Dynamic awareness techniques for VR user interactions with bystanders

O’Hagan, Joseph (2023) Dynamic awareness techniques for VR user interactions with bystanders. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Virtual reality (VR) headsets are often used in shared, social, settings. However, the occlusive nature of VR headsets introduce significant barriers to a user’s awareness of, and interactions with, bystanders (individuals physically near the VR user but who cannot directly interact with the user’s virtual environment). This thesis posits that VR headsets do not sufficiently support a user’s interaction with bystanders. This thesis investigates how technology-mediated bystander awareness systems can support use of VR headsets by automatically increasing a user’s awareness of, and facilitating an interaction with, bystanders.

Survey 1 & 2 and Experiment 1 explored this by first investigating how interactions occur between bystanders and VR users and what impediments are encountered during these interactions. Experiments 2, 3, and 4 then built on this work by investigating the design of technology-mediated bystander awareness systems designed to support these interactions. Experiment 2 explored the impact of withholding a bystander’s identity and position when informing a VR user of a bystander’s co-presence, finding some users will exit VR upon being notified of bystander co-presence if they perceive the information relayed to be insufficient for contextualising the bystander. Experiments 3 and 4 explored how the audio experienced by a VR user might be manipulated to increase aural awareness of reality and facilitate a verbal interaction. Experiments 3 and 4 found automatically decreasing the audio’s volume or partially/fully removing audio components are effective audio manipulations to facilitate verbal bystander-VR user interactions.

Finally, Experiment 5, informed by the findings of all prior studies, investigated if/how a VR user’s awareness needs vary during an interaction with a bystander. Its results demonstrate that no single bystander awareness system can adequately support the awareness needs of VR users who balance a complex trade-off between awareness and immersion, individual priorities and concerns in relation to the bystander, and the influence of experiential and contextual factors.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Supervisor's Name: Williamson, Dr. Julie and Khamis, Dr. Mohamed
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83891
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2023 07:31
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2023 07:31
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/83891
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