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Change blindness with varying rendering fidelity: looking but not seeing

Kirsten Cater, Alan Chalmers, Colin Dalton, Change blindness with varying rendering fidelity: looking but not seeing. In SIGGRAPH 2001 - Conference Abstracts and Applications. Dena Slothower, (eds.), pp. 154–154. August 2001. PDF, 138 Kbytes.


A major challenge in Virtual Reality is to achieve realism in interactive rates. However, the computation time required for realistic image synthesis is significant, precluding such realism in real time. One way of producing perceptually high fidelity images in reasonable times is to exploit the "flaws" in the human eye, for although the human eye is good, it isn't perfect! This sketch shows how the concept of "change blindness" may be exploited to produce realistic images of complex scenes in real-time for use on an Explorer/1 motion platform. Change blindness is the inability of the human to detect what should be obvious changes in a scene. A human can miss large changes in their field of view when they occur simultaneously with brief visual disruptions, such as an eye saccade, flicker or a blink. This concept has long been used by stunt doubles in film. We have used the onset of a blank field, mudsplashes or masking blocks each time an image is changed, creating the visual disruption. This swamps the user's local motion signals caused by a change, short-circuiting the automatic system that normally draws attention to its location. Without automatic control, attention is controlled entirely by slower, higher-level mechanisms in the visual system which search the scene, object by object, until attention finally lands upon the object that is changing. Once attention has latched onto the appropriate object, the change is easy to see, however this only occurs after exhaustive serial inspection of the scene.

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