Much of the work concerned with virtual environments has addressed the development of new rendering technologies or interaction techniques. As the technology matures and becomes adopted in a wider range of applications, there is, however, a need to better understand how this technology can be accommodated in software engineering practice. A particular challenge presented by virtual environments is the complexity of the interaction that is supported, and sometimes necessary, for a particular task. Methods such as finite-state automata which are used to represent and design dialogue components for more conventional interfaces, e.g. using direct manipulation within a desktop model, do not seem to capture adequately the style of interaction that is afforded by richer input devices and graphical models. In this paper, we suggest that virtual environments are, fundamentally, what are known as hybrid systems. Building on this insight, we demonstrate how techniques developed for modelling hybrid systems can be used to represent and understand virtual interaction in a way that can be used in the specification and design phases of software development, and which have the potential to support prototyping and analysis of virtual interfaces. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
HIGH technology, INFORMATION technology, TECHNOLOGICAL innovations, ELECTRONIC apparatus & appliances, COMPUTER simulation, and VIRTUAL reality
This article unveils the piSight system, a lightweight head-mounted virtual reality display with envisaged applications in virtual prototyping, training and simulation, visual analytics, remote presence and education, from Sensics Inc. The system uses a patented optical design that provides for a three-dimensional wrap-around visual sensation with 150 degrees field of view. The device weighs only 2 pounds. It is controlled by a high-performance computer cluster and supports video feeds if required.
COMPUTER architecture, VIRTUAL reality, and COMPUTER simulation
There are many toolkits and development environments that aid the process of constructing virtual environment applications. Many of these development environments encourage customising a virtual environment's design while rapid prototyping within the confines of a toolkit's capabilities. Thus the choice of the technology and its associated support has been made independent of the end-use requirements of the final system. This can bias a virtual environment's design by implementation based constraints. We propose that an alternative approach is the consideration of virtual environment requirements in the context of an inspectable design model, to identify the requirements that a toolkit will need to support. In the context of an example, we present a selection of design requirements that we consider important for virtual environment design in general. We explore how these requirements might be mapped to different capabilities using Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) as a concrete example of a platform technology. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]