Sunday, March 26th, 2017

The Value of 3-D in Moments of Visual Dominance


April 6, 2016, GPU Technology Conference, San Jose, CA—Tom Curtin from Dimension Technology discussed the value of providing 3-D information to users in situations of visual dominance. Visual computing and glasses-free 3-D displays can help users to improve performance.

3-D content that is displayed to users can help to improve situational awareness and improve real-time decision making. Command and control functions for man-in-the-loop functions for both in harms way and remote need to provide good information display for safety and security. This function calls for accurate stereo depth cues.

Situational awareness calls for the following: perceive, comprehend, project scenario, decide, and act. For example, the Naval Flight Command considers response times for aircraft as follows:

Function Time Total time
See 0.1 0.1
Identify 1.0 1.1
Collision 5.0 6.1
Decide 4.0 10.1
Take Action 0.4 10.5
Wait for Response 2.0 12.5

Situational awareness is visually dominant with over 50 percent of the brain engaged in the event. Colavita described the effects where the visual functions in the brain dominate in high stress conditions.

Usually, however, most data are in 2-D. developers have tried to enhance the information transfer by adding 2-D depth cues like motion parallax, perspective, relative size, familiar structures, occlusion, texture graders, and elevation. These additional features help, but the user is still overwhelmed with masses of data.

Studies have shown that users need stereo. Stereo views improve perception and the relative picture in space. The shape and volume of objects and segregation of complex shapes is better in stereo. Users are also better at detecting camouflaged objects and have a better perception of the surface and its features.

Many studies over the past 40 years have shown over 18 percent improvement in performance over non-stereo views. Stereoscopic displays can de-clutter complex flight displays and, due to the reduced reaction times, provide the time for an additional corrective action.

All of the advantages of stereo vision come at a price. The additional challenges of 3-D include the requirements to address disparity, accommodation, and convergence, as well as greatly increased computational needs. User comfort is also important if the user has to use the 3-D display for extended periods.

The applications for 3-D displays include complex scenes, functions where the user has to spatially manipulate real or virtual objects, find-identify-classify objects, and medical applications like tele-robotic surgery.

The beneficiaries of 3-D displays are all who have to use intense focus for a long time, like air traffic controllers, pilots of manned and unmanned aircraft, drivers, surgeons, etc. In addition, some researchers who are working with complex models can benefit in being better able to visualize their data and physical models.

Stereoscopic data displays improve effectiveness, efficiency, and accuracy while reducing errors, especially false positives. To be useful and comfortable, the 3-D display has to be glasses free. The display must have good image quality, provide accurate stereo depth cues, be reliable, and have full resolution and brightness compared to 2-D displays. The display should allow variable viewing positions, which can be implemented with head-tracking.

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