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Research, design and investigation of a multiple user mixed reality system.

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Current forms of virtual technology are limited by their single-user capability per device. Additionally, these technologies are listed at expensive price ranges due to the robust technology and processing power required for operations. These were identified as research challenges when a review of virtual technologies was undertaken. Research indicated the need for a system that allowed simultaneous user viewing and interaction without requiring robust hardware or system software. This dissertation researched, designed and investigated a Mixed Reality (MR) System that allows multiple user viewing and interaction with mid-air images. Beam splitter theory was used to deliver the mid-air images on this system. Multiple user viewing was achieved through beam splitter selection of an ASKA3D Plate and the design of a novel system architecture that adjusted system components. A mechatronic actuation system was developed to automate the adjustment of system components that allowed seated and standing viewing within three height ranges. System operation and interaction were allowed through inputs on a laptop. Additionally, the implementation of gesture control was investigated using a web camera or a CaptoGlove™. The testing performed on the manufactured MR System validated the design, actuation methods, viewing method and performance of the system. The laptop’s Operating System (OS) was used to develop an MR game for entertainment testing, display images and videos for visual learning testing and operate SolidWorks™ for engineering design testing. The results of accuracy testing showed that the actuation methods had an accuracy range within the required 45-degree rotations with a highest possible error of 3° and the required vertical movements of 50 mm and 100 mm with a highest possible error of 0.5 mm. The results of repeatability testing showed the actuation methods had coefficients of variance with values less than 0.1, signifying a high repeatability. System performance was evaluated through user testing and proved the system as a tool to facilitate entertainment, education through visual learning and engineering design. Visual learning was found to be the most successful on the MR System with an average percentage rating of 100% and the overall system performance was given a rating of 80%. Actuation testing and user testing validated the hardware design, software design, electronic design and viewing method of the system. The MR System operated as intended showing successful multiple user viewing without requiring robust hardware or software for system operation. The system was limited by the defined interaction method, the lack of multiple user testing and the limited programs used for testing the system’s performance.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu- Natal, Durban.