Virtual Reality

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

Influence of contextual objects on spatial interactions and viewpoints sharing in virtual environments

  • Amine Chellali
  • Isabelle Milleville-Pennel
  • Cédric Dumas
Original Article


Collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) are 3D spaces in which users share virtual objects, communicate, and work together. To collaborate efficiently, users must develop a common representation of their shared virtual space. In this work, we investigated spatial communication in virtual environments. In order to perform an object co-manipulation task, the users must be able to communicate and exchange spatial information, such as object position, in a virtual environment. We conducted an experiment in which we manipulated the contents of the shared virtual space to understand how users verbally construct a common spatial representation of their environment. Forty-four students participated in the experiment to assess the influence of contextual objects on spatial communication and sharing of viewpoints. The participants were asked to perform in dyads an object co-manipulation task. The results show that the presence of a contextual object such as fixed and lateralized visual landmarks in the virtual environment positively influences the way male operators collaborate to perform this task. These results allow us to provide some design recommendations for CVEs for object manipulation tasks.


Spatial communication Virtual environment Collaboration Common frame of reference Visual landmarks 



We would like to thank students from Ecole Centrale de Nantes and Nantes University who agreed to participate in this experiment. The research was partially funded through InterActeurs project (CRE 43230501) in collaboration with Orange Labs.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amine Chellali
    • 1
    • 2
  • Isabelle Milleville-Pennel
    • 3
  • Cédric Dumas
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.CambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Ecole des Mines de Nantes-IRCCYNNantesFrance
  3. 3.CNRS-IRCCyNNantesFrance
  4. 4. Ecole des Mines de NantesNantesFrance
  5. 5. CSIROBrisbaneAustralia

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