Gotta Go Fast: Measuring Input/Output Latencies of Virtual Reality 3D Engines for Cognitive Experiments

by   Taeho Kang, et al.

Virtual Reality (VR) is seeing increased adoption across many fields. The field of experimental cognitive science is also testing utilization of the technology combined with physiological measures such as electroencephalography (EEG) and eye tracking. Quantitative measures of human behavior and cognition process, however, are sensitive to minuscule time resolutions that are often overlooked in the scope of consumer-level VR hardware and software stacks. In this preliminary study, we implement VR testing environments in two prominent 3D Virtual Reality frameworks (Unity and Unreal Engine) to measure latency values for stimulus onset execution code to Head-Mount Display (HMD) pixel change, as well as the latency between human behavioral response input to its registration in the engine environment under a typical cognitive experiment hardware setup. We find that whereas the specifics of the latency may further be influenced by different hardware and software setups, the variations in consumer hardware is apparent regardless and report detailed statistics on these latencies. Such consideration should be taken into account when designing VR-based cognitive experiments that measure human behavior.


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