It’s Over There

Designing an Intelligent Virtual Agent That Can Point Accurately into the Real World

AbstractIt is challenging to design an intelligent virtual agent (IVA) that can point from the virtual to the real world and have users accurately recognize where it is pointing due to differences in perceptual cues between the two spaces. We designed an IVA with factors including: a situated display, appearance, and pointing gesture strategy to establish whether it is possible to have an IVA point accurately into the real world. With a real person pointing as a baseline, we performed an empirical study using our designed IVA and demonstrated that participants perceived the IVA’s pointing to a physical location with comparable accuracy to a real person baseline. Specifically, we found that when the IVA is 230 cm away from the targets on average, the IVA outperformed the real person in the vertical dimension (10.22 cm, 28.8% less error) and achieved the same level of accuracy (11.58 cm) horizontally. Our integrated design choices provide a foundation for design factors to consider when designing IVAs for pointing and pave the way for future studies and systems in providing accurate pointing perception.

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