Empathic Computing is a research field that aims to use technology to create deeper shared understanding or empathy between people. At the same time, Mixed Reality (MR) technology provides an immersive experience that can make an ideal interface for collaboration. In this paper, we present some of our research into how MR technology can be applied to creating Empathic Computing experiences. This includes exploring how to share gaze in a remote collaboration between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) environments, using physiological signals to enhance collaborative VR, and supporting interaction through eye-gaze in VR. Early outcomes indicate that as we design collaborative interfaces to enhance empathy between people, this could also benefit the personal experience of the individual interacting with the interface.
Eye tracking technology in a head-mounted display has undergone rapid advancement in recent years, making it possible for researchers to explore new interaction techniques using natural eye movements. This paper explores three novel eye-gaze-based interaction techniques: (1) Duo-Reticles, eye-gaze selection based on eye-gaze and inertial reticles, (2) Radial Pursuit, cluttered-object selection that takes advantage of smooth pursuit, and (3) Nod and Roll, head-gesture-based interaction based on the vestibulo-ocular reflex. In an initial user study, we compare each technique against a baseline condition in a scenario that demonstrates its strengths and weaknesses.
Interfaces for collaborative tasks, such as multiplayer games can enable more effective and enjoyable collaboration. However, in these systems, the emotional states of the users are often not communicated properly due to their remoteness from one another. In this paper, we investigate the effects of showing emotional states of one collaborator to the other during an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) gameplay experience. We created two collaborative immersive VR games that display the real-time heart-rate of one player to the other. The two different games elicited different emotions, one joyous and the other scary. We tested the effects of visualizing heart-rate feedback in comparison with conditions where such a feedback was absent. The games had significant main effects on the overall emotional experience.
Teaching English to children who do not come from an English speaking background is an interesting challenge for educators. In this paper, we present an Augmented reality (AR) tool, TeachAR, for teaching basic English words (colors, shapes, and prepositions) to children for whom English is not a native language. In a pilot study we compare our AR system to a traditional non-AR system. The results indicate a potentially better learning outcome using the TeachAR system than the traditional system. It also showed that children enjoyed using AR-based methods. However, it also showed a few usability issues with the TeachAR interface, which we will improve on in the future.