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Restrictions of field-of-view are known to impair human performance for a range of different tasks. However, such effects on human locomotion through a complex environment are still not clear. Effects of both horizontal (30°, 75°, 112°, 120°, 140°, 160°, and 180°) and vertical (18° and 48°) field-of-view restrictions on the walking speed and head movements of participants maneuvering through an obstacle course were investigated. All field-of-view restrictions tested significantly increased time to complete the entire course, compared to the unrestricted condition. The time to traverse the course was significantly longer for a vertical field-of-view of 18° than for a vertical field-of-view of 48°. For a fixed vertical field-of-view size, the traversal time was constant for horizontal field-of-view sizes ranging between 75° and 180° and increased significantly for the 30° horizontal field-of-view condition. In the restricted viewing conditions, the angular velocity of head movements made while stepping over an obstacle increased significantly over that for the unrestricted field-of-view condition, but no difference was found between the different field-of-view sizes. Implications of the current findings for the development of devices with field-of-view restrictions are discussed.

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