Evaluating the effects of image persistence on dynamic target acquisition in low frame rate virtual environments
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User performance in virtual environments with degraded visual conditions due to low frame rates is an interesting area of inquiry. Visual content shown in a low frame rate simulation has the quality of the original image, but persists for an extended period until the next frame is displayed (so-called high persistence - HP). An alternative, called low persistence (LP), involves displaying the rendered frame for a single display frame and blanking the screen while waiting for the next frame to be generated. Previous research has evaluated the usefulness of the LP technique in low frame rate simulations during a static target acquisition task. To gain greater knowledge about the LP technique, we have conducted a user study to evaluate user performance and learning during a dynamic target acquisition task. The acquisition task was evaluated under a high frame rate, (60 fps) condition, a traditional low frame rate HP condition (10 fps), and the experimental low frame rate LP technique. The task involved the acquisition of targets moving along several different trajectories, modeled after a shotgun trap shooting task. The results of our study indicate the LP condition approaches high frame rate performance within certain classes of target trajectories. Interestingly we also see that learning is consistent across conditions, indicating that it may not always be necessary to train under a visually high frame rate system to learn a particular task. We discuss implications of using the LP technique to mitigate low frame rate issues as well as for training both virtual and real world tasks.