Proxy interaction is a way to add haptics to interactive virtual realities. Here,
users interact with physical models, called proxies, that physically represent
virtual objects in the virtual environment. Previous research has investigated
several properties of proxy objects and their influence on proxy interaction.
However, the role of a proxy’s weight distribution in virtual reality interaction
is still understudied. This thesis investigates the influence of proxy weight
distribution and corresponding visual-haptic discrepancies on virtual reality
proxy interaction and the perception of virtual objects. In two experiments,
participants interacted with virtual objects represented by physical proxies of
different weight distributions. It could be shown that weight distribution is
an influential proxy property with great potential to enhance future interactive
virtual reality experiences involving haptics. Weight shift direction was found
to be the most important factor for perception, especially for perceived realism.
Weight distribution discrepancies were shown to cause errors during interaction.
In addition to that, it was shown that using the weight distribution of the proxy,
other properties of virtual objects like length and weight can be simulated on a
perceptual level. The findings fill a gap in the research on proxy properties and
can help to develop versatile proxy objects that change their weight distribution
to enable enhanced virtual reality experiences.