Augmented Reality – eye contact with character?

Eyes are the key to any conversation. A person can communicate with their eyes without saying a single word – eyes convey emotion, attention and depth. Eye contact is a vital factor in acting and any type of communicative media, and showcases attentiveness and interest in the conversation at hand.

Why is the eye contact in AR so important?

Eye contact opens and closes the communication
Increased eye contact is associated with credibility and dominance
Lack of contact and blinking are interpreted as submissive
Empty stares communicate hostility
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What does it mean?

Eye contact with a 3D character can provide an immersive experience to the user in a well-produced AR environment. It creates believable communication between the user and the computer-generated 3D character. As AR is typically viewed through mobile devices, the AR character needs to look at the device to create eye contact. Through the use of camera tracking, the AR character will be aware of the device’s movement and can react to the user’s motion in a believable manner. It should move its head and eyes and gaze at the user’s camera, when the user is looking at the screen and be in an idle state when the user is not. We have successfully carried out this experiment with an AR character that looks at the user’s camera.

In an FPS game, the NPCs look at the player and the expression modeling establishes the emotion in the game environment – expressing torment, despair, happiness, anger, etc. We need to create a similar simulation wherein the character can establish a connection with the user and set an environment for the AR experience. In this project, we determined the camera positioning for the user. We used this positioning to create vectors that would help to move the character’s head toward the camera. The vector values are connected to the character’s neck, and is thus used to control the character’s head movement, maintaining eye contact with the user. 

Disbelief and immersion-related issues will arise if these elements are not perfectly executed. To create realism or an illusion of physical reality in the virtual world, we need to not just engage the visual ability, but all the senses of the user, in the same way as they would perceive the real world. This includes adding eye blinking and eye expression animations, sound effects and cues, realistic character design, etc.  These factors will create a more immersive and engaging augmented reality experience.

Sig hej til Pedro

Founder, Techspotter

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