A computer game made simpler through invisible and visible attention grabbing cues shown on Head-Mounted Display and/or standard desktop display


Peripheral Interaction research (e..g. http://www.peripheralinteraction.com) points to the possibility of making computer systems interact with users through “implicit output”, stimuli which the user doesn’t pay conscious attention to (e.g blinking pixels in the periphery of the visual field of view) but anyway draws the users attention in a certain direction. The potential gain would be that computer systems could inform and help the user without interrupting or distracting her/him from the task currently in focus.


The goal of this thesis project is to augment an existing simple 2D computer game of your choice (e.g. Tetris or Pong) with visual stimuli that potentially helps the player to perform better in the game. Three gaming conditions are to be compared in the final evaluation of the project: the performance of users playing the 1) non-augmented game; the game augmented with explicit (noticeable) visual cues; the game augmented with implicit/peripheral (unnoticeable) visual cues.


The student(s) will develop a prototype system based on either a) a standard desktop display or b) a Head-Mounted display (your choice) on which the game environment and the visual cues are to be shown. The main challenge is predicted to be the controlled production of sub-treshold stimuli.

Related work

Pfleging, B., Henze, N., Schmidt, A., Rau, D., and Reitschuster, B. (2013) Influence of subliminal cueing on visual search tasks. In CHI ’13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1269-1274. DOI=10.1145/2468356.2468583 http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2468356.2468583

Hausen, D. (2014) Peripheral Interaction – Exploring the Design Space. PhD thesis, University of Munich, Germany. <link to downloadable pdf>

Bakker, S. (2013) Design for Peripheral Interaction. PhD thesis, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. <link to downloadable pdf>

Technology involved

If going for the desktop display solution, an existing widescreen AMD FreeSync variable refresh rate monitor will be used. If going for the HMD solution an appropriate device (e.g. Oculus Rift) will be acquired and used. For calibrating and designing the peripheral stimuli, an existing high-speed camera will be used.


Thomas Pederson, Dan Witzner Hansen