Simulating physical motion for virtual reality

Hosting structure

  • City: Rennes
  • Institution: Inria Rennes Laboratory
  • Team: HYBRID

Virtual reality, haptics, motion, psychophysics


  • Anatole Lécuyer:
  • Antoine Costes:


The internship is intended for a duration of 4 to 6 months, from February 2020.

Internship description

This internship aims at studying novel approaches to improve user experience when navigating invirtual environments. In particular, we are looking for new ways to induce vection and/or to minimize cybersickness symptoms in an efficient way. We focus here on the use of a force-feedback device to stimulate the vestibular system, that is, moving the user’s head.
After a state of the art review, you will design and implement various force-feedback effects and carry auser study to evaluate them. Depending on results and student wishes the option for continuing on to a Ph.D. on a related topic may arise.

Internship context and description

Virtual reality has gone through considerable development over the last years. But no matter thequality and sophistication of audiovisual technologies, they can’t help a lack of body sensations, because other modalities have to be used to efficiently produce bodily effects. The most obvious way to produce physical sensations is of course to move the whole body (like in “4D cinemas”), but the energy needed bysuch devices makes them massive and expensive. Another approach is to produce the sensation of movement instead the actual movement itself, i.e. create an illusion.

During displacement in virtual environments, two perceptual phenomenamight occur: “vection” (the sensation of being moved) and “cybersickness” (a set of illness symptoms similar to motion sickness). They both relate to visual stimuli, vestibular stimuli and their interactions. Both of them are crucial for user experience, yet hard to apprehend in a practical way because they vary significantly according to a variety of parameters, from display hardware features to individual sensitivity. If vection has previously been thought to be the cause of cybersickness, very few studies addressed to two phenomena together, and their relationship appears to be complex[1]. While the use ofvisual stimuli is very common to induce vection, the haptic stimulation of the vestibular system(that is, applying forces to thehead) has been little explored [2] [3].

[1]Palmisano, S., Mursic, R., & Kim, J. (2017). Vection and cybersickness generated by head-and-display motion in the Oculus Rift. Displays, 46, 1-8.
[2] Gugenheimer, J., Wolf, D., Eiriksson, E. R., Maes, P., & Rukzio, E. (2016, October). Gyrovr: Simulating inertia in virtual reality using head worn flywheels. In Proceedings of the 29th Annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (pp. 227-232).
[3] Danieau, F., Fleureau, J., Guillotel, P., Mollet, N., Lécuyer, A., & Christie, M. (2012, December). HapSeat: producing motion sensation with multiple force-feedback devices embedded in a seat. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM symposium on Virtual reality software and technology (pp. 69-76).

Requested profile

The candidate must be interested and curious about human perception, immersive technologies and scientific experimentation. They should also be comfortable with as much following items as possible:

  • Knowledge about psychophysics or cognitive sciences
  • Experience with Unity 3D
  • Knowledge in programming real-time 3D (video games, VR…)
  • Experience in haptics
  • Technical english

Applications (CV + cover letter) should be sent by e-mail to Anatole Lécuyer ( and Antoine Costes (

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