22 June 2001 Operator performance evaluation of controlled depth of field in a stereographically displayed virtual environment
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Retinal blurring resulting from the human eye's depth of focus has been shown to assist visual perception. Infinite focal depth within stereoscopically displayed virtual environments may cause undesirable effects, for instance, objects positioned at a distance in front of or behind the observer's fixation point will be perceived in sharp focus with large disparities thereby causing diplopia. Although published research on incorporation of synthetically generated Depth of Field (DoF) suggests that this might act as an enhancement to perceived image quality, no quantitative testimonies of perceptional performance gains exist. This may be due to the difficulty of dynamic generation of synthetic DoF where focal distance is actively linked to fixation distance. In this paper, such a system is described. A desktop stereographic display is used to project a virtual scene in which synthetically generated DoF is actively controlled from vergence-derived distance. A performance evaluation experiment on this system which involved subjects carrying out observations in a spatially complex virtual environment was undertaken. The virtual environment consisted of components interconnected by pipes on a distractive background. The subject was tasked with making an observation based on the connectivity of the components. The effects of focal depth variation in static and actively controlled focal distance conditions were investigated. The results and analysis are presented which show that performance gains may be achieved by addition of synthetic DoF. The merits of the application of synthetic DoF are discussed.
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Julian P. Brooker, Julian P. Brooker, Paul M. Sharkey, Paul M. Sharkey, "Operator performance evaluation of controlled depth of field in a stereographically displayed virtual environment", Proc. SPIE 4297, Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems VIII, (22 June 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.430841; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.430841

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