Last edited 06dec10 by

FlightHeight: 3D View Cues You Use


The purpose of this project is to discover what visual cues are the most important to the brain in maintaining a constant altitude. By starting with a simple environment and then adding visual cues, I will isolate factors which aid or fool the mind into perceiving more than it sees.


General Layout

In the control experiment of FlightHeight, the user is in an airplane flying over flat terrain, with the goal of maintaining constant altitude; modest wind buffets the plane to make this task more difficult. In each new experiment, the plane flies in a modified environment, and the computer records his or her success (for later analysis).

The key to this project is finding cues which affect the altitude constancy in interesting ways. In order to be able to analyze these effects, only one independent variable should be manipulated per test. Thus, the environment will necessarily begin very simply.

Current State

As of the end of this semester (December 9, 2010), base.cpp is only the base of the planned experiment. I have a terrain, a means of flying, a buffeting wind, a modifiable distractor, and an altitude output.

Needed Improvements

-The terrain and grid are currently arbitrary. Ideally, the grid would be composed of strips rather than lines, and the dimensions and layout of both grid and terrain would be customizable.
-The output should be a graph of altitude, as well as average altitude and standard deviation, rather than a string of numbers.
-Wind strength and patterns should be modifiable and too complex to even slightly predict.
-Most importantly, many further tests in 2D and 3D need to be developed.


For FlightHeight source code, contact George Francis or David Schmid.

Similar tests have been done professionally here . And here .
A general discussion of vision and 3D display systems can be found here .