Exploring the Preferences for Anticipated Use of Head-Mounted Displays

Exploring the Preferences for Anticipated Use of Head-Mounted Displays

Niek Zuidhof (Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Enschede, The Netherlands) and Somaya Ben Allouch (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/IJMHCI.2019100104
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Head-mounted displays (HMDs) have been available for several years now, but uptake has been slow so far. The objective of this study was to gain insight into preferences on anticipated use in the early phase of HMDs with augmented reality. A survey was conducted among Dutch students following a nursing or social work education (N=100). Results showed that almost nobody had ever used a HMD. The areas of high interest of anticipated use of HMDs lies especially in receiving information regarding emergencies via the HMD if something is happening close to people's physical location and news and general information about physical location. For potential use functionalities, the most interesting functions reported by respondents were using HMDs for hands-free calling and receiving information about their behavioral patterns with regard to movement. The attitudes towards receiving non-visible cues in social interaction such as detecting stress levels or mood were all reported with a negative attitude. More than half of the respondents reported to have an intention to use a HMD in the future.
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Information and communication technologies rapidly evolved over the past years. Technology now becomes more and more part of people’s personal space and are literally body worn with the introduction of smartwatches and smartglasses. Head Mounted Displays (HMDs) are not new to the field, the first HMD was introduced in the 1960s (Sutherland, 1968) and augmented reality became a research area on its own in the 1990s (Wagner, 2007). Recent examples of HMDs are Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens. According to Azuma’s definition of augmented reality, it is a system with three characteristics: “ 1) combine the real and virtual, 2) interactive in real-time and 3) registered in 3-D” (Azuma, 1997, p.2). Microsoft Hololens meets these characteristics, but Google Glass on the other hand, uses 2-D overlays and is not interactive in real-time. Although there is a discussion in the field that not all HMDs deliver augmented reality according to Azuma’s definition, they still share the same characteristic of seamless integration between data and reality (de Valk, 2015). Initial observations show that most people can not tell the difference between HMDs with augmented reality and HMDs without. For this study on smart HMDs in general, every recent HMD with an augmenting experience which was launched in the last ten years is applicable.

The media has portrayed emotional reactions from people towards HMDs. Firstly, a user of Google Glass reported that people got angry and thought they were recorded by him using his HMD. And he was photographed as well by non-users (Honan, 2013). Another user of Google Glass reported that she was attacked and ripped off her HMD in a bar (Ladhani, 2014). Then Google published rules for not being a ‘Glasshole’ (Google, 2014). Other entities have also voiced their concerns on privacy, e.g. the Dutch Data Protection Commission wanted more explanation on how the Google Glass processes collected data (NOS, 2013). Given these examples, it becomes apparent how the subjects of privacy and data management dominate the discussion around HMDs.

Earlier conducted user studies were dominantly held in laboratory settings and despite the buzz around HMDs, the research addressing the end user perceptions is still very scarce (Häkkilä, Vahabpour, Colley, Väyrynen, & Koskela, 2015). In a real-life context, a Dutch hospital started a pilot and used an HMD for wound care with telecommunication between a specialist and a nurse (Careaz, 2014). Some research has also been conducted with HMDs and surgery (Templeman, Morales, Symes, & Roggen, 2016) and children with autism (Keshav, Salisbury, Vahabzadeh, & Sahin, 2017). HMDs are still in an early phase of adoption and studies on users’ perspectives with regard to HMDs can contribute to further development and the implementation in real life and employment contexts.

This study is part of a series of studies aimed at the exploration of anticipated use of HMDs, to get more insight into the acceptance and appropriation process in the early development phase of HMDs. In this article, user preferences are presented with regard to the anticipated use of HMDs. The following research question was addressed: What are users’ preferences with regard to the anticipated use of Head Mounted Displays? This study will contribute to the knowledge of the acceptance and use of HMDs. The findings might assist designers and developers of these technologies as well since they are still in an early development phase.

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