Project: AR-WAYFINDING: An Augmented Reality Aid for Wayfinding

Partner: Uncharted Software Inc.
Dates: 2017 - Present
Participants: Jamieson, G., Hollands, J., Reiner, A. J., Vasquez, H.
Description: Wayfinding poses significant technical and human performance challenges, particularly in mission critical and time-sensitive contexts. For instance, military units negotiate unfamiliar terrain in advancing on objectives while maintaining awareness of friendly and hostile forces in the battlespace. Similarly, first responders must quickly locate and move to a crisis site, often seeking alternate routes. In these and many other less urgent situations, individuals correlate their current position in the environment with an abstract representation of that environment (i.e., a map). This task requires both well-designed maps and effective human performance of attention-switching and map interpretation skills. Digital maps try to facilitate this, with features that rotate dynamically to track-up orientation, provide dynamically updated content, annotations (like user position and routing information), time-sensitive indicators (like arrows showing an upcoming turn en-route, etc.), and can aid the user in locating points on the map. When well designed, these features can speed wayfinding. However, digital navigation technologies have not yet overcome the significant problem of context-switching between the head-down navigation aid and the head-up operating environment. Even skilled users of well-designed navigation aides must switch their attention between the map and the world while wayfinding. This attention-switching has negative impacts on task performance. Therefore, we will develop new digital wayfinding support technologies that minimize the need for, and negative effects of, attention-switching during wayfinding by closing the gap between the navigation aid and the operating environment.
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