A project in collaboration with:



S. Thanyadit, P. Punpongsanon, and T. Chuen Pong.
ObserVAR: Visualization System for Observing Virtual Reality Users
using Augmented Reality

DOI     Paper     Video    


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ObserVAR: Visualization System
for Observing Virtual Reality Users using Augmented Reality

While virtual reality (VR) tools provide an immersive learning experience for students, it is difficult for an instructor to observe the students’ learning activities in a virtual environment (VE). Thus, it hinders interactions that could occur between the instructor and students, which are usually required in a classroom environment to understand how each student learns. Previous work has added virtual awareness cues that can help a small group of students to collaborate in a VE. However, when the number of students increases, such virtual awareness cues can cause visual clutter and confuse the instructor. We propose ObserVAR, a visualization system that allows the instructor to observe students in a VE at scale. ObserVAR uses augmented reality techniques to visualize each student’s gaze in a VE and improves the instructor’s awareness of the entire class. The visualizations are then optimized to reduce visual clutter in the scene using a force-directed graph drawing algorithm. In designing ObserVAR, we first investigated visualizations that can provide the instructor with an overall awareness of the VE that can be scaled up as the number of users increases. Second, we optimized the visualization of students by leveraging a graph drawing algorithm to reduce the visual clutter in the class scene. We compared the performance of our prototype with some commercially available user interfaces for VE classrooms. In our study, ObserVAR has demonstrated improvement and flexibility in several application scenarios.

Figure 1: Differences between an existing approach and ObserVAR in observing/guiding students in VEs. Existing approach uses an icon to represent each student. The instructor relies on the 2D monitor (image: Google For Education). In our approach, the avatars represent the students. The instructor uses augmented reality (AR) to observe and instruct each student.

To summarize, this paper makes the following contributions:
  • We introduce an AR visualization technique that can scale up with the number of students in the classroom, which improves the interactions between an instructor and a group of students in a VE classroom.
  • Through our user study, we determine classroom scenarios in which ObserVAR is suitable.
  • We alleviate the occlusion problem, which usually occurs in the scale of a classroom, using a graph drawing algorithm.

For more details, please find our paper.