Natural perspective projections for head-mounted displays

Frank Steinicke, Gerd Bruder, Scott Kuhl, Pete Willemsen, Markus Lappe, Klaus Hinrichs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The display units integrated in today's head-mounted displays (HMDs) provide only a limited field of view (FOV) to the virtual world. In order to present an undistorted view to the virtual environment (VE), the perspective projection used to render the VE has to be adjusted to the limitations caused by the HMD characteristics. In particular, the geometric field of view (GFOV), which defines the virtual aperture angle used for rendering of the 3D scene, is set up according to the display field of view (DFOV). A discrepancy between these two fields of view distorts the geometry of the VE in a way that either minifies or magnifies the imagery displayed to the user. It has been shown that this distortion has the potential to affect a user's perception of the virtual space, sense of presence, and performance on visual search tasks. In this paper, we analyze the user's perception of a VE displayed in a HMD, which is rendered with different GFOVs. We introduce a psychophysical calibration method to determine the HMD's actual field of view, which may vary from the nominal values specified by the manufacturer. Furthermore, we conducted two experiments to identify perspective projections for HMDs, which are identified as natural by subjects-even if these perspectives deviate from the perspectives that are inherently defined by the DFOV. In the first experiment, subjects had to adjust the GFOV for a rendered virtual laboratory such that their perception of the virtual replica matched the perception of the real laboratory, which they saw before the virtual one. In the second experiment, we displayed the same virtual laboratory, but restricted the viewing condition in the real world to simulate the limited viewing condition in a HMD environment. We found that subjects evaluate a GFOV as natural when it is larger than the actual DFOV of the HMD-in some cases up to 50 percenteven when subjects viewed the real space with a limited field of view.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5620907
Pages (from-to)888-899
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors of this work are supported by the German Science Foundation DFG 29160938, DFG 29160962, DFG LA-952/3, and DFG LA-952/4, German Ministry for Innovation, Science, Research and Technology in Northrhine-Westfalia and the EU, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research project Visuo-spatial Cognition, and the EC Project Eyeshots.


  • Virtual reality
  • field of view
  • head-mounted displays


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