Tablet versus Phone: Depth Perception in Handheld Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) applications on mobile devices like smartphones and tablet computers have become increasingly popular. In this paper, for the first time in the AR domain, we present: (1) the influence of different handheld displays and (2) the exocentric depth perception. Unlike egocentric depth perception, exocentric depth perception has not been investigated in AR.

We have selected a suitable vision-based tracking method for our user studies based on a set of evaluations. Then we have investigated the effect of display size and resolution through two user studies. One study investigated the effect of different displays on egocentric depth perception. The other study investigated the effect of displays on exocentric and ordinal depth perception.

Interestingly, we noticed depth compression is less when using a mobile phone, while participants subjectively preferred a tablet. A similar effect was also noticed in exocentric depth perception. The tablet provided significantly better ordinal depth perception and faster response time than the mobile phone. In both of the studies, we found no effect of the AR X-ray visualization on depth perception. Both egocentric and exocentric distances were underestimated.