Connor D. Flick; Courtney J. Harris; Nikolas T. Yonkers; Nahal Norouzi; Austin Erickson; Zubin Choudhary; Matt Gottsacker; Gerd Bruder; Gregory F. Welch
Trade-offs in Augmented Reality User Interfaces for Controlling a Smart Environment Inproceedings Forthcoming
In: In Symposium on Spatial User Interaction (SUI '21), pp. 1-11, Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Forthcoming.
Smart devices and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are replacing or being incorporated into traditional devices at a growing pace. The use of digital interfaces to interact with these devices has become a common occurrence in homes, work spaces, and various industries around the world. The most common interfaces for these connected devices focus on mobile apps or voice control via intelligent virtual assistants. However, with augmented reality (AR) becoming more popular and accessible among consumers, there are new opportunities for spatial user interfaces to seamlessly bridge the gap between digital and physical affordances.
In this paper, we present a human-subject study evaluating and comparing four user interfaces for smart connected environments: gaze input, hand gestures, voice input, and a mobile app. We assessed participants’ user experience, usability, task load, completion time, and preferences. Our results show multiple trade-offs between these interfaces across these measures. In particular, we found that gaze input shows great potential for future use cases, while both gaze input and hand gestures suffer from limited familiarity among users, compared to voice input and mobile apps.
Matt Gottsacker; Nahal Norouzi; Kangsoo Kim; Gerd Bruder; Gregory F. Welch
Diegetic Representations for Seamless Cross-Reality Interruptions Conference Forthcoming
Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR), Forthcoming.
Due to the closed design of modern virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMDs), users tend to lose awareness of their real-world surroundings. This is particularly challenging when an-other person in the same physical space needs to interrupt the VR user for a brief conversation. Such interruptions, e.g., tapping a VR user on the shoulder, can cause a disruptive break in presence (BIP),which affects their place and plausibility illusions, and may cause a drop in performance of their virtual activity. Recent findings related to the concept of diegesis, which denotes the internal consistency of an experience/story, suggest potential benefits of integrating registered virtual representations for physical interactors, especially when these appear internally consistent in VR. In this paper, we present a human-subject study we conducted to compare and evaluate five different diegetic and non-diegetic methods to facilitate cross-reality interruptions in a virtual office environment, where a user’s task was briefly interrupted by a physical person. We created a Cross-Reality Interaction Questionnaire (CRIQ) to capture the quality of the interaction from the VR user’s perspective. Our results show that the diegetic representations afforded the highest quality inter-actions, the highest place illusions, and caused the least disruption of the participants’ virtual experiences. We found reasonably high senses of co-presence with the partially and fully diegetic virtual representations. We discuss our findings as well as implications for practical applications that aim to leverage virtual representations to ease cross-reality interruptions
Nahal Norouzi; Gerd Bruder; Austin Erickson; Kangsoo Kim; Jeremy Bailenson; Pamela J. Wisniewski; Charles E. Hughes; and Gregory F. Welch
Virtual Animals as Diegetic Attention Guidance Mechanisms in 360-Degree Experiences Journal Article Forthcoming
In: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG) Special Issue on ISMAR 2021, pp. 11, Forthcoming.
360-degree experiences such as cinematic virtual reality and 360-degree videos are becoming increasingly popular. In most examples, viewers can freely explore the content by changing their orientation. However, in some cases, this increased freedom may lead to viewers missing important events within such experiences. Thus, a recent research thrust has focused on studying mechanisms for guiding viewers’ attention while maintaining their sense of presence and fostering a positive user experience. One approach is the utilization of diegetic mechanisms, characterized by an internal consistency with respect to the narrative and the environment, for attention guidance. While such mechanisms are highly attractive, their uses and potential implementations are still not well understood. Additionally, acknowledging the user in 360-degree experiences has been linked to a higher sense of presence and connection. However, less is known when acknowledging behaviors are carried out by attention guiding mechanisms. To close these gaps, we conducted a within-subjects user study with five conditions of no guide and virtual arrows, birds, dogs, and dogs that acknowledge the user and the environment. Through our mixed-methods analysis, we found that the diegetic virtual animals resulted in a more positive user experience, all of which were at least as effective as the non-diegetic arrow in guiding users towards target events. The acknowledging dog received the most positive responses from our participants in terms of preference and user experience and significantly improved their sense of presence compared to the non-diegetic arrow. Lastly, three themes emerged from a qualitative analysis of our participants’ feedback, indicating the importance of the guide’s blending in, its acknowledging behavior, and participants’ positive associations as the main factors for our participants’ preferences.
Kangsoo Kim; Nahal Norouzi; Dongsik Jo; Gerd Bruder; and Gregory F. Welch
The Augmented Reality Internet of Things: Opportunities of Embodied Interactions in Transreality Book Chapter Forthcoming
In: Nee, A. Y. C.; Ong, S. K. (Ed.): Handbook of Augmented Reality , pp. 60, Springer , Forthcoming.
Human society is encountering a new wave of advancements related to smart connected technologies with the convergence of different traditionally separate fields, which can be characterized by a fusion of technologies that merge and tightly integrate the physical, digital, and biological spheres. In this new paradigm of convergence, all the physical and digital things will become more and more intelligent and connected to each other through the Internet, and the boundary between them will blur and become seamless. In particular, Augmented/Mixed Reality (AR/MR) combines virtual content with the real environment and is experiencing an unprecedented golden era along with dramatic technological achievements and increasing public interest. Together with advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ubiquitous computing empowered by the Internet of Things/Everything (IoT/IoE) systems, AR can be our ultimate interface to interact with both digital (virtual) and physical (real) worlds while pervasively mediating and enriching our lives. In this chapter, we describe the concept of transreality that symbiotically connects the physical and the virtual worlds incorporating the aforementioned advanced technologies, and illustrate how such transreality environments can transform our activities in it, providing intelligent and intuitive interaction with the environment while exploring prior research literature in this domain. We also present the potential of virtually embodied interactions—e.g., employing virtual avatars and agents—in highly connected transreality spaces for enhancing human abilities and perception. Recent ongoing research focusing on the effects of embodied interaction are described and discussed in different aspects such as perceptual, cognitive, and social contexts. The chapter will end with discussions on potential research directions in the future and implications related to the user experience in transreality.
Nahal Norouzi; Kangsoo Kim; Gerd Bruder; Greg Welch
[Demo] Towards Interactive Virtual Dogs as a Pervasive Social Companion in Augmented Reality Inproceedings
In: Proceedings of the combined International Conference on Artificial Reality & Telexistence and Eurographics Symposium on Virtual Environments (ICAT-EGVE)., pp. 29-30, 2020, (Best Demo Audience Choice Award).
Pets and animal-assisted intervention sessions have shown to be beneficial for humans' mental, social, and physical health. However, for specific populations, factors such as hygiene restrictions, allergies, and care and resource limitations reduce interaction opportunities. In parallel, understanding the capabilities of animals' technological representations, such as robotic and digital forms, have received considerable attention and has fueled the utilization of many of these technological representations. Additionally, recent advances in augmented reality technology have allowed for the realization of virtual animals with flexible appearances and behaviors to exist in the real world. In this demo, we present a companion virtual dog in augmented reality that aims to facilitate a range of interactions with populations, such as children and older adults. We discuss the potential benefits and limitations of such a companion and propose future use cases and research directions.
Nahal Norouzi; Kangsoo Kim; Gerd Bruder; Austin Erickson; Zubin Choudhary; Yifan Li; Greg Welch
A Systematic Literature Review of Embodied Augmented Reality Agents in Head-Mounted Display Environments Inproceedings
In: In Proceedings of the International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence & Eurographics Symposium on Virtual Environments, pp. 11, 2020.
Embodied agents, i.e., computer-controlled characters, have proven useful for various applications across a multitude of display setups and modalities. While most traditional work focused on embodied agents presented on a screen or projector, and a growing number of works are focusing on agents in virtual reality, a comparatively small number of publications looked at such agents in augmented reality (AR). Such AR agents, specifically when using see-through head-mounted displays (HMDs)as the display medium, show multiple critical differences to other forms of agents, including their appearances, behaviors, and physical-virtual interactivity. Due to the unique challenges in this specific field, and due to the comparatively limited attention by the research community so far, we believe that it is important to map the field to understand the current trends, challenges, and future research. In this paper, we present a systematic review of the research performed on interactive, embodied AR agents using HMDs. Starting with 1261 broadly related papers, we conducted an in-depth review of 50 directly related papers from2000 to 2020, focusing on papers that reported on user studies aiming to improve our understanding of interactive agents in AR HMD environments or their utilization in specific applications. We identified common research and application areas of AR agents through a structured iterative process, present research trends, and gaps, and share insights on future directions.
Celso M. de Melo; Kangsoo Kim; Nahal Norouzi; Gerd Bruder; Gregory Welch
Reducing Cognitive Load and Improving Warfighter Problem Solving with Intelligent Virtual Assistants Journal Article
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 11 (554706), pp. 1-12, 2020.
Alexis Lambert; Nahal Norouzi; Gerd Bruder; Greg Welch
A Systematic Review of Ten Years of Research on Human Interaction with Social Robots Journal Article
In: International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, pp. 10, 2020.
While research and development related to robotics has been going on for decades, the past decade in particular has seen a marked increase in related efforts, in part due to technological advances, increased technological accessibility and reliability, and increased commercial availability. What have come to be known as social robots are now being used to explore novel forms of human-robot interaction, to understand social norms, and to test expectations and human responses. To capture the contributions of these research efforts, identify the current trends, and future directions, we systematically review ten years of research in the field of social robotics between 2008 and 2018, which includes 86 publications with 70 user studies. We classify the past work based on the research topics and application areas, and provide information about the publications, their user studies, and the capabilities of the social robots utilized. We also discuss selected papers in detail and outline overall trends. Based on these findings, we identify some areas of potential future research.
Austin Erickson; Nahal Norouzi; Kangsoo Kim; Ryan Schubert; Jonathan Jules; Joseph J. LaViola Jr.; Gerd Bruder; Gregory F. Welch
Sharing gaze rays for visual target identification tasks in collaborative augmented reality Journal Article
In: Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces: Special Issue on Multimodal Interfaces and Communication Cues for Remote Collaboration, 14 (4), pp. 353-371, 2020, ISSN: 1783-8738.
Augmented reality (AR) technologies provide a shared platform for users to collaborate in a physical context involving both real and virtual content. To enhance the quality of interaction between AR users, researchers have proposed augmenting users’ interpersonal space with embodied cues such as their gaze direction. While beneficial in achieving improved interpersonal spatial communication, such shared gaze environments suffer from multiple types of errors related to eye tracking and networking, that can reduce objective performance and subjective experience. In this paper, we present a human-subjects study to understand the impact of accuracy, precision, latency, and dropout based errors on users’ performance when using shared gaze cues to identify a target among a crowd of people. We simulated varying amounts of errors and the target distances and measured participants’ objective performance through their response time and error rate, and their subjective experience and cognitive load through questionnaires. We found significant differences suggesting that the simulated error levels had stronger effects on participants’ performance than target distance with accuracy and latency having a high impact on participants’ error rate. We also observed that participants assessed their own performance as lower than it objectively was. We discuss implications for practical shared gaze applications and we present a multi-user prototype system.
Kangsoo Kim; Celso M. de Melo; Nahal Norouzi; Gerd Bruder; Gregory F. Welch
Reducing Task Load with an Embodied Intelligent Virtual Assistant for Improved Performance in Collaborative Decision Making Inproceedings
In: Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR), pp. 529-538, Atlanta, Georgia, 2020.
Austin Erickson; Nahal Norouzi; Kangsoo Kim; Joseph J. LaViola Jr.; Gerd Bruder; Gregory F. Welch
Effects of Depth Information on Visual Target Identification Task Performance in Shared Gaze Environments Journal Article
In: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 26 (5), pp. 1934-1944, 2020, ISSN: 1077-2626, (Presented at IEEE VR 2020).
Human gaze awareness is important for social and collaborative interactions. Recent technological advances in augmented reality (AR) displays and sensors provide us with the means to extend collaborative spaces with real-time dynamic AR indicators of one's gaze, for example via three-dimensional cursors or rays emanating from a partner's head. However, such gaze cues are only as useful as the quality of the underlying gaze estimation and the accuracy of the display mechanism. Depending on the type of the visualization, and the characteristics of the errors, AR gaze cues could either enhance or interfere with collaborations. In this paper, we present two human-subject studies in which we investigate the influence of angular and depth errors, target distance, and the type of gaze visualization on participants' performance and subjective evaluation during a collaborative task with a virtual human partner, where participants identified targets within a dynamically walking crowd. First, our results show that there is a significant difference in performance for the two gaze visualizations ray and cursor in conditions with simulated angular and depth errors: the ray visualization provided significantly faster response times and fewer errors compared to the cursor visualization. Second, our results show that under optimal conditions, among four different gaze visualization methods, a ray without depth information provides the worst performance and is rated lowest, while a combination of a ray and cursor with depth information is rated highest. We discuss the subjective and objective performance thresholds and provide guidelines for practitioners in this field.
Myungho Lee; Nahal Norouzi; Gerd Bruder; Pamela J. Wisniewski; Gregory F. Welch
Mixed Reality Tabletop Gameplay: Social Interaction with a Virtual Human Capable of Physical Influence Journal Article
In: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 24 (8), pp. 1-12, 2019, ISSN: 1077-2626.
In this paper, we investigate the effects of the physical influence of a virtual human (VH) in the context of face-to-face interaction in a mixed reality environment. In Experiment 1, participants played a tabletop game with a VH, in which each player takes a turn and moves their own token along the designated spots on the shared table. We compared two conditions as follows: the VH in the virtual condition moves a virtual token that can only be seen through augmented reality (AR) glasses, while the VH in the physical condition moves a physical token as the participants do; therefore the VH’s token can be seen even in the periphery of the AR glasses. For the physical condition, we designed an actuator system underneath the table. The actuator moves a magnet under the table which then moves the VH’s physical token over the surface of the table. Our results indicate that participants felt higher co-presence with the VH in the physical condition, and participants assessed the VH as a more physical entity compared to the VH in the virtual condition. We further observed transference effects when participants attributed the VH’s ability to move physical objects to other elements in the real world. Also, the VH’s physical influence improved participants’ overall experience with the VH. In Experiment 2, we further looked into the question how the physical-virtual latency in movements affected the perceived plausibility of the VH’s interaction with the real world. Our results indicate that a slight temporal difference between the physical token reacting to the virtual hand’s movement increased the perceived realism and causality of the mixed reality interaction. We discuss potential explanations for the findings and implications for future shared mixed reality tabletop setups.
Kangsoo Kim; Nahal Norouzi; Tiffany Losekamp; Gerd Bruder; Mindi Anderson; Gregory Welch
Effects of Patient Care Assistant Embodiment and Computer Mediation on User Experience Inproceedings
In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence & Virtual Reality (AIVR), pp. 17-24, IEEE, 2019.
Providers of patient care environments are facing an increasing demand for technological solutions that can facilitate increased patient satisfaction while being cost effective and practically feasible. Recent developments with respect to smart hospital room setups and smart home care environments have an immense potential to leverage advances in technologies such as Intelligent Virtual Agents, Internet of Things devices, and Augmented Reality to enable novel forms of patient interaction with caregivers and their environment.
In this paper, we present a human-subjects study in which we compared four types of simulated patient care environments for a range of typical tasks. In particular, we tested two forms of caregiver mediation with a real person or a virtual agent, and we compared two forms of caregiver embodiment with disembodied verbal or embodied interaction. Our results show that, as expected, a real caregiver provides the optimal user experience but an embodied virtual assistant is also a viable option for patient care environments, providing significantly higher social presence and engagement than voice-only interaction. We discuss the implications in the field of patient care and digital assistant.
Kendra Richards; Nikhil Mahalanobis; Kangsoo Kim; Ryan Schubert; Myungho Lee; Salam Daher; Nahal Norouzi; Jason Hochreiter; Gerd Bruder; Gregory F. Welch
Analysis of Peripheral Vision and Vibrotactile Feedback During Proximal Search Tasks with Dynamic Virtual Entities in Augmented Reality Inproceedings
In: Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction (SUI), pp. 3:1-3:9, ACM, 2019, ISBN: 978-1-4503-6975-6/19/10.
A primary goal of augmented reality (AR) is to seamlessly embed virtual content into a real environment. There are many factors that can affect the perceived physicality and co-presence of virtual entities, including the hardware capabilities, the fidelity of the virtual behaviors, and sensory feedback associated with the interactions. In this paper, we present a study investigating participants' perceptions and behaviors during a time-limited search task in close proximity with virtual entities in AR. In particular, we analyze the effects of (i) visual conflicts in the periphery of an optical see-through head-mounted display, a Microsoft HoloLens, (ii) overall lighting in the physical environment, and (iii) multimodal feedback based on vibrotactile transducers mounted on a physical platform. Our results show significant benefits of vibrotactile feedback and reduced peripheral lighting for spatial and social presence, and engagement. We discuss implications of these effects for AR applications.
Nahal Norouzi; Austin Erickson; Kangsoo Kim; Ryan Schubert; Joseph J. LaViola Jr.; Gerd Bruder; Gregory F. Welch
Effects of Shared Gaze Parameters on Visual Target Identification Task Performance in Augmented Reality Inproceedings
In: Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction (SUI), pp. 12:1-12:11, ACM, 2019, ISBN: 978-1-4503-6975-6/19/10, (Best Paper Award).
Augmented reality (AR) technologies provide a shared platform for users to collaborate in a physical context involving both real and virtual content. To enhance the quality of interaction between AR users, researchers have proposed augmenting users' interpersonal space with embodied cues such as their gaze direction. While beneficial in achieving improved interpersonal spatial communication, such shared gaze environments suffer from multiple types of errors related to eye tracking and networking, that can reduce objective performance and subjective experience.
In this paper, we conducted a human-subject study to understand the impact of accuracy, precision, latency, and dropout based errors on users' performance when using shared gaze cues to identify a target among a crowd of people. We simulated varying amounts of errors and the target distances and measured participants' objective performance through their response time and error rate, and their subjective experience and cognitive load through questionnaires. We found some significant differences suggesting that the simulated error levels had stronger effects on participants' performance than target distance with accuracy and latency having a high impact on participants' error rate. We also observed that participants assessed their own performance as lower than it objectively was, and we discuss implications for practical shared gaze applications.
Nahal Norouzi; Kangsoo Kim; Myungho Lee; Ryan Schubert; Austin Erickson; Jeremy Bailenson; Gerd Bruder; Greg Welch
Walking Your Virtual Dog: Analysis of Awareness and Proxemics with Simulated Support Animals in Augmented Reality Inproceedings
In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR), 2019, pp. 253-264, IEEE, 2019, ISBN: 978-1-7281-4765-9.
Domestic animals have a long history of enriching human lives physically and mentally by filling a variety of different roles, such as service animals, emotional support animals, companions, and pets. Despite this, technological realizations of such animals in augmented reality (AR) are largely underexplored in terms of their behavior and interactions as well as effects they might have on human users' perception or behavior. In this paper, we describe a simulated virtual companion animal, in the form of a dog, in a shared AR space. We investigated its effects on participants' perception and behavior, including locomotion related to proxemics, with respect to their AR dog and other real people in the environment. We conducted a 2 by 2 mixed factorial human-subject study, in which we varied (i) the AR dog's awareness and behavior with respect to other people in the physical environment and (ii) the awareness and behavior of those people with respect to the AR dog. Our results show that having an AR companion dog changes participants' locomotion behavior, proxemics, and social interaction with other people who can or can not see the AR dog. We also show that the AR dog's simulated awareness and behaviors have an impact on participants' perception, including co-presence, animalism, perceived physicality, and dog's perceived awareness of the participant and environment. We discuss our findings and present insights and implications for the realization of effective AR animal companions.
Nahal Norouzi; Luke Bölling; Gerd Bruder; Gregory F. Welch
Augmented Rotations in Virtual Reality for Users with a Reduced Range of Head Movement Journal Article
In: Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering, 6 , pp. 1-9, 2019.
Introduction: A large body of research in the field of virtual reality (VR) is focused on making user interfaces more natural and intuitive by leveraging natural body movements to explore a virtual environment. For example, head-tracked user interfaces allow users to naturally look around a virtual space by moving their head. However, such approaches may not be appropriate for users with temporary or permanent limitations of their head movement.
Methods: In this paper, we present techniques that allow these users to get virtual benefits from a reduced range of physical movements. Specifically, we describe two techniques that augment virtual rotations relative to physical movement thresholds.
Results: We describe how each of the two techniques can be implemented with either a head tracker or an eye tracker,e.g., in cases when no physical head rotations are possible.
Conclusions: We discuss their differences and limitations and we provide guidelines for the practical use of such augmented user interfaces.
Salam Daher; Jason Hochreiter; Nahal Norouzi; Ryan Schubert; Gerd Bruder; Laura Gonzalez; Mindi Anderson; Desiree Diaz; Juan Cendan; Greg Welch
[POSTER] Matching vs. Non-Matching Visuals and Shape for Embodied Virtual Healthcare Agents Inproceedings
In: Proceedings of IEEE Virtual Reality (VR), 2019, 2019.
Embodied virtual agents serving as patient simulators are widely used in medical training scenarios, ranging from physical patients to virtual patients presented via virtual and augmented reality technologies. Physical-virtual patients are a hybrid solution that combines the benefits of dynamic visuals integrated into a human-shaped physical
form that can also present other cues, such as pulse, breathing sounds, and temperature. Sometimes in simulation the visuals and shape do not match. We carried out a human-participant study employing graduate nursing students in pediatric patient simulations comprising conditions associated with matching/non-matching of the visuals and shape.
Nahal Norouzi; Gerd Bruder; Brandon Belna; Stefanie Mutter; Damla Turgut; Greg Welch
A Systematic Review of the Convergence of Augmented Reality, Intelligent Virtual Agents, and the Internet of Things Book Chapter
In: Artificial Intelligence in IoT, pp. 37, Springer, 2019, ISBN: 978-3-030-04109-0.
In recent years we are beginning to see the convergence of three distinct research fields: Augmented Reality (AR), Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs), and the Internet of Things (IoT). Each of these has been classified as a disruptive technology for our society. Since their inception, the advancement of knowledge and development of technologies and systems in these fields was traditionally performed with limited input from each other. However, over the last years, we have seen research prototypes and commercial products being developed that cross the boundaries between these distinct fields to leverage their collective strengths. In this review paper, we resume the body of literature published at the intersections between each two of these fields, and we discuss a vision for the nexus of all three technologies.
Myungho Lee; Nahal Norouzi; Gerd Bruder; Pamela J. Wisniewski; Gregory F. Welch
The Physical-virtual Table: Exploring the Effects of a Virtual Human's Physical Influence on Social Interaction Inproceedings
In: Proceedings of the 24th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology, pp. 25:1–25:11, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2018, ISBN: 978-1-4503-6086-9, (Best Paper Award).
In this paper, we investigate the effects of the physical influence of a virtual human (VH) in the context of face-to-face interaction in augmented reality (AR). In our study, participants played a tabletop game with a VH, in which each player takes a turn and moves their own token along the designated spots on the shared table. We com- pared two conditions as follows: the VH in the virtual condition moves a virtual token that can only be seen through AR glasses, while the VH in the physical condition moves a physical token as the participants do; therefore the VH’s token can be seen even in the periphery of the AR glasses. For the physical condition, we designed an actuator system underneath the table. The actuator moves a magnet under the table which then moves the VH’s phys- ical token over the surface of the table. Our results indicate that participants felt higher co-presence with the VH in the physical condition, and participants assessed the VH as a more physical entity compared to the VH in the virtual condition. We further ob- served transference effects when participants attributed the VH’s ability to move physical objects to other elements in the real world. Also, the VH’s physical influence improved participants’ overall experience with the VH. We discuss potential explanations for the findings and implications for future shared AR tabletop setups.