Designing for Depth Perceptions in Augmented Reality


Augmented reality technologies allow people to view and interact with virtual objects that appear alongside physical objects in the real world. For augmented reality applications to be effective, users must be able to accurately perceive the intended real world location of virtual objects. However, when creating augmented reality ap- plications, developers are faced with a variety of design decisions that may affect how users perceive the real world depth of virtual objects. In this paper, we explore how different choices made when rendering objects using augmented reality technologies influence user perceptions of the position of virtual objects in the real world. We conducted a series of experiments using a perceptual matching task to understand how shading, cast shadows, aerial perspective, texture, dimensionality (i.e., 2D vs 3D shapes) and billboarding af- fected participant perceptions of virtual object depth relative to real world targets. The results of these studies quantify trade-offs in how designers can best render objects for improved augmented reality applications. Overall, we found that shadows provide strong cues for localizing virtual objects in the real world, while layering additional depth cues can provide supplemental refinements of perceived depth, but can also interact in complex ways.

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