Prior work has shown that embodiment can benefit virtual agents, such as increasing rapport and conveying non-verbal information. However, it is unclear if users prefer an embodied to a speech-only agent for augmented reality (AR) headsets that are designed to assist users in completing real-world tasks. We conducted a study to examine users’ perceptions and behaviors when interacting with virtual agents in AR. We asked 24 adults to wear the Microsoft HoloLens and find objects in a hidden object game while interacting with an agent that would offer assistance. We presented participants with four different agents: voice-only, non-human, full-size embodied, and a miniature embodied agent. Overall, users preferred the miniature embodied agent due to the novelty of his size and reduced uncanniness as opposed to the larger agent. From our results, we draw conclusions about how agent representation matters and derive guidelines on designing agents for AR headsets.

Isaac Wang, Jesse Smith, and Jaime Ruiz. 2019. Exploring Virtual Agents for Augmented Reality. In 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings (CHI 2019), May 4–9, 2019, Glasgow, Scotland, UK. ACM, New York, NY, USA. Paper 281, 10 pages.

 author = {Wang, Isaac and Smith, Jesse and and Ruiz, Jaime},
 title = {Exploring Virtual Agents for Augmented Reality},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
 series = {CHI '19},
 year = {2019},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-5970-2},
 location = {Glasgow, Scotland, UK},
 numpages = {10},
 url = {},
 doi = {10.1145/3290605.3300511},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA}