., reach into) the virtual space as if to interact with physical objects. In general, the VR environment can provide a user with a number of mechanisms with which to interact with virtual space and virtual objects. The mechanisms can include physical devices configured to sense particular user movement, such as wearable items housing electronics (e.g., head mounted devices, gloves, bodysuits, ocular cameras, etc.), sensors, and other devices that allow the user to provide input into the VR environment. In some implementations, the user can lean (e.g., move) toward or into objects in the VR environment. Leaning can include some or all of a body part or portion. For example, a user can hover his hand near (within a threshold distance of) an object in the VR environment and system 100 can detect the hover/nearness of user’s hand. Hovering may include pausing in the air proximate to an object as if being suspended in the air proximate (e.g., within a threshold distance) to the object for a threshold amount of time. Hovering can include a time-based component and a distance-based component. For example, a user can hover over a virtual object for about 1 to about 3 seconds of time and can hover within about one inch to about three inches from the virtual object. In general, the system can detect a hover and use the detected hover as a mechanism with which to trigger menus, actions, or output associated with particular objects within a threshold distance of the user’s hand.

If the user wishes to interact with the VR environment, he or she may reach toward virtual objects in the VR environment using one or more fingers, hands, arms, feet, legs, and the like. Such a reach (e.g., movement) may be detected as input in which to simulate movement of virtual objects and modifications to the VR environment. In some implementations, portions of the user’s body can be rendered for display in the VR environment and the systems and methods described herein can receive user input when the user moves such portions. The user input provided into the VR environment can be interpreted as collisions occurring between virtual objects and other rendered VR content or objects. The systems and methods described herein can be configured to detect such collisions and determine how the VR environment may respond to a user regarding the detected collisions. The response to detected collisions in the VR environment can include any combination of a visual response, an audio response, and/or a haptic response, as described in detail below.

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an example system 100 providing context sensitive collision interaction in a 3D virtual reality (VR) environment. In general, the system 100 may provide the 3D VR environment and VR content using the methods, components, and techniques described herein. In particular, system 100 can provide the user with intuitive responses to movements (e.g., interactions) associated with the user and/or virtual objects within the VR environment. In some implementations, the system 100 can modify portions of a virtual user based on which portion is selected (by a physical user) to interact with the VR environment. For example, a user may be interacting in the VR environment by reaching for and picking up blocks. The user may grab the blocks and stack the blocks. The user’s fingers, palms, forearms, and possibly other arm or portions may trigger collisions and affect the physical world. This enables the user to accurately grab items in the hands of the user, or push the items with a realistic experience. System 100 can detect which portion is likely to interact with the (virtual) blocks first and can block other collisions with other body parts. In another example, the system 100 can extend the reach of the fingers and hands as they near the virtual blocks because the system 100 can detect that the user intends to collide with virtual objects using hands.

System 100 can be configured to provide a VR environment housing virtual objects with interactive and context-sensitive targets. As used herein, a target may refer to a control area for receiving input from a user. The control area can be any shape and size and can be modified by the VR environment depending on detected user input or context of how a user is interacting with the control area. The input may refer to physical user input such as a hand movement, a finger movement, or other physical movement through physical space, etc. The input may result in triggering movement in virtual objects in the VR environment, including interacting (e.g., colliding) with the virtual objects to move, modify, or otherwise affect some aspect of the virtual object. In response to detecting user input, the system 100 can perform an action associated with objects or content in the VR environment.

Context-sensitive targets can take into account a number of details about the user before performing an action associated with objects or content in the VR environment. For example, context-sensitive targets may be configured and/or operated based at least in part on user-specific information, user movement information, virtual object information, VR environment information, and/or other VR based information. The terms target and context-sensitive target may be used interchangeably throughout this disclosure and either term may apply to context-sensitive targets.

In general, targets can be selected by a user controlling movements (e.g., as a rendered virtual user) in the VR environment. The systems and methods described herein can also be configured to dynamically modify the rendered user, in response to detecting a portion of the rendered user near or on a target. For example, when the user begins to lean (e.g., hover) toward a virtual object (associated with one or more targets) presented in the VR environment, the system 100 can detect the movement and display a number of selectable areas (e.g., targets) within the VR environment that the user can pass through to trigger immediate or near immediate action (e.g., functionality). In particular, in response to determining a collision may be about to occur, the system 100 can respond by providing one or more context-sensitive targets and/or by dynamically modifying portions of the rendered user (or other item performing selections in the VR environment) to assist the user in selecting a context-sensitive target.

The dynamic modifications can be performed by system 100 to allow precise selection of targets. In some implementations, the dynamic modifications can be performed by system 100 to indicate to a user which portion of the user’s body part (or other virtual object associated with user input) is configured to interact with the VR environment. For example, as the user reaches into the VR environment toward a target, the system 100 may determine which portion of the body part (e.g., finger, whole hand, palm, elbow, foot, etc.) is likely to collide with the target, and can dynamically provide a visual, audio, or haptic effect on the determined portion. This can ensure that the user understands which portion of the user’s body will be making a selection (or performing an action) in the VR environment. In addition, the system 100 can dynamically modify a portion of a body part to ensure the portion can interact with (e.g., reach) fine small targets. For example, the system 100 could extend and narrow a rendered index finger of the virtual user to ensure the index finger collides with a small target before any other portion of the user’s hand collides with the target. In another example, the system 100 can broaden a rendered hand of the virtual user to mimic a broad hand swipe that can be used to move large objects in the VR environment. In particular, a large target may be triggered to switch between applications on a screen in the VR environment. The trigger for the large target may be five fingers and a swipe across the application. If the user uses four fingers because he is missing a digit or one digit is not in line with the other digits, the system 100 can detect the missing or misaligned digit and can broaden the hand swipe in order to trigger the target to switch applications.

In general, the system 100 can analyze user interactions in the VR environment to determine a context for particular collisions between the virtual objects and the user (as the user is rendered in the VR environment). The detection can be used to provide the user with a response that is directed to a desired intent for the user. For example, when the user attempts to grasp (e.g., reaches for) a virtual object with a hand, the hand begins to approach a user interface surface that can react in a number of different ways. The system 100 can determine which (VR environment-based) reaction matches the intent for the user and can react according to that intent.

For example, the system 100 can be configured to react to an extended hand of the user (or other user-based interaction) and the reaction can be based at least in part on the direction of the extended hand, the virtual object being reached for by the hand, the size of the virtual object, or other factor relevant to the VR environment. In this example, as the user (or user’s hand) approaches the user interface surface, the systems and methods herein may determine whether precise object selection or less precise object selection is appropriate for the virtual object. In particular, if the virtual object is typically associated with precise, tactile interaction and control, such as a floating keyboard or a list of items in a menu, the system 100 can dynamically modify at least one portion of the user’s hand to ensure the hand can properly activate the intended virtual object collision. For example, the user may be typing on a keyboard in the VR environment and system 100 can provide visual, audio, or haptic feedback to the user as the user types on the keyboard. In a non-limiting example, as the user types, each finger that contacts the keyboard can be made to glow before and during contact. Similarly, the system 100 can provide a click or vibration to the user’s finger each time the user selects a key on the keyboard.

In some implementations, the system 100 may be configured to provide feedback to the user before or during collisions to avoid a scenario in which the user reaches an entire hand into a target and along the way, a finger collides/triggers one or more targets in which the user did not intend to collide. This scenario may be due, in part, to distances in VR interactions being difficult to judge accurately by the user. In addition, malfunctions (loss of accuracy) of a hand tracking system can occur if sensors fail or are negatively affected by environmental settings (e.g., lighting, spacial distortion, etc.). The system 100 can dynamically modify rendered objects (e.g., users) and virtual objects and associated virtual content to provide feedback to the user to avoid providing a frustrating user experience, a loss of a sense of presence, a decrease of perceived product excellence, and to avoid possible data loss or other measurable negative consequence for the user.

The example system 100 includes a plurality of computing devices that can exchange data over a network 101. The devices may represent clients or servers and can communicate via network 101, or other network. The client devices may include a gaming device or control, a mobile device, an electronic tablet, a laptop, a camera, VR glasses, or other such electronic device that may be used to access VR content.

As shown in FIG. 1, the system 100 includes a mobile device 102, a laptop computing device 104, a head mounted display (HMD) device 106, and VR content system 108. Devices 102, 104, and 106 may represent client devices. Mobile device 102, computing device 104, and HMD device 106 can include one or more processors and one or more memory devices. The devices 102-106 can execute a client operating system and one or more client applications that can access, control, and/or display VR content on a display device included in each respective device, or in a connected device.

The VR content system 108 may represent a server device. In general, VR content system 108 may include any number of repositories storing content and/or virtual reality software modules that can generate, modify, or execute virtual reality scenes. In the depicted example, VR content system 108 includes a VR application 110 that can access content and/or controls for system 108. In some implementations, VR application 110 can run locally on one or more of devices 102-106. The VR application 110 can be configured to execute on any or all of devices 102, 104, 106, and 108.

The HMD device 106 may represent a virtual reality headset, glasses, eyepiece, or other wearable device capable of displaying virtual reality content. In operation, the HMD device 106 can execute a VR application, which can playback received and/or processed images to a user. In some implementations, the VR application 110 can be hosted by one or more of the devices 102, 104, 106, or 108, shown in FIG. 1.

In some implementations, the mobile device 102 can be placed and/or located within the HMD device 106. The mobile device 102 can include a display device that can be used as the screen for the HMD device 106. The mobile device 102 can include hardware and/or software for executing the VR application 110.

Additional devices are possible and such devices may be configured to be substituted for one another. In some implementations, the devices 102, 104, 106, and 108 can be laptop or desktop computers, smartphones, personal digital assistants, portable media players, tablet computers, gaming devices, or other appropriate computing devices that can communicate, using the network 101, with other computing devices or computer systems.

In the example system 100, the HMD device 106 can be connected to device 102 or device 104 to access VR content on VR content system 108, for example. Device 102 or 104 can be connected (wired or wirelessly) to HMD device 106, which can provide VR content for display.

In the event that the HMD device is wirelessly connected to device 102 or device 104, the connection may include use of one or more of the high-speed wireless communication protocols described herein. In the event that the HMD device 106 is wired to device 102 or 104, the wired connection can include a cable with an appropriate connector on either end for plugging into device 102 or device 104. For example, the cable can include a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connector on both ends. The USB connectors can be the same USB type connector or the USB connectors can each be a different type of USB connector. The various types of USB connectors can include, but are not limited to, USB A-type connectors, USB B-type connectors, micro-USB A connectors, micro-USB B connectors, micro-USB AB connectors, USB five pin Mini-b connectors, USB four pin Mini-b connectors, USB 3.0 A-type connectors, USB 3.0 B-type connectors, USB 3.0 Micro B connectors, and USB C-type connectors. Similarly, the wired connection can include a cable with an appropriate connector on either end for plugging into the HMD device 106 and device 102 or device 104. For example, the cable can include a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connector on both ends. The USB connectors can be the same USB type connector or the USB connectors can each be a different type of USB connector.

In some implementations, one or more content servers (e.g., VR content system 108) and one or more computer-readable storage devices can communicate with the computing devices 102, 104, 106 using network 101 to provide VR content to the devices 102-106. In some implementations, the network 101 can be a public communications network (e.g., the Internet, cellular data network, dialup modems over a telephone network) or a private communications network (e.g., private LAN, leased lines). In some implementations, the computing devices 102-108 can communicate with the network 101 using one or more high-speed wired and/or wireless communications protocols (e.g., 802.11 variations, WiFi, Bluetooth, Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), Ethernet, IEEE 802.3, etc.).

In some implementations, the mobile device 102 can execute the VR application 110 and provide the content for the VR environment. In some implementations, the laptop computing device can execute the VR application 110 and can provide content from one or more content servers (e.g., VR content system 108). The one or more content servers and one or more computer-readable storage devices can communicate with the mobile device 102 and/or laptop computing device 104 using the network 101 to provide content for display in HMD device 106.

As shown in FIG. 1, the VR application 110 includes a collision mode module 112, a movement tracking module, 114, and a collision detection module 116. The collision mode module 112 can represent a software module that selects a collision mode for particular targets (e.g., selectable controls) within the VR environment. The collision mode module 112 can determine which collision mode may be appropriate for a user in a VR environment, based at least in part on the content being accessed and the environment being presented. In some implementations, the collision mode can be selected by collision mode module 112 based on an input type (e.g., keyboard, hands, gaming control, stylus, mobile device, body part, or other renderable object). In some implementations, the collision mode can be dynamically selected upon detecting a user input (with collision detection module 116, for example).

In some implementations, there may exist a large amount of possible collision modes, each of which can vary based on the proximity of a user to interactive objects, or based on the type of VR environment that the user is rendered within. Collision modes can be fine or coarse. Example collision modes can include, but are not limited to a full hand mode, a whole arm mode, one or more finger modes, a whole body mode, and a keyboard mode, any and all of which can also include sub-modes that provide narrower or wider collision zones. For example, an index finger mode may be configured to slightly modify the shape of a virtual user finger in order to accurately select virtual objects. In some implementations, the shape change may not be visible to the user, but the portion of the virtual user finger that is configured to collide with objects may have a smaller active area on the finger that can collide with objects. The smaller active area may trigger a fine collision mode in which the finger is adapted to easily select virtual objects that the user encounters. A collision mode may be understood as a mode that determines, inter alia, the level of detail, in the sense of subtlety and scale, and the granularity at which a virtual user can interact with a virtual object.

In a non-limiting example, a collision mode may be adapted for small area selection (e.g., keys, menu items, or detailed virtual object manipulation) or large area selection (e.g., lifting objects, moving blocks or other virtual content, drawing in virtual space, etc.). The collision mode module 112 can configure portions of the virtual user (e.g., the index finger) to engage with the virtual object in an appropriate way based on the context of interacting with small or large targets or small or large virtual objects. In some implementations, a particular collision mode can be modified for specific content. For example, if the user accesses interactive Yoga content in the VR environment, the user may be prompted to use a knee, a foot, shoulder, or inhale breath to perform particular selections and movements within the VR environment.

In another non-limiting example, a fine collision mode may be triggered if a user’s hands are detected in a location on or proximate (e.g., hovering near) one or more virtual buttons on a virtual object or menu. The fine collision mode can indicate to the user that she should make collisions or (e.g., virtual object selections) using one or more fingers. For example, the collision mode module 112 may modify the virtual user’s index finger to indicate that the fine collision mode is triggered and that the user should use an index finger to make selections (e.g., click virtual buttons). In some implementations and in addition to triggering button clicks with an index finger, the collision mode module 112 can allow users to move a scrollable region with the palm center of their hands. For example, the collision mode module 112 can determine that the virtual environment is providing scrollable content and in response, can select a palm-based collision mode. Selecting a palm-based collision mode may include configuring the content to be scrolled in response to receiving a palm gesture initiated by a hand of the user. In addition, selecting a palm-based collision mode may include modifying portions of the hand other than the palm to be ineffective. This can allow the user to use a palm to scroll and/or select, but if a finger inadvertently interacts with a collision zone, the module 112 can block (e.g., mute) the finger selection since the palm-based mode is the only active collision mode for performing scrolling in this example.

Similarly, if the collision detection module 116 detects that the user is nearing a virtual slider bar, the collision mode module can switch to a coarse collision mode and can indicate to the user to use a palm to move the slider bar. Such indications for a collision mode can include marking a portion of the virtual body that is likely to work well with a selected collision mode. For example, the virtual body portion can glow, vibrate, move, grow, shrink, or otherwise indicate to the user a mechanism in which to operate in the VR environment.

In another non-limiting example, the collision detection module 116 may detect that a user is engaged in a target practice game with shoot-able targets placed within the VR environment. When a hand of the user (e.g., rendered user controlled by a physical user’s hand) nears a shoot-able target, the collision mode module 112 can indicate that an interactive collision mode may begin. For example, if module 112 detects proximity within a threshold distance to a target, the palm of the closest hand may dictate a particular collision mode. The mode may be a shooting mode and the indication may be a glow or other visual, audial, or tactile response to have the user close a palm and reopen the palm. Upon closing and reopening of the palm, a virtual object (such as a bullet) can be shot at the target. The indication to perform the gesture can trigger a particular collision mode that enables the palm of the user to reach the target with the virtual bullet. The collision mode enables the movement by enabling a gesture that allows for the cross-room movement of a bullet from the hand to the target.

In general, the system 100 can be configured to display small targets (e.g., controls) so that the user can view content without being encumbered by targets. The collision mode module 112 can be configured to detect when a user is within a threshold distance of a target and can change the target to accommodate the user’s input mechanism as the user approaches the target. For example, the collision mode module 112 can dynamically change a user’s arm into a spear or stylus that can point at a virtual object and be able to select a target that appears smaller than the user’s finger. This can reduce the likelihood of the user selecting multiple targets or unwanted targets.

In some implementations, the system 100 can enable densely positioned sets of interactive user interface controls, virtual objects, and/or targets within an area and can provide accuracy of hand interactions for a user. This is because the ability to dynamically alter a rendered body part (e.g., hand) for the user can provide the ability for a larger user-performed movement to be altered into a finer movement for purposes of selecting finer targets and/or controls in the VR environment. The system 100 can provide content to the user in the environment without changing the sizes of the content, but can dynamically modify targets associated with the content so that any selection is automatically a more precise selection without the user having to change a behavior (or view). In one example, the system 100 can dynamically alter a rendering of a user’s finger to ensure the user can precisely select small font in a particular menu provided in the VR environment. In this example, the alteration to the finger may or may not be visually shown to the user. However, upon interacting with the content in the VR environment, the user may notice a finer ability to select content because the system 100 has performed modifications on collision modes associated with the environment.

For example, the system 100 can perform particular modifications on collision modes in response to one or more threshold conditions being satisfied corresponding to user actions or movements. In one example, the system 100 can perform a modification of collision mode based on determining that a distance between hands of the user and objects in the VR environment is within a threshold distance (predetermined by the system 100). If the hands and the object are close, the system 100 can switch the collision mode to a fine control collision mode. Similarly, if the hands and object are far apart, the system 100 can switch to a coarse control collision mode.

In another example, the system 100 can determine whether a particular number of objects in the VR environment are in a range of proximity to each other. For example, the system 100 can determine when objects in the VR environment are densely spaced and in response, can switch the collision mode into a fine collision mode. Similarly, if the objects are sparsely spaced, the system 100 can switch to a coarse collision mode (or another mode in between fine and coarse control collision modes based at least in part on system determinations).

In another example, the system 100 can determine whether the user is slowing (e.g., decelerating) as the user is approaching VR objects. If the user is determined to be decelerating, the system 100 can switch to a fine control collision mode. Similarly, if the user is determined to be accelerating by VR objects, the system may switch to a coarse control collision mode or remove collision modes entirely until the user begins to decelerate into particular VR objects or areas.

In one non-limiting example, if the user is in a VR environment and wishes to interact with the user’s hands with a virtually rendered phone, she can reach toward the virtual phone and begin pressing buttons. Because the user’s hands (e.g., fingers, palm, etc.) are being tracked (by system 100), the phone can receive the user input and react accordingly. However, before the user interacts, the collision mode module 112 may determine that interacting with a virtual phone may involve fine motor skills with pinpoint selection capabilities. As such, the collision mode module 112 can determine that small targets should be provided to the user since the phone buttons are typically small, but the module 112 can also ensure that a particular collision mode is selected. In this case, since the selectable targets on the phone are provided as small targets, the collision mode module 112 may select a collision mode in which the user’s tracked hands are shown smaller. In another example, the collision mode module 112 can select a collision mode in which the user’s tracked hands are shown faded or dimmed, with the exception of a portion of the hand that indicates which body part will be interacting. That is, the module 112 can highlight or otherwise indicate to the user that a finger or fingertip will be the selection mechanism. In this example, should the user bump a target with a portion of the hand that is not indicated as the selection mechanism, the system 100 can be configured not to react to the inadvertent user motion.

The movement tracking module 114 can represent a software module that can detect and track speed and accuracy of a user moving near targets. For example, the movement tracking module 114 can interface with physical devices configured to sense user movement, such as wearable items configured with electronics (e.g., head mounted devices, gloves, bodysuits, ocular cameras, etc.), sensors, and other devices that allow the user to provide input into the VR environment. Interfacing to such devices can allow movement tracking module 114 to determine which targets may be triggered and in what order the targets should trigger, in the event that multiple targets are triggered. In some implementations, the movement tracking module 114 can track user movements to provide targets at appropriate timing intervals, such as when a user is within a threshold distance of such targets. In this fashion, the movement tracking module 114 can work with collision detection module 116 to provide a number of targets to a user at user-desired times and according to user-based contexts.

The collision detection module 116 can represent a software module that can perform geometrical and spatial analyses to detect collisions or near collisions in the VR environment and provide feedback to one or more other modules in VR application 110. In general, collisions can be determined either intentional or unintentional. Unintentional collisions can be predicted by movement tracking module 114 and collision detection module 116, in response to user movement, and such predictions can be provided to collision mode module 112 as a basis for changing a particular collision mode. For example, in response to detecting a user’s entire palm coming toward a bookshelf with movement tracking module 114, the collision detection module 116 can ascertain that the user is reaching for one of many books on the bookshelf and can determine that many collisions may unintentionally occur if the palm of the user’s hand is used as the selection mechanism. The collision detection module 116 can predict that a finger would be a better selection mechanism and can provide this information to the collision mode module 112. The collision mode module 112 can use this information to select a collision mode that would suit the VR interaction. In this fashion, the collision detection module 116 can determine a context and a resulting selection mechanism that would best suit a particular VR interaction. The context can be used to provide targets of a particular size, provide input mechanism of a particular type, and to ensure that user input is not unintentionally interpreted or inaccurately performed.

In operation, the VR application 110 can detect, with movement tracking module 114 and collision detection module 116, that the user is moving a hand into or near (within a threshold distance of) a target area. In response, the application 110 can determine a context for what the user is doing and can use that context to trigger a particular target/collision mode using collision mode module 112. For example, the VR application 110 (using collision mode module 112) can generally determine whether particular user interactions in the VR environment are more suited to a particular mode/model of triggering and can dynamically select and present the particular mode based on the determinations. The dynamic selection and presentation of such target modes can be performed before a user activates a target, for example. In a non-limiting example, a first mode can be selected in response to determining a first threshold condition has been met (e.g., a first distance from a target area is detected). If instead a second larger distance from the target area is detected, a second mode can be selected based on a second threshold condition of a larger distance from the user to a target area.

In some implementations, the system 100 may include an electronic computing device (e.g., device 106) generating a virtual reality experience in a virtual reality environment. The electronic computing device may be portable within a physical space. In some implementations, the electronic computing device may be communicatively coupled to any number of other computing devices (e.g., device 102, 104, 108, or other device not shown in FIG. 1).

The electronic computing device can include or have access to a plurality of sensors in communication with the electronic computing device. The sensors may be configured to detect motion associated with a user accessing the electronic computing device within the physical space. The electronic computing device can include one or more processors configured to detect a movement proximate to a virtual object in the virtual reality environment. The movement may be performed by a physical user and the movement may be represented in the virtual environment and associated with a body part of the physical user. For example, the movement may be a hand wave near a scrollable menu and the hand wave can be simulated as if the virtual user performed the move. The user’s hand, arm or entire body can be represented in the virtual environment.

In response to determining that the virtual object is configured to receive input in an area on the virtual object that is smaller than the body part, the system 100 can select a collision mode to modify a selection capability with the body part. For example, the system 100 can determine to select a coarse collision mode in which a palm can make scrolling movements to scroll through a menu and the palm (or other configured body part can make selections). In one example, a coarse collision mode is selected for scrolling. Upon detecting that the user is not scrolling and/or when the scroll stops, the system 100 can switch to a fine collision mode to allow the user to select items in the menu using a finger. The system 100 can display, on a representation of the body part in the virtual environment, a modified selection capability. The modified selection capability may include configuring the body part to glow, vibrate, move, grow, or shrink, the display indicating to the physical user a mechanism in which to interact with the virtual object. The system 100 can maintain the selected collision mode until detecting movement associated with a different virtual object or a different interaction with the virtual object. For example, if the system moves a hand into another collision zone, the system 100 can change the collision mode to be associated with the new collision zone. The new collision zone can correspond to different collision modes and the system 100 can change to one or more of the different collision modes upon detection of being in the new zone.

In one example, if the virtual object is a keyboard and the body part is a hand, the collision mode may be selected to shrink a fingertip area of the hand, and the representation of the body part may include an indicator on each finger. In some implementations, collision modes can be selected any of a full hand mode, a whole arm mode, a finger mode, a whole body mode, and/or a keyboard mode. Each mode may include both a fine and a coarse configuration for each mode.

FIG. 2 is a diagram that illustrates a user 202 interacting with a computing device 104. For example, the computing device 104 can include a keyboard 204. The user 202 may also be using a mobile device 102. Other devices can be used by user 202 and such devices can be connected to HMD device 106, mobile device 102, and/or keyboard 204. The user 202 can view the displayed content associated with the computer system 104 on a screen of the HMD device 106, while interacting with the keyboard 204 and/or mobile device 102. The HMD device 106 can be connected to (e.g., interfaced to) the computing device 104 using one or more of the wired and/or wireless communication interfaces described herein.

The user 202 can interact with the computing device 104 and the keyboard 204 when controlling actions performed in the VR environment. For example, the keyboard 204 can be rendered in the VR environment as VR controls that may be displayed to the user 202. The user 202 may interact with the computing device 104 in the VR environment by moving, rotating, and/or waving at the controls to trigger targets associated with the controls. The user shown in FIG. 2 is typing on a keyboard with his hands 206 and 208 while accessing HMD device 106. HMD device 106 is showing the user 202 a number of rendered objects in the following FIGS. 3A-3C. The user’s hands 206 and 208 are shown as rendered hands 304, and 306a/b), respectively.

FIGS. 3A-3C are diagrams that illustrate images that the user (e.g., user 202 from FIG. 2) can view on a screen of the HMD device 106. For example, the image 300A projects the user 202 into a VR environment. The image 300A includes a rendering 302 of the map information displayed on a display device and a rendering 304, 306a, and 306b of hands and fingers of the user 202 interacting with a rendering 310 of the keyboard 204. In this example, hand 306a is a virtual rendering of a first placement of the user’s right hand (corresponding to hand 206) and hand 306b is a virtual rendering of a second placement of the user’s right hand (corresponding to hand 208). In addition, other windows that may be alternately displayed (e.g., rendered) as the user 202 interacts with the computing device 104 (e.g., rendered control window 312) and presented to the user 202 in the VR environment along with the rendering 302 of the information.