Designers have limited tools to prototype AR experiences rapidly. Can lightweight, immediate tools let designers prototype dynamic AR interactions while capturing the nuances of a 3D experience? We interviewed three AR experts and identified several recurring issues in AR design: creating and positioning 3D assets, handling the changing user position, and orchestrating multiple animations. We introduce PROJECT PRONTO, a tablet-based video prototyping system that combines 2D video with 3D manipulation. PRONTO supports four intertwined activities: capturing 3D spatial information alongside a video scenario, positioning and sketching 2D drawings in a 3D world, and enacting animations with physical interactions. An observational study with professional designers shows that participants can use PRONTO to prototype diverse AR experiences. All participants performed two tasks: replicating a sample non-trivial AR experience and prototyping their open-ended designs. All participants completed the replication task and found PRONTO easy to use. Most participants found that PRONTO encourages more exploration of designs than their current practices.
Significant tool support exists for the development of mixed reality (MR) applications; however, there is a lack of tools for analyzing MR experiences. We elicit requirements for future tools through interviews with 8 university research, instructional, and media teams using AR/VR in a variety of domains. While we find a common need for capturing how users perform tasks in MR, the primary differences were in terms of heuristics and metrics relevant to each project. Particularly in the early project stages, teams were uncertain about what data should, and even could, be collected with MR technologies. We designed the Mixed Reality Analytics Toolkit (MRAT) to instrument MR apps via visual editors without programming and enable rapid data collection and filtering for visualizations of MR user sessions. With MRAT, we contribute flexible interaction tracking and task definition concepts, an extensible set of heuristic techniques and metrics to measure task success, and visual inspection tools with in-situ visualizations in MR. Focusing on a multi-user, cross-device MR crisis simulation and triage training app as a case study, we then show the benefits of using MRAT, not only for user testing of MR apps, but also performance tuning throughout the design process.
C-Space is an interactive prototyping platform for collaborative spatial design exploration. Spatial design projects often begin with conceptualization that includes abstract diagramming, zoning, and massing to provide a foundation for making design decisions. Specifically, abstract diagrams guide designers to explore alternative designs without thinking prematurely about the details. However, complications arise when communicating ambiguous and incomplete designs to collaborators. To overcome this drawback, designers devote considerable amounts of time and resources into searching for design references and creating rough prototypes to explicate their design concepts better. Therefore, this study proposes C-Space, a novel design support system that integrates the abstract diagram with design reference retrieval and prototyping through a tangible user interface and augmented reality. Through a user study with 12 spatial designers, we verify that C-Space promotes rapid and robust spatial design exploration, inducing collaborative discussions and motivating users to interact with designs.
Immersive authoring is an increasingly popular technique to design AR/VR scenes because design and testing can be done concurrently. Most existing systems, however, are single-user and limited to either AR or VR, thus constrained in the interaction techniques. We present XRDirector, a role-based collaborative immersive authoring system that enables designers to freely express interactions using AR and VR devices as puppets to manipulate virtual objects in 3D physical space. In XRDirector, we adapt roles known from filmmaking to structure the authoring process and help coordinate multiple designers in immersive authoring tasks. We study how novice AR/VR creators can take advantage of the roles and modes in XRDirector to prototype complex scenes with animated 3D characters, light effects, and camera movements, and also simulate interactive system behavior in a Wizard of Oz style. XRDirector's design was informed by case studies around complex 3D movie scenes and AR/VR games, as well as workshops with novice AR/VR creators. We show that XRDirector makes it easier and faster to create AR/VR scenes without the need for coding, characterize the issues in coordinating designers between AR and VR, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each role and mode to mitigate the issues.
Remote assistance represents an important use case for mixed reality. With the rise of handheld and wearable devices, remote assistance has become practical in the wild. However, spontaneous provisioning of remote assistance requires an easy, fast and robust approach for capturing and sharing of unprepared environments. In this work, we make a case for utilizing interactive light fields for remote assistance. We demonstrate the advantages of object representation using light fields over conventional geometric reconstruction. Moreover, we introduce an interaction method for quickly annotating light fields in 3D space without requiring surface geometry to anchor annotations. We present results from a user study demonstrating the effectiveness of our interaction techniques, and we provide feedback on the usability of our overall system.