Abstract

When walking within a CAVE-like system, accommodation distance, parallax, and angular resolution vary according to the distance between the user and the projection walls, which can alter spatial perception. As these systems get bigger, there is a need to assess the main factors influencing spatial perception in order to better design immersive projection systems and virtual reality applications. In this paper, we present two experiments that analyze distance perception when considering the distance toward the projection screens and parallax as main factors. Both experiments were conducted in a large immersive projection system with up to 10-meter interaction space. The first experiment showed that both the screen distance and parallax have a strong asymmetric effect on distance judgments. We observed increased underestimation for positive parallax conditions and slight distance overestimation for negative and zero parallax conditions. The second experiment further analyzed the factors contributing to these effects and confirmed the observed effects of the first experiment with a high-resolution projection setup providing twice the angular resolution and improved accommodative stimuli. In conclusion, our results suggest that space is the most important characteristic for distance perception, optimally requiring about 6- to 7-meter distance around the user, and virtual objects with high demands on accurate spatial perception should be displayed at zero or negative parallax.

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