In the companion paper, Watson et al. (1997), we demonstrated the effectiveness of using perceptual criteria to select the amount of detail that is displayed in an immersive virtual reality (VR) system. Based upon this determination, we will now attempt to develop a principled, perceptually oriented framework to automatically select the appropriate level of detail (LOD) for each object in a scene, taking into consideration the limitations of the human visual system. We apply knowledge and theories from the domain of visual perception to the field of VR, thus optimizing the visual information presented to the user based upon solid metrics of human vision. Through a series of contrast grating experiments, a user's visual acuity may be assessed in terms of spatial frequency (c/deg) and contrast. The results of these tests can be modeled mathematically using a contrast sensitivity function (CSF). Therefore, we can use the CSF results to estimate how much visual detail the user can perceive in an object at any instant. Then, if we could describe this object in terms of its spatial frequencies, this would enable us to select the lowest LOD available without the user being able to perceive any visual change.

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