Norouzi, N., Bruder, G., Bailenson, J.N. & Welch, G. (2019) Investigating Augmented Reality Animals as Companions,” 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality Adjunct (ISMAR-Adjunct), Beijing, China, pp. 400-403, doi: 10.1109/ISMAR-Adjunct.2019.000-1.
Human-animal interaction has been studied in a variety of settings and for a range of populations, with some findings pointing towards its benefits for physical, mental and social human health. Technological advances opened up new opportunities for researchers to replicate human-animal interactions with robotic and graphical animals, and to investigate human-animal relationships for different applications such as mental health and education. Although graphical animals have been studied in the past in the physical health and education domains, most of the time, their realizations were bound to computer screens, limiting their full potential, especially in terms of companionship and the provision of support. In this work, we describe past research efforts investigating influences of human-animal interaction on mental health and different realization of such animals. We discuss the idea that augmented reality could offer potential for human-animal interaction in terms of mental and social health, and propose several aspects of augmented reality animals that warrant further research for such interactions.