UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reconciling pixels and percept : improving spatial visual fidelity with a fishbowl virtual reality display Zhou, Qian


Virtual Reality (VR) has fundamentally changed how we can perceive three-dimensional (3D) objects in a virtual world by providing pictorial representations as 3D digital percepts rather than traditional 2D digital percepts. However, the way we perceive virtual objects is fundamentally different from the way we perceive real objects that surround us every day. Therefore, there exists a perceptual gap between the virtual and real world. The research described in this dissertation is driven by a desire to provide consistent perception between the two worlds. Bridging the perceptual gap between virtual and physical world is challenging because it requires both understanding technical problems such as modeling, rendering, calibration and sensing, but also understanding how human perceive 3D space. We focus on a Fishbowl VR display to investigate the perceptual gap by introducing new techniques and conducting empirical studies to improve the visual fidelity of digital 3D displays. To create a seamless high-resolution spherical display, we create an automatic calibration approach to eliminate artifacts and blend multiple projections with sub-millimeter accuracy for a multiple-projector spherical display. We also perform an end-to-end error analysis of the 3D visualization, which provides guidelines and requirements for system components. To understand human perception with the Fishbowl VR display, we conduct a user experiment (N=16) to compare spatial perception on the Fishbowl VR display with a traditional flat VR display. Results show the spherical screen provides better depth and size perception in a way closer to the real world. As the virtual objects are depicted by pixels on 2D screens, a perceptual duality exists between the on-screen imagery and the 3D percept which potentially impairs perceptual consistency. We conduct two studies (N=29) and show the influence of the on-screen imagery causing perceptual bias in size perception. We show that adding stereopsis and using weak perspective projection can alleviate perceptual bias. The explorations from this dissertation lay the groundwork for reconciling pixels with percept and pave the way for future studies, interactions and applications.

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