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Everyday augmented reality

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Category: research Video duration: Everyday augmented reality
Computer Science professor and Director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech, Doug Bowman researches immersive virtual environments. As the principal investigator of the 3D Interaction Group, his research focuses on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Students in his lab demonstrate research on user interfaces with AR glasses that may one day replace the need for smartphones and computer screens.

We think that augmented reality is going to be a key technology in the very near future. The goal of the lab is to look at how to design virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications and experiences so that they are useful, usable, productive, satisfying. We've run a variety of studies on how everyday AR might affect people's lives in the future. And so for example, we gave AR headsets to people to take home for a week and to use in their everyday activities as a replacement for their smartphone. A really interesting finding from this study was that people reported that they were actually less distracted by the AR apps, than there were by the apps on their own smartphones. In this project, one decision that we took was to use the Microsoft HoloLens because the headset is semi-transparent so I can see the real environment behind it. And then it just displays the virtual content on top of that. And that's the biggest benefit of virtual display. You can just create display when you need it. Get rid of it when you don't need it. And then you can change the size, you can change the aspect ratio, you and move sideways. It can do anything. The hope is that it will replace your physical devices. So you're not limited to a small mobile phone screen or a small monitor. So then ideally in the future, you have like a pair of eyeglasses that is just similar to your regular eyeglasses. It's not as heavy. It's not as distracting. It's not as uncomfortable. So we're really trying to design these user experiences that are calm and that allow you to get a quick glance at the information and then back to what you're doing in the real world. So we think that we can actually design this everyday AR in such a way that is less distracting or less obtrusive, then your smartphone currently is.