Near-Field Depth Perception in Optical See-Though Augmented Reality
AdvisorSwan, J. Edward, II
CommitteeMoorhead, Robert J.
Ellis, Stephen R.
Augmented reality (AR) is a very promising display technology with many compelling industrial applications. However, before it can be used in actual settings, its fidelity needs to be investigated from a user-centric viewpoint. More specifically, how distance to the virtual objects is perceived in augmented reality is still an open question. To the best of our knowledge, there are only four previous studies that specifically studied distance perception in AR within reaching distances. Therefore, distance perception in augmented reality still remains a largely understudied phenomenon. This document presents research in depth perception in augmented reality in the near visual field. The specific goal of this research is to empirically study various measurement techniques for depth perception, and to study various factors that affect depth perception in augmented reality, specifically, eye accommodation, brightness, and participant age. This document discusses five experiments that have already been conducted. Experiment I aimed to determine if there are inherent difference between the perception of virtual and real objects by comparing depth judgments using two complementary distance judgment protocols: perceptual matching and blind reaching. This experiment found that real objects are perceived more accurately than virtual objects and matching is a relatively more accurate distance measure than reaching. Experiment II compared the two distance judgment protocols in the real world and augmented reality environments, with improved proprioceptive and visual feedback. This experiment found that reaching responses in the AR environment became more accurate with improved feedback. Experiment III studied the effect of different levels of accommodative demand (collimated, consistent, and midpoint) on distance judgments. This experiment found nearly accurate distance responses in the consistent and midpoint conditions, and a linear increase in error in the collimated condition. Experiment IV studied the effect of brightness of the target object on depth judgments. This experiment found that distance responses were shifted towards background for the dim AR target. Lastly, Experiment V studied the effect of participant age on depth judgments and found that older participants judged distance more accurately than younger participants. Taken together, these five experiments will help us understand how depth perception operates in augmented reality.