Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Authors: Schwind, Valentin
Title: Implications of the uncanny valley of avatars and virtual characters for human-computer interaction
Issue Date: 2018 Dissertation 304
Abstract: Technological innovations made it possible to create more and more realistic figures. Such figures are often created according to human appearance and behavior allowing interaction with artificial systems in a natural and familiar way. In 1970, the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori observed, however, that robots and prostheses with a very - but not perfect - human-like appearance can elicit eerie, uncomfortable, and even repulsive feelings. While real people or stylized figures do not seem to evoke such negative feelings, human depictions with only minor imperfections fall into the "uncanny valley," as Mori put it. Today, further innovations in computer graphics led virtual characters into the uncanny valley. Thus, they have been subject of a number of disciplines. For research, virtual characters created by computer graphics are particularly interesting as they are easy to manipulate and, thus, can significantly contribute to a better understanding of the uncanny valley and human perception. For designers and developers of virtual characters such as in animated movies or games, it is important to understand how the appearance and human-likeness or virtual realism influence the experience and interaction of the user and how they can create believable and acceptable avatars and virtual characters despite the uncanny valley. This work investigates these aspects and is the next step in the exploration of the uncanny valley. This dissertation presents the results of nine studies examining the effects of the uncanny valley on human perception, how it affects interaction with computing systems, which cognitive processes are involved, and which causes may be responsible for the phenomenon. Furthermore, we examine not only methods for avoiding uncanny or unpleasant effects but also the preferred characteristics of virtual faces. We bring the uncanny valley into context with related phenomena causing similar effects. By exploring the eeriness of virtual animals, we found evidence that the uncanny valley is not only related to the dimension of human-likeness, which significantly change our view on the phenomenon. Furthermore, using advanced hand tracking and virtual reality technologies, we discovered that avatar realism is connected to other factors, which are related to the uncanny valley and depend on avatar realism. Affinity with the virtual ego and the feeling of presence in the virtual world were also affected by gender and deviating body structures such as a reduced number of fingers. Considering the performance while typing on keyboards in virtual reality, we also found that the perception of the own avatar depends on the user's individual task proficiencies. This thesis concludes with implications that not only extends existing knowledge about virtual characters, avatars and the uncanny valley but also provide new design guidelines for human-computer interaction and virtual reality.
Appears in Collections:05 Fakultät Informatik, Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
thesis.pdf43,49 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in OPUS are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.