The perception of self-motion is a multi-modal process that is influenced by vision, body stimuli and gravity. Specifically, the experiments will help us to determine how effective visual cues are in microgravity. Building on this, a model will be developed that illustrates how microgravity influences the process of optic flow to create the feeling of movement.
The results of our investigations should help to understand visual-vestibular interactions and thus significantly increase safety in all situations that require movement in microgravity (e.g. in space or under water).
The experiments are carried out during parabolic flights. We plan to conduct two related experiments during the zero-g phases. The subjects will lie on the ground (loosely attached to it for safety reasons) and carry a Head Mounted Display (HMD). All our visual cues will be presented on the smartphone inside the HMD.
In both experiments the participants view a simulated corridor. In the first experiment, a cue is presented within this corridor, which is displayed at one of three simulated distances. After the cue has been extinguished, the participants are virtually moved down the corridor. Their task is to indicate when they arrived at the position of the previously displayed cue. In the second experiment, participants are first virtually moved down the corridor and then asked to adjust the distance of a virtual cue.