A Few Notes on Virtual Reality

A Few Notes on Virtual Reality

A Few Notes on Virtual Reality Glenn G. Chappell [email protected] U. of Alaska Fairbanks CS 381 Lecture Notes Friday, October 17, 2003 Notes on VR: Presence A typical 2-D GUI simulates a desktop. Typical 3-D interfaces give the user a picture of a 3-D world. Users look at pictures of objects reminiscent of overlapping sheets of paper. Games, etc. In virtual reality (VR), we want to give users the sense that they are inside a computer-generated world. In VR this is called the sense of presence.

17 Oct 2003 CS 381 2 Notes on VR: How Do We Create Presence? Immersion Stereoscopic Perspective Track the position & orientation of the users head or eyes, so that we can draw the scene from the correct point of view. Multisensory Output Produce different perspective views for each eye, giving the illusion of depth. Head/Eye Tracking

Fill the users vision with CG, so that very little of the real world can be seen. Engage as many of the users senses as we can, in a coordinated, realistic, 3-D manner. Plausible Interaction Allow the user to interact with the scene, in as direct a manner as possible, in a way that feels right. 17 Oct 2003 CS 381 3 Notes on VR: VR Display Types [1/2] Two flavors of VR displays: Theater & Head-Mounted. Theater This is what we have.

Most modern theater-type VR displays are based on the CAVE. CAVE = CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment. See also Plato (The Republic, Book 7). Developed at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, at the U. of Illinois Chicago, in 1992. Advantages Allows for multiple simultaneous users (in a limited sense). Allows immersion, but can still see the real world if you want. So you dont trip over things. Disadvantages Cost. Portability. Stereoscopic display requires fancy hardware. 17 Oct 2003 CS 381 4 Notes on VR: VR Display Types [2/2] Head-Mounted Display (HMD)

Put one display right in front of each eye, and a tracker somewhere on the users head. Advantages Cost. Size. Disadvantages Heavy stuff to wear on your head. Physical hazards (tripping, etc.). Latency problems! Latency = time to update the display. What happens when you move your head and the display update is slow? Contrast this with theater-type VR. In my opinion, HMDs are the future of VR. However, truly usable HMDs are not available (yet). When they are, VR can finally go mass-market. 17 Oct 2003 CS 381 5 Notes on VR: Other Stuff

We know how to handle sight and hearing. But what about: Balance Tilt the theater. Simple, but bulky & expensive. Done in flight simulators. Touch Haptic interfaces are those that involve touch. Possible on a small scale (desktop?), but not a large scale (Discovery Lab). Smell? Taste??? Forget it (for now). Augmented Reality Real world + CG additions. HMD without the tripping problem? The Focus Problem

In VR displays, near & far objects are drawn on the same screen. Objects appear to be at varying distances, but the eye always focuses at the same distance. Result: headaches. Go solve this problem! 17 Oct 2003 CS 381 6 The remainder of the class meeting was taken up by demonstrations of VR research projects, primarily: BLUIsculpt (VR sculpting application) Experimental sound generation 17 Oct 2003 CS 381 7

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