Issues with 2.5D

As long as we are discussing 2.5D interfaces, it’s only fair to talk about some of the issues with collaborating in 2.5D. In particular, imagine you are sitting across a virtual table from somebody in VR.

The two of you are in remote locations, but VR gives you both the illusion that you are physically face to face. Hiroshi Ishii published a technical paper nearly 30 years ago presenting a system called ClearBoard, in which the two people see each other as though they are looking through a mirror.

By showing the other person in mirror reversal, ClearBoard allowed both collaborators to properly read text on a screen that appears to hover in the space between them. This is something we can’t actually do in physical reality, because in the real world one of the two people would end up seeing the text backwards.

In our Future Reality Lab we’ve been playing with these sorts of interfaces. But as we have moved from 2D to 2.5D, we’ve encountered some issues.

In particular, what happens when we are both looking at a 3D object like a cube? Should we both be looking at the same face of the cube?

Or should you always be looking at the front face when I am looking at the rear face? And if I bring an object toward me to look at it more closely, should that object become more near to you as well, or further away from you as it would be in real life?

I don’t know that there is a single correct answer to these questions. One of the exciting things about doing research in this space is that we are forced to think hard about many things we’ve probably never thought about before.

2 Responses to “Issues with 2.5D”

  1. How hard would it be to code both options up (true to reality and mirrored) and let users easily toggle between them?

    Then just see which setup most people end up using most often.

  2. admin says:

    Excellent suggestion!

    We’ve been doing just that. We are finding out that different people prefer different arrangements for different tasks.

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