Michael Murdoch, an assistant professor of color science at Rochester Institute of Technology, recently received a Faculty Early Career Development Award to research how the human visual system perceives a mix of augmented reality and real-world content.
Murdoch will build a computational model of how humans perceive the visual characteristics of AR systems — including color, brightness, depth and graphics quality — with data from experiments that test visual responses. AR often uses headsets to overlay virtual content on top of the real world, and factors ranging from transparent displays to indoor and outdoor lighting can impact what users see.
This grant from the National Science Foundation will provide funding for RIT graduate research assistants to contribute to the project by building custom optical systems, running visual experiments and building computational models.
“This is an interesting frontier of color science,” Murdoch said. “It’s focused on a new technology that has new perceptual questions. Through this project, we can learn about human perception, which both helps you understand the human visual system but also helps you design better AR systems for the future.”
While AR is becoming popular in gaming, improving the visual quality of AR content could lead to applications in the fields of education, medicine and transportation. One example Murdoch proposed is doctors overlaying an X-ray-like view of internal organs during exams or laparoscopic surgery.
Portions of the grant will be used to develop and test AR learning modules for university courses in science, math and art.