Researchers have developed a way to make mixed reality – a reality, using a system that can augment graphics using smartphones as physical proxies.
Metaverse has unleashed tons of opportunity for experiencing our day to day tasks in a virtual way. Augmented reality(AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are enabling users to interact with their surroundings and have enhanced numerous businesses and industries. This technology has introduced another field that embodies something similar, a mixed reality which is a blend of physical and digital worlds and is based on advancements in computer vision, graphical processing, display technologies, input systems, and cloud computing.
Researchers at University of Calgary have introduced HoloTouch, a system that can augment mixed reality graphics and charts using smartphones as physical proxies. While some of their previous efforts yielded interesting results, the researchers realized that current MR and AR headsets did not support such dynamic and enhanced data visualizations.
The system combines HMDs and the touchscreens on smartphones or tablets to enhance MR visualizations. Essentially, HoloTouch allows users to “touch” and manipulate holograms that they are seeing on HMDs through their smartphone devices. Researcher Neil Chulpongsatorn explains, “the novelty of our work comes from the design space presented in the paper, and not so much the prototype. Basically, we thought a lot about how mobile phones can interact with holograms (specifically of data visualizations), compiled a reference document, and showcased some examples.”
Researchers demonstrated six different ways to interact with graphs and other data visualizations using a prototype of their system. The results of preliminary evaluations show that people generally like exploring the visualization with the proxy more than without it. Precision and tangibility stood out as strong advantages of the proxy which suggests that physical interactions with holograms is beneficial to data analysis tasks.
This new system, in near future, can enable designers and content creators to present data to students, professionals, or the public in more immersive ways.
Reference : HoloTouch: Interacting with mixed reality visualizations through smartphone proxies. CHI EA’23: Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems(2023). DOI: 10.1145/3544549.3585738. On arXiv: DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2303.08916