CandyDream: Manifest the Invisible

Virtual Reality (VR) provides immersive experiences in the virtual world, but may potentially reduce or even remove users’ awareness of their physical surroundings, resulting in safety concerns and psychological discomfort. Hence, there is a clear need for ambient information design to increase users’ situational awareness (SA) of critical elements (people and objects) in those parts of the physical space that are reachable in the virtual world. This is challenging, since an overly strong awareness of the actual reality may interfere with a user’s sense of virtual presence. In this paper, we explore the efficacy of five representational fidelities (indexical, symbolic, and iconic with three emotions) of ambient entities in VR. Through an empirical study, we evaluate participants’ SA and potential breaks in presence (BIP) given each of the five designs, while performing tasks that requires movement in space. Results show that all five designs can evoke SA, but to various extents, while consistency with the immersive environment can mitigate BIP.

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