It may be there is some small perception point glitch in our brains around the five-foot mark. I am interested in whether anyone else has noticed this.
UX pointers for VR design
timoni west
2206

Thoughts on the Awkward Handoff:

I’m guessing that this is the brain’s awkward hand-off between the zone of stuff-within-reach and the zone of stuff-to-which-I-must-walk. As far as the brain is concerned these are very different areas and different areas of the brain actually light up in an fMRI when you consider objects in these two zones. Objects in the near zone, which is bracketed crisply by the proprioceptive bounds of your torso, and vaguely by the reach of your hand is processed by the superior parieto-occipital cortex (SPOC) area of the brain — this is the sweet-spot for dexterity and tool use. Objects beyond that are seen as targets of travel and not really considered by the SPOC.

The glitch zone you’re talking about is likely caused by the fact that the boundary between near and far zones is somewhat feathered based on what points of articulation are involved in reach — wrist, elbow, shoulder, waist — and even the repositioning of a single foot. There is also a fair amount of variety from individual to individual on where their brain draws this line — some people don’t seem to hand off processing of an object to their SPOC until it’s as close as to require no more than shoulder motion, in others the SPOC will take over as soon as an object can be grasped using a deep reach supported by moving a single foot forward. Anything requiring the involvement of a second foot repositioning is solidly not SPOC’s problem.

I think in VR this is a particularly problematic zone — especially for those new to the experience — since it usually takes some coaxing to get people to walk around in VR to begin with, so rather than naturally tightening up their proximity with an unconscious shuffle forward as they normally would in life, I see a lot of awkward leaning at the waist until they really trust that they can casually traverse. This may uncouple the normally tight correspondence between the state of their articulation cascade and actual distance from an object.

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