Design and Evaluation of Hybrid Avatars

Augmented reality (AR) allows its users to see virtual avatars embedded in physical space. Given recent technological advances, the study of avatar perception in such a context seems to have gained in importance. Indeed, user “avatarization” in AR is a powerful tool for influencing cognition and altering human physiology in real-life situations beyond what VR currently offers. The ability to virtually embody a different body without leaving the real world opens the door to many applications in education, communication, entertainment, fashion, education or even the medical field.
The objectives of our research are as follows:

  • To identify the opportunities and challenges associated with the implementation and deployment of AR embodiment systems,
  • To gain a deeper understanding of the perception of AR embodiment,
  • To create innovative interactions that will enable natural and effective control of AR avatars.

Being an Avatar “for Real”: a Survey on Virtual Embodiment in Augmented Reality

To begin our exploration, a literature survey was conducted on the sense of embodying an avatar in AR. Our goal was to provide a guide to the implementation challenges and psychological aspects of body ownership illusions in AR. In order to better describe and classify the surveyed literature, we introduced a taxonomy of virtual user representation in the form of a “body avatarization continuum”. Our analysis suggests that mixed environments are well capable of hosting virtual embodiment illusions comparable to those previously observed in Virtual Reality. However, many aspects of avatar perception remain unexplored in AR and it is possible that influencing factors specific to AR environments exist.

Virtual, Real or Mixed: How Surrounding Objects Influence the Sense of Embodiment in Optical See-through Experiences?

We investigated whether the content of AR environments could influence the embodied experience of avatars. To do so, we conducted a study comparing the feeling of embodiment towards virtual robot hands in three different real environments, each containing an increasing amount of virtual objects. From our results, it appears that participants feel stronger ownership of virtual hands when other virtual elements are present in their field of view than when the hands are the only virtual content.

Exploring the Real World with your Avatar

Our efforts are now focused on controlling self-avatars in AR and how to use them during third-person embodiment. By projecting our self-avatar into physical space, we can increase body self-awareness, simulate gestures and actions, explore physical space from a distance, or interact with inaccessible people. We will explore which methods of interaction are best suited to each particular context.

Videos

Publications

Adélaïde Genay, Anatole Lécuyer, Martin Hachet. Being an Avatar “for Real”: A Survey on Virtual Embodiment in Augmented Reality. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (in process of being published).

Adélaïde Genay, Anatole Lécuyer, Martin Hachet. Virtual, Real or Mixed: How Surrounding Objects Influence the Sense of Embodiment in Optical See-Through Experiences? Frontiers in Virtual Reality, Frontiers, 2021, 2, pp.1-15. ⟨10.3389/frvir.2021.679902⟩. ⟨hal-03251661

Adélaïde Genay, Anatole Lécuyer, Martin Hachet. Incarner un Avatar en Réalité Augmentée : Revue de la Littérature. WACAI 2020 – Workshop sur les Affects, Compagnons artificiels et Interactions, CNRS, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, Université de Bordeaux, Jun 2020, Saint Pierre d’Oléron, France. ⟨hal-02933477

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