The Impact of Dynamic Convergence on the Human Visual System in Head Mounted Displays
The Accommodation-Vergence Conflict (AVC) is a phenomenon in the area of Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs) and one of the key issues hindering the popularity of HMDs largely due to it causing a large number of users to suffer from simulator sickness. There have been several proposed solutions developed by previous researchers, including the introduction of 'Dynamic Convergence' (DC) which, addresses the AVC problem in terms of the vergence depth cue. DC also helps in the performance of binocular fusion when viewing at a close vergence depth. As of yet however, DC has not undergone detailed testing for a number of important cases, which limits the amount of data that has been collected on DC's interaction with the human visual system. In addition, no DC research as of yet has dealt with the effect of a change in vergence depth, and how that change in the vergence angle of the focal plane would effect a user. Thus, this thesis adds to the growing body of research and knowledge in this field by implementing DC with the addition of some transitions between a change in vergence depth. This is done within the Unity3D game engine in order to further investigate the impact of DC with regard to viewing close virtual objects on HMDs through a number of cases. The added transitions are also tested to see if they have any beneficial effects for users when the vergence angle changes. The investigation is centered around a perception based performance/appreciation-oriented visual study whereby participants were asked about their ability to perform binocular fusion on close virtual objects that were either stationary or moving and varying distances and speeds. Participants were also asked to report any symptoms of discomfort. The research has adopted a mixed methodology experimental approach by conducting user experiments and surveys, before analysing the results through both in-depth quantitative statistical analysis and a variety of qualitative statistical techniques in order to measure and investigate the scale of the problem associated with the impact of DC on the human visual system in HMDs when viewing close virtual objects. From the investigation it was confirmed that the approximate effective vergence depth range for DC was 0.3m or less, with statistical significance confirmed at the 0.15m distance. Participants reported having an easier time performing binocular fusion at these closer distances while DC was enabled. As a result of this, the majority of cases and scenarios did not report any significant negative responses in terms of discomfort symptoms. However attempts at improving DC with a transition between vergence depths were met with a mixed response from participants. While the need of a transition way be dependent on the user, there still exists some demand for one, thus it should still be available as an option.