Investigating User Embodiment of Inverse-Kinematic Avatars in Smartphone AR

Smartphone Augmented Reality (AR) has already provided us with a plethora of social applications such as Pokemon Go or Harry Potter Wizards Unite. However, to enable smartphone AR for social applications similar to VRChat or AltspaceVR, proper user tracking is necessary to accurately animate the avatars. In Virtual Reality (VR), avatar tracking is rather easy due to the availability of hand-tracking, controllers, and HMD whereas smartphone AR has only the back- (and front) camera and IMUs available for this task. In this paper we propose ARIKA , a tracking solution for avatars in smartphone AR. ARIKA uses tracking information from ARCore to track the users hand position and to calculate a pose using Inverse Kinematics ( IK). We compare the accuracy of our system against a commercial motion tracking system and compare both systems with respect to sense of agency, self-location, and body-ownership. For this, 20 participants observed their avatars in an augmented virtual mirror and executed a navigation and a pointing task. Our results show that participants felt a higher sense of agency and self location when using the full body tracked avatar as opposed to IK avatars. Interestingly and in favor of ARIKA, there were no significant differences in body-ownership between our solution and the full-body tracked avatars. Thus, ARIKA and it’s single-camera approach is valid solution for smartphone AR applications where body-ownership is essential.

Presentation at ISMAR