Shady Mansour (LMU Munich), Pascal Knierim (Universitat Innsbruck), Joseph O’Hagan (University of Glasgow), Florian Alt (University of the Bundeswehr Munich), Florian Mathis (University of Glasgow)

VR Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs) provide unlimited and personalized virtual workspaces and will enable working anytime and anywhere. However, if HMDs are to become ubiquitous, VR users are at risk of being observed, which can threaten their privacy. We examine six Bystander Awareness Notification Systems (BANS) to enhance VR users’ bystander awareness whilst immersed in VR. In a user study (N=28), we explore how future HMDs equipped with BANS might enable users to maintain their privacy while contributing towards enjoyable and productive travels. Results indicate that BANS increase VR users’ bystander awareness without affecting presence and productivity. Users prefer BANS that extract and present the most details of reality to facilitate their bystander awareness. We conclude by synthesizing four recommendations, such as providing VR users with control over BANS and considering how VR users can best transition between realities, to inform the design of privacy-preserving HMDs.

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