Real-time tracking of visually attended objects in interactive virtual environments

Sungkil Lee, Gerard Jounghyun Kim, Seungmoon Choi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a real-time framework for computationally tracking objects visually attended by the user while navigating in interactive virtual environments. In addition to the conventional bottom-up (stimulus-driven) features, the framework also uses topdown (goal-directed) contexts to predict the human gaze. The framework first builds feature maps using preattentive features such as luminance, hue, depth, size, and motion. The feature maps are then integrated into a single saliency map using the center-surround difference operation. This pixel-level bottom-up saliency map is converted to an object-level saliency map using the item buffer. Finally, the top-down contexts are inferred from the user's spatial and temporal behaviors during interactive navigation and used to select the most plausibly attended object among candidates produced in the object saliency map. The computational framework was implemented using the GPU and exhibited extremely fast computing performance (5.68 msec for a 256X256 saliency map), substantiating its adequacy for interactive virtual environments. A user experiment was also conducted to evaluate the prediction accuracy of the visual attention tracking framework with respect to actual human gaze data. The attained accuracy level was well supported by the theory of human cognition for visually identifying a single and multiple attentive targets, especially due to the addition of top-down contextual information. The framework can be effectively used for perceptually based rendering without employing an expensive eye tracker, such as providing the depth-of-field effects and managing the level-of-detail in virtual environments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - VRST 2007, ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology, VRST 2007 - Newport Beach, CA, United States
Duration: 2007 Nov 52007 Nov 7

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology, VRST


OtherACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology, VRST 2007
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNewport Beach, CA


  • attention tracking
  • bottom-up feature
  • saliency map
  • top-down context
  • virtual environment
  • visual attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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