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Virtual Environments

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					Virtual Environments
What are they and what do we use them for By Jeremiah Scholl with help from Marcus Nilsson

Overview
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Virtual Environments History Technologies Applications Demonstration

Why?
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The quest for realism has long been a goal of content creators.
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Virtual environments seek to make things as real as possible

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Virtual environments are becoming a larger part of our everyday lives.

Virtual Environment
The Definition

Virtual Environments

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Virtual Environment (Kooper): A computer generated world with which the user can interact Interaction can vary from looking around to interactively modifying the world.

Virtual Environment
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Is it all about 3D?
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Reading a book can make you feel as part of the environment

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More senses makes it easier to accept the virtual world.
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Immersive Virtual Environment (a.k.a. virtual reality)

History

History
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Simulating the real world has been one of the main goals of progress in Computer Sciences.
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A logical next step

Sensorama (1962)
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Designed by Morton Heillig Multi-sensory movie experience
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Visual, audio, taste, smell, touch

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Seeked to “provide audience with the illusion and sensation of firstperson experience, of actually being there.”

The Ultimate Display (1965)
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Sutherland published “The Ultimate Display”
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Realistic environments: “A chair display in such a room would be good enough to sit in. Handcuffs displayed in such a room would be confining, and a bullet displayed in such a room would be fatal.” Beyond reality: “There is no reason why the objects displayed by a computer have to follow ordinary rules of physical reality with which we are familiar.”

Technologies used in virtual Environments

What do we want to provide?
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As rich of an experience as possible for all 5 senses.
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Vision Hearing Touch Taste Smell

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Plus ….

What do we want to provide?
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As rich of an experience as possible for all 5 senses.
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Vision Hearing Touch Taste Smell

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Plus force and movement.

Vision
Challenge:  How can we give users the ability to look and see in all directions?

Head Mounted Display (1968)
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In virtual environments we can use the same interface technologies that are used in wearable computers Use in combination with head tracking allows for full range of vision

CAVE (1992)
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Designad by Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago

CAVE
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A room with projections on all walls, floor and ceiling The users wear shutter glasses to get a 3D view of the world. The users are able to move and control the environment with some kind of input mechanism
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Camera Device in hand

Virtual Wall
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Simpler version of CAVEs
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Only projection in front of the user
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Takes away the freedom of turning in all directions

Flat World

Flat World

Sound

Challenge: Deliver realistic 3D sound
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3D Sound
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Many things factor into how humans hear 3D sound in the real world.
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Interaural time difference
Which ear does the sound arrive at first?

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Head Shadow
Sound traveling through the head can interfere with interaural time different

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Pinna response
The shape of the outer ear

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Shoulder echo
Low frequencies bounce off the body

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Early echo response/reverberation
A combination of the origional sound and the echo off of nearby objects

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Head position and vision

Delivering 3D sound
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“Headphone” style systems have some drawbacks
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No shoulder echo Need to know head position in order to mimic pinna response

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Surrounding users in a sound “cube” is better. Synethsysing 3D sound is very difficult!
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objects in the virtual environment must have sound properties attached to them
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Early echo response/reverberation requires it

Touch and Force
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Motion platforms
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Like in bike video games

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Simulated rides and flight simulators Clothes
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Gloves, Exoskellton

Movement
There are a few ideas The newest and most promising is the circulaFloor
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Taste and Smell
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Not well developed

The future
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The utopia
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But do we really want to go there?

Presence
The feeling of being there

Presence
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It is important to feel the presence of other users and characters in the virtual environment
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Interaction with other (real) people makes it easier More senses makes it easier

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Time and action synchronization is important

Break

Applications of Virtual Environment

Applications of Virtual Environment
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Entertainment Medical Military Education Science Business

“Entertainment”
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Games
Quake, Unreal, MMRPG…
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Social meeting places
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Games
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More $$ spent on computer games in the US than on movies Kids spend more time playing games then watching TV Computer gaming is the biggest spectator sport in South Korea
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Professional tournament players

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Networked games mimic real life

Virtual life mimics real life
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Economy around the game “EverQuest” was real
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Items and Avatars were bought and sold on E-bay In January 2002 all items for the average player would have sold for $2266
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77th richest economy in the world, just behind Russia.

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A deflationary period has rueiend the economy. Players can declare other players as their “enemy” Information on how many enemies you have is publicly available. The mob uses this feature in a tactical way as a form of extortion. Against the rules but how do you prove it? Second Life

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The “Mafia” in The Sims online.
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A new virtual life?
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Medical
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Telemedicine
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Examination and operations from a distance
Can be done without the patient present The patient can be examined in controlled virtual Environment

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Examination
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Education Psychology
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Treat phobias and diagnose psychological disorders

Diagnosing ADHD in a virtual classroom

Military
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Education
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Real combat situations can be practiced without the cost of doing them in real life Troops from different areas can work together
Leaders can see the troops without being there

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Real combat situation
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Education
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Problems can be described and showed in a controlled environment Tasks can be practiced on virtual subjects before doing it in real life
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XiTact - Virtual Patient
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A virtual model of the patients inner organs is established. A simulator couples this model with a robotic interface. A surgeon can insert his real instruments in the simulator for minimal invasive surgery. During the operation, the surgeon is able to precisely feel the resistance of the inner organs on the handles of his tools.

Science
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Small or abstract details can be examined Scientist can try theories in a controlled virtual environment
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This make it possible to adjust the theory before real testing Can today not replace real life test!

Business
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Virtual Meetings
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People from different parts of the world can meet in something that is part like the real life

If you want to know more

The Media Technology program
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Basic Virtual Environments course
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Visual stuff Computer Graphics and 3D graphics Math and programming
More dynamic and interactive environments Shared environments Computer networking and more programming

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Advanced Virtual Environments
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Demonstrations

Questions?

Resources
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The encyclopedia of virtual environments:

http://www.hitl.washington.edu/scivw/EVE/index.html

Course Instructor Marcus Nilsson amaino@cdt.ltu.se
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