PhD Defense by Iulian Radu

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Tuesday July 26, 2016
      12:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  • Location: TSRB 222
  • Phone:
  • URL:
  • Email:
  • Fee(s):
  • Extras:
No contact information submitted.

Summary Sentence: : Exploring the Usability of Augmented Reality Interaction Techniques During Children's Early Elementary-School Years

Full Summary: No summary paragraph submitted.

Iulian Radu

PhD Candidate in Human Centered Computing

School of Interactive Computing

Georgia Institute of Technology


Dissertation Title: Exploring the Usability of Augmented Reality Interaction Techniques During Children's Early Elementary-School Years


Date: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Time: 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM EDT

Location: TSRB 222




Dr. Blair MacIntyre (Advisor, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech)

Dr. Ashok Goel (School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech)

Dr. Ellen Do (School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech)

Dr. Alissa Antle (School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University)

Dr. Stella Lourenco (School of Psychology, Emory University)





Augmented reality (AR) has been shown to have measurable benefits in enriching children's lives, by advancing education through in-situ 3D visualizations, providing entertainment through whole-body interaction, and enhancing physical & cognitive rehabilitation through motivational engagement. Although such experiences were typically confined to desktop computers, the increasing popularity of mobile devices is expected to make AR accessible to large amount of children. In order to realize these benefits, technology designers need to create experiences that are usable by children. Handheld AR interfaces are different from more traditional interfaces, by being small portable windows into physical spaces augmented with digital content, and their use may require users to employ more complex motor and cognitive skills than compared to traditional interfaces. Due to the novelty of handheld AR technology, there are no standard interaction techniques for handheld AR, and little is known about children's ability to use these interfaces. 


In the current research, I address the following questions: What types of usability issues do elementary-school children experience with smartphone-based handheld augmented reality? How do children’s age and previous experience impact performance and usability issues encountered? and, how do different handheld AR interaction techniques compare, in terms of performance and usability issues encountered by children? 


In order to address these questions, I first constructed several commercial and prototype educational AR games for young children, and studied their educational potential as well as children's ability to use these games. I contributed analyses of how augmented reality can be applied in educational contexts. Further, I generated a usability framework that organizes the usability issues observed in my studies and in existing literature on AR systems for children, discusses relationships between developmental psychology literature and children's AR usability, and provides guidelines for designing AR for children. Finally, I performed a systematic study of children 5-10 years old using handheld augmented reality, as they played a smartphone-based AR game using 4 interaction technique conditions. Children's performance and usability problems were analyzed through quantitative and qualitative methods. This research identifies significant differences between the performance of children across the elementary-school age range (e.g. significant changes, occurring around 7 years, in children's ability select items quickly while reorienting their body in a 3D space), identifies a variety of usability issues encountered by children of different ages (e.g. the detrimental effects that previous exposure to non-AR technology has, on children's ability to work with AR tracking technology), and identifies links to cognitive and physical developmental skills that underlie AR performance (e.g. crosshair-based selections employ more hand-eye coordination than finger-based selections). This research concludes with guidelines for designers of handheld AR technology for young children.

Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

Graduate Studies

Invited Audience
Phd Defense
  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jul 18, 2016 - 6:11am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 10:18pm