Variable-resolution displays: A theoretical, practical, and behavioral evaluation

Derrick J. Parkhurst, Ernst Niebur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Variable-resolution display techniques present visual information in a display using more than one resolution. For example, gaze-contingent variable-resolution displays allocate computational resources for image generation preferentially to the area around the center of gaze, where visual sensitivity to detail is the greatest. Using such displays reduces the amount of computational resources required as compared with traditional uniform-resolution displays. The theoretical benefits, implementational issues, and behavioral consequences of variable-resolution displays are reviewed. A mathematical analysis of computational efficiency for a two-region variable-resolution display is conducted. The results are discussed in relation to applications that are limited by computational resources, such as virtual reality, and applications that are limited by bandwidth, such as internet image transmission. The potential for variable-resolution display techniques as a viable future technology is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-629
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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