Effects of Augmented Reality Display Settings on Human Way-Finding Performance

Goldiez, B., Ahmad, A.M., & Hancock, P.A. (2007). Effects of augmented reality display settings on human way-finding performance. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C: Applications and Reviews, 37 (5), 839-845.

Augmented reality (AR) entails overlaying the real world with information from computer-generated displays. Current AR technologies support limited mobility, although this is expected to change in the future. This paper presents experimental results of effects of various AR display strategies on human performance in a simulation-based analog of a “search and rescue” navigation task. The augmentation scheme was a spatially and temporally registered map that was overlaid onto a corresponding real-world maze. The experiment required the participants to traverse the maze, periodically answer orientation questions, obtain a target object, and exit the maze as quickly as possible. One hundred twenty participants were evaluated in six different conditions. There were two control conditions (paper map or compass prior to entering the maze), and four experimental conditions (combinations of egocentric and exocentric maps, and continuously on or on-demand map display). Performance measures consisted of duration of time to traverse the maze and percentage of maze covered. AR resulted in better performance than the control conditions in terms of accuracy by facilitating the participants’ coverage of the maze. Results show that the better performance with respect to time was in the map control condition. This result may be due to the small size of the maze, which could be memorized. However, AR is expected to exhibit better performance compared to a paper map, when more complex environments are employed. These results demonstrate promising benefits in mobile AR usage in specific navigation tasks. Design guidelines were extracted to guide future AR systems continued progress in enhancing performance.

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