Improving Digital Object Alignment and Real-Time Visualization via Real-Life Object Tracking

Author: ORCID icon
Spaeth, Joseph, Computer Science - School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Heo, Seongkook, Computer Science, University of Virginia

Augmented reality provides a unique opportunity to interact with both physical and digital objects simultaneously. However, the process of visualizing digital objects alongside physical ones can cause friction, particularly in cases where the user desires precise alignment of the digital and physical objects. To resolve this we offload the process of moving digital objects with one's hand to the use of a marker instead. By having an independent object handle the position and rotation of a digital object one can place the marker in an arbitrary place and ensure it is both static and non-rotating, allowing for more precise interactions regarding placing and inspecting the object in question. Object tracking inherently handles position and orientation in 3D space, and we independently handle scaling using a context-sensitive menu disconnected from the object. This also allows for more accurate visualization of digital objects alongside large physical ones which may not be easily manipulated by a user. We compare this implementation to a baseline system based on the Microsoft Mixed Reality Toolkit's (MRTK) implementation of these object manipulation interactions to determine its efficacy and usability compared to existing methods. After testing our object tracking implementation against a baseline implementation of object transformation, rotation, and scaling. This implementation relies on mid-air gestures, where one pinches and grasps an object to translate and rotate it, and uses a 2 handed pinch-and-stretch input for scaling, as well as a 3 DOF scaling option where one can pinch and drag the corners of a bounding box surrounding the object to scale it along each axis independently. We find that there is a statistically significant difference in completion for 3 of the 4 tasks we asked users to perform and a significant difference in their preference toward our system over the control. This implies object tracking with markers is both a more efficient method of aligning and scaling objects as well as better accepted by users.

MS (Master of Science)
Augmented Reality, UI, UX, Input Methods, 3D Visualization, Object Manipulation
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