In the last decade an increasing number of application fields, including medicine, geoscience and bio-chemistry, have expressed a need to visualise and interact with data that are inherently three-dimensional. Stereoscopic 3D technologies can offer a valid support for these operations thanks to the enhanced depth representation they can provide. However, there is still little understanding of how such technologies can be used effectively to support\ud the performance of visual tasks based on accurate depth judgements. Existing studies do not provide a sound and complete explanation of the impact of different visual and\ud technical factors on depth perception in stereoscopic 3D environments.\ud \ud This thesis presents a new interpretative and contextualised analysis of the vision science literature to clarify the role of di®erent visual cues on human depth perception in such environments. The analysis identifies luminance contrast, spatial frequency, colour, blur,\ud transparency and depth constancies as influential visual factors for depth perception and provides the theoretical foundation for guidelines to support the performance of accurate stereoscopic depth tasks.\ud \ud A novel assessment framework is proposed and used to conduct an empirical study to evaluate the performance of four distinct classes of 3D display technologies. The results suggest that 3D displays are not interchangeable and that the depth representation provided can vary even between displays belonging to the same class. The study also shows that interleaved displays may suffer from a number of aliasing artifacts, which in turn may affect the amount of perceived depth.\ud \ud The outcomes of the analysis of the influential visual factors for depth perception and the empirical comparartive study are used to propose a novel universal 3D cursor prototype suitable to support depth-based tasks in stereoscopic 3D environments. The contribution includes a number of both qualitative and quantitative guidelines that aim to guarantee a correct perception of depth in stereoscopic 3D environments and that should be observed\ud when designing a stereoscopic 3D cursor
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