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Virtual Reality 4

Standard No:ISSN 1359-4338 (print) EISSN 1434-9957 (online)
Links:link.springer.com | Twitter | Table of Contents
  1. VR 1999-03 Volume 4 Issue 1
  2. VR 1999-06 Volume 4 Issue 2
  3. VR 1999-09 Volume 4 Issue 3
  4. VR 1999-12 Volume 4 Issue 4

VR 1999-03 Volume 4 Issue 1

Guest editorial -- Collaborative virtual environments BIBFull-Text 1-3
  E. Churchill; D. Snowdon
An active worlds interface to Basic Support for Cooperative Working (BSCW) to enhance chance encounters BIBAKFull-Text 4-14
  A. Huxor
New ways of working, as exemplified by distance learning, telecommuting and the virtual organisation, are growing in popularity. This paper concerns itself with the role that 3D virtual environments can play in assisting such collaborative working. Specifically, chance encounters have been shown to be important in collaboration, that is, encounters that are not pre-arranged by its participants. There are a number of tools to facilitate encounters online, but these create new problems. It is argued that 3D shared spaces can assist in the management of chance encounters, allowing them to create a situation similar to that found in the traditional workplace, in which tasks and content are situated in locales. If shared 3D spaces are to have utility for computing in general, rather than specific applications, it is suggested that this may be in such spatial management of encounters. An example, in which Active Worlds is employed as an interface to Basic Support for Cooperative Working (BSCW) content is described. This content creates the motivation for users to be within the space, and thus available for chance encounters with other users; their nature and extent of being spatially coordinated.
Keywords: CSCW; Shared spaces; Chance encounters; BSCW; Active Worlds
Spin: A 3D interface for cooperative work BIBAKFull-Text 15-25
  C. Dumas; G. Saugis; S. Degrande; P. Plénacoste; C. Chaillou; M. Viaud
In this paper, we present a three-dimensional user interface for synchronous co-operative work, Spin, which has been designed for multi-user synchronous real-time applications to be used in, for example, meetings and learning situations. Spin is based on a new metaphor of virtual workspace. We have designed an interface, for an office environment, which recreates the three-dimensional elements needed during a meeting and increases the user's scope of interaction. In order to accomplish these objectives, animation and three-dimensional interaction in real time are used to enhance the feeling of collaboration within the three-dimensional workspace. Spin is designed to maintain a maximum amount of information visible. The workspace is created using artificial geometry -- as opposed to true three-dimensional geometry -- and spatial distortion, a technique that allows all documents and information to be displayed simultaneously while centring the user's focus of attention. Users interact with each other via their respective clones, which are three-dimensional representations displayed in each user's interface, and are animated with user action on shared documents. An appropriate object manipulation system (direct manipulation, 3D devices and specific interaction metaphors) is used to point out and manipulate 3D documents.
Keywords: Synchronous CSCW; CVE; Avatar; Clone; Three-dimensional interface; 3D interaction
Virtual environments for work, study and leisure BIBAKFull-Text 26-37
  I. Tomek; R. Giles
Virtual environments have the potential of adding a new dimension to the concept of a community. In this paper, we describe our work on a text-based virtual environment. Although our focus is on work applications, the environment is equally suited for educational and recreational uses. The paper is presented in the context of the needs of a software development team but can be applied to other work teams as well. Two essential characteristics of successful work teams are good communication and efficient access to project information. Maintaining both of these becomes more and more difficult as the size of the team grows, and gets very difficult when the team is geographically dispersed. We describe a project that could be used to test the hypothesis that a collaborative environment using text-based virtual reality would alleviate these problems by relieving physical separation through virtual proximity. In the first phase of the project, we adapted and extended Jersey, a Smalltalk-based MOO (Multi-user domain Object Oriented) with collaborative virtual environment (CVE) features. On the basis of our experience, we then started designing and implementing MUM, a Multi-Universe MOO. When completed, the more extendable and customisable MUM will provide novel features and encourage developer experimentation. We describe some of MUM's features and our plans for it.
Keywords: Collaboration over distance; Collaborative work; Corporate memory; MOO; Virtual environments; Work teams
Human-systems interaction for virtual environment team training BIBAKFull-Text 38-48
  L. McCarthy; R. Stiles; W. L. Johnson; J. Rickel
Virtual environments are increasingly used to support collaborative activities and distance learning. However, few are designed to support students, instructors and simulations in multi-participant team training. This paper describes the Training Studio, a system for authoring, delivering and evaluating multi-participant team training in an immersed virtual environment. The Training Studio focuses on human-systems interaction, allowing multiple students to learn and perform team tasks. The Training Studio supports collaborative learning for either single or multi-participant activity. This is accomplished through the use of agents which are assigned to students to act as personal mentors or missing team members. Conducting team training within a virtual environment introduces complexities and issues unique to team training and multiple-participant virtual environments. This paper describes our approach to virtual environment team training, discussing issues confronted and resulting design considerations and implementations.
Keywords: Virtual environments; Team training; Intelligent tutoring systems; Instructional simulations, Autonomous agents; Human-systems interaction
Nonverbal communication interface for collaborative virtual environments BIBAKFull-Text 49-59
  A. Guye-Vuillème; T. K. Capin; S. Pandzic; N. Magnenat Thalmann
Nonverbal communication is an important aspect of real-life face-to-face interaction and one of the most efficient ways to convey emotions, therefore users should be provided the means to replicate it in the virtual world. Because articulated embodiments are well suited to provide body communication in virtual environments, this paper first reviews some of the advantages and disadvantages of complex embodiments. After a brief introduction to nonverbal communication theories, we present our solution, taking into account the practical limitations of input devices and social science aspects. We introduce our sample of actions and implementation using our VLNET (Virtual Life Network) networked virtual environment and discuss the results of an informal evaluation experiment.
Keywords: Nonverbal communication; Embodiments; Networked virtual environments; Social interaction in virtual environments; Emotional feedback
Constructing social systems through computer-mediated communication BIBAKFull-Text 60-73
  B. Becker; G. Mark
The question of whether computer-mediated communication can support the formation of genuine social systems is addressed in this paper. Our hypothesis, that technology creates new forms of social systems beyond real-life milieus, includes the idea that the technology itself may influence how social binding emerges within online environments. In real-life communities, a precondition for social coherence is the existence of social conventions. By observing interaction in virtual environments, we found the use of a range of social conventions. These results were analysed to determine how the use and emergence of conventions might be influenced by the technology. One factor contributing to the coherence of online social systems, but not the only one, appears to be the degree of social presence mediated by the technology. We suggest that social systems can emerge by computer-mediated communication and are shaped by the media of the specific environment.
Keywords: Collaborative virtual environments; Social conventions; Virtual communities; Social presence; Avatars
Empathy online BIBAKFull-Text 74-84
  J. Preece
Members of online support communities help each other by empathising about common problems and exchanging information about symptoms and treatments. Results from two studies indicate that: empathy occurs in most online textual communities; empathetic communication is influenced by the topic being discussed; the presence of women tends to encourage empathy; and the presence of moderators not only reduces hostility but also appears to encourage empathy. The paper explores how empathy may be affected by pace of interaction, mode of expression and the way people reveal themselves in synchronous and asynchronous communities. As we advance towards technically better computer virtual environments, it is timely to pay greater attention to social issues such as empathetic communication.
Keywords: Online community; Empathy; Bulletin board; Asynchronous; Synchronous; Computer virtual environment

VR 1999-06 Volume 4 Issue 2

Natural language control of interactive 3D animation and computer games BIBAKFull-Text 85-102
  M. Cavazza; I. Palmer
In this paper we describe a fully implemented system for speech and natural language control of 3D animation and computer games. The experimental framework has features that have been emulated from the popular DOOM™ computer game. It implements an integrated parser based on a linguistic formalism tailored to the processing of the specific natural language instructions required to control a player character. This parser outputs structured message formats to the animation layer, which further interprets these messages to generate behaviours for the scene objects. We have found that interactive control significantly impacts on the behavioural interpretation of natural language semantics. Besides bringing stringent requirements in terms of response times for the natural language processing step, it determines the level of autonomy that the animated character should possess, which in turn influences the generation of behavioral scripts from natural language instructions.
Keywords: Virtual environments; Natural language; Animation; Games
Creating natural language interfaces to VR systems BIBAKFull-Text 103-113
  S. S. Everett; K. Wauchope; M. A. Pérez Quiñones
Two research projects are described that explore the use of spoken natural language interfaces to virtual reality (VR) systems. Both projects combine off-the-shelf speech recognition and synthesis technology with in-house command interpreters that interface to the VR applications. Details about the interpreters and other technical aspects of the projects are provided, together with a discussion of some of the design decisions involved in the creation of speech interfaces. Questions and issues raised by the projects are presented as inspiration for future work. These issues include: requirements for object and information representation in VR models to support natural language interfaces; use of the visual context to establish the interaction context; difficulties with referencing events in the virtual world; and problems related to the usability of speech and natural language interfaces in general.
Keywords: Natural language processing; Natural language interfaces; Speech interfaces; Speech interface design; Speech recognition; Virtual reality
Spoken language and multimodal applications for electronic realities BIBAKFull-Text 114-128
  A. Cheyer; L. Julia
We use the term 'electronic reality' (ER) to encompass a broad class of concepts that mix real-world metaphors and computer interfaces. In our definition, 'electronic reality' includes notions such as virtual reality, augmented reality, computer interactions with physical devices, interfaces that enhance 2D media such as paper or maps, and social interfaces where computer avatars engage humans in various forms of dialogue. One reason for bringing real-world metaphors to computer interfaces is that people already know how to navigate and interact with the world around them. Every day, people interact with each other, with pets, and sometimes with physical objects by using a combination of expressive modalities, such as spoken words, lone of voice, pointing and gesturing, facial expressions, and body language. In contrast, when people typically interact with computers or appliances, interactions are unimodal, with a single method of communication such as the click of a mouse or a set of keystrokes serving to express intent. In this article, we describe our efforts to apply multimodal and spoken language interfaces to a number of ER applications, with the goal of creating an even more 'realistic' or natural experience for the end user.
Keywords: Electronic realities; Multimodality; National interaction
ICOME: An Immersive Collaborative 3D Object Modelling Environment BIBAKFull-Text 129-138
  C. Raymaekers; T. De Weyer; K. Coninx; F. Van Reeth; E. Flerackers
In most existing immersive virtual environments, 3D geometry is imported from external packages. Within ICOME (an Immersive Collaborative 3D Object Modelling Environment) we focus on the immersive construction of 3D geometrical objects within the environment itself. Moreover, the framework allows multiple people to simultaneously undertake 3D modelling tasks in a collaborative way. This article describes the overall architecture, which conceptually follows a client/server approach. The various types of clients, which are implemented, are described in detail. Some illustrative 3D object modelling examples are given. Extensions to the system with regard to 3D audio are also mentioned.
Keywords: Immersive modelling; Collaborative work; Virtual reality; Networking; User interfacing
Calibration of electromagnetic tracking devices BIBAKFull-Text 139-150
  V. Kindratenko
Electromagnetic tracking devices are often used to track location and orientation of a user in a virtual reality environment. Their precision, however, is not always high enough because of the dependence of the system on the local electromagnetic field which can be altered easily by many external factors. The purpose of this article is to give an overview of the calibration techniques used to improve the precision of the electromagnetic tracking devices and to present a new method that compensates both the position and orientation errors. It is shown numerically that significant improvements in the precision of the detected position and orientation can be achieved with a small number of calibration measurements to be taken. Unresolved problems and research topics related to the proposed method are discussed.
Keywords: Electromagnetic tracker; Tracker calibration; Polynomial fit; Virtual reality

VR 1999-09 Volume 4 Issue 3

Foreword: Applications of virtual environments and wearable computers for medicine BIBFull-Text 151
The Wearable Motherboard™: The first generation of adaptive and responsive textile structures (ARTS) for medical applications BIBAKFull-Text 152-168
  C. Gopalsamy; S. Park; R. Rajamanickam; S. Jayaraman
Virtual reality (VR) has been making inroads into medicine in a broad spectrum of applications, including medical education, surgical training, telemedicine, surgery and the treatment of phobias and eating disorders. The extensive and innovative applications of VR in medicine, made possible by the rapid advancements in information technology, have been driven by the need to reduce the cost of healthcare while enhancing the quality of life for human beings.
   In this paper, we discuss the design, development and realisation of an innovative technology known as the Georgia Tech Wearable Motherboard™ (GTWM), or the "Smart Shirt". The principal advantage of GTWM is that it provides, for the first time, a very systematic way of monitoring the vital signs of humans in an unobtrusive manner. The flexible databus integrated into the structure transmits the information to monitoring devices such as an EKG machine, a temperature recorder, a voice recorder, etc. GTWM is lightweight and can be worn easily by anyone, from infants to senior citizens. We present the universal characteristics of the interface pioneered by the Georgia Tech Wearable Motherboard™ and explore the potential applications of the technology in areas ranging from combat to geriatric care. The GTWM is the realisation of a personal information processing system that gives new meaning to the term ubiquitous computing. Just as the spreadsheet pioneered the field of information processing that brought "computing to the masses", it is anticipated that the Georgia Tech Wearable Motherboard™ will bring personalised and affordable healthcare monitoring to the population at large.
Keywords: Healthcare; Intelligent clothing; Universal interface; Vital signs; Wearable information infrastructure; "Wearable Motherboard™"
Virtual reality in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation BIBAKFull-Text 169-183
  S. Di Girolamo; W. Di Nardo; P. Picciotti; G. Paludetti; F. Ottaviani
Previous experiences on vestibular compensation showed that multisensorial stimulations affect postural unbalance recovery. Virtual Environment (VE) exposure seems very useful in vestibular rehabilitation, since the experience gained during VE exposure is transferable to the real world. The rearrangement of the hierarchy of the postural cues was evaluated in 105 patients affected by visual, labyrinthic and somatosensory pathology in normal conditions and during sensorial deprivation. They were divided into five groups according to pathology and compared to 50 normal controls. Our data show that VE exposure is a reliable method to identify the deficient subsystem and the level of substitution. Moreover, Virtual Reality (VR) would accelerate the compensation of an acute loss of labyrinthine function, related to adaptive modifications of the vestibulo-ocular and vestibulo-spinal reflexes, overstimulating the residual labyrinthine function. The residual labyrinthine function is poor in chronic bilateral vestibular deficit and VE exposure should provide sensory substitution or sensory motor reorganisation, thereby modulating the external spatial reference and promoting the reorganisation of the multiple sensory input. The potential for VE exposure perspectives seems very promising when dealing with the vestibular system where there is a continuous rearrangement of different sensorial informations as a result of environmental and age-related changes.
Keywords: Postural control; Virtual Reality; Vestibular assessment; Vestibular rehabilitation
Ophthalmoscopic examination training using virtual reality BIBAKFull-Text 184-191
  D. Lee; M. Woo; D. Vredevoe; J. Kimmick; W. J. Karplus; D. J. Valentino
Health care professionals perform ophthalmoscopic examinations to detect pathologies of the eye, as well as to evaluate the effects of other diseases, such as high-blood pressure and diabetes. The ophthalmoscopic examination is given using an ophthalmoscope, a hand-held instrument consisting of an adjustable lens and a focused beam of light. The difficulty of the procedure lies in positioning the ophthalmoscope accurately and then correctly identifying the ocular disease symptoms -- skills that improve with experience. To improve and accelerate the training of the student, we developed a Virtual Ophthalmoscopic Examination, a three-dimensional real-time computer simulation of the ophthalmoscopic procedure using virtual reality techniques. By navigating and manipulating the virtual ophthalmoscope in the simulation environment, the student learns how to position the instrument properly. Unlike other training aids that use photographic slides to show the full retina, the Virtual Opthalmoscopic Examination programme simulates an accurate view of the retina. By increasing the realism of the training, the transition from the training programme to live examination of patients will become less difficult. The programme was evaluated by graduate nursing students and was shown to be a promising training aid.
Keywords: Computer-assisted instruction; Medical education; Ophthalmoscopy
Virtual risks: Rich domain risk and technology transfer failure as design criteria in the Sheffield Knee Arthroscopy Trainer (SKATS) BIBAKFull-Text 192-202
  Professor J. G. Arthur; A. D. McCarthy; C. Baber; P. J. Harley
In this paper an example of Virtual Reality (VR) system design in a safety-critical training domain is discussed. In particular, a model for design is presented. This model seeks to create operational definitions of risk in the surgical domain. Perhaps more importantly, it also seeks to discover operational predictors of the risk of technology-transfer failure as a fundamental requisite for the early design. Typically both of these activities do take place in some form in most designs, but they are frequently III-conceived due to inappropriate timing, low importance, insufficient methodological rigour and the absence of a pre-existent integration model. Using examples from the Sheffield Knee Arthroscopy Training System (SKATS), we will discuss the contention that equal research effort needs to be spent on core design issues as on the technological VR design. Specifically, we will propose a set of guidelines for the research and development of risk metrics in Virtual Environment (VE) design and technology-transfer for safety-critical training.
Keywords: Virtual reality; Surgical training; Simulation; Design; Technology-transfer; Risk
Banded matrix approach to Finite Element modelling for soft tissue simulation BIBAKFull-Text 203-212
  J. Berkley; S. Weghorst; H. Gladstone; G. Raugi; D. Berg; M. Ganter
Realistic deformation of computer-simulated anatomica structures is computationally intensive. As a result, simple methodologies not based in continuum mechanics have been employed for achieving real-time deformation of virtual anatomy. Since the graphical interpolations and simple spring models commonly used in these simulations are not based on the biomechanical properties of tissue structures, these 'quick and dirty" methods typically do not represent accurately the complex deformations and force-feedback interactions that can take place during surgery. Finite Element (FE) analysis is widely regarded as the most appropriate alternative to these methods. Extensive research has been directed toward applying this method to modelling a wide range of biological structures, and a few simple FE models have been incorporated into surgical simulations. However, because of the highly computational nature of the FE method, its direct application to real-time force-feedback and visualisation of tissue deformation has not been practical for most simulations. This limitation is due primarily to the overabundance of information provided by the standard FE approaches. If the mathematics are optimised through preprocessing to yield only the information essential to the simulation task, run-time computation requirements can be reduced drastically. We are currently developing such methodologies, and have created computer demonstrations that support real-time interaction with soft tissue. To illustrate the efficacy and utility of these fast "banded matrix" FE methods, we present results from a skin suturing simulator which we are developing on a PC-based platform.
Keywords: Virtual reality; Surgical simulation; Real-time analysis; Finite element modelling; Haptic feedback; Soft tissue
Using virtual reality techniques in maxillofacial surgery planning BIBAKFull-Text 213-222
  P. Neumann; D. Siebert; A. Schulz; G. Faulkner; M. Krauss; T. Tolxdorff
The primary goal of our research has been to implement an entirely computer-based maxillofacial surgery planning system [1]. An important step toward this goal is to make virtual tools available to the surgeon in order to carry out a three-dimensional (3D) cephalometrical analysis and to interactively define bone segments from skull and jaw bones. An easy-to-handle user interface employs visual and force-feedback devices to define subvolumes of a patient's volume dataset [2]. The defined subvolumes, together with their spatial arrangements based on the cephalometrical results, eventually lead to an operation plan. We have evaluated modern low-cost, force-feedback devices with regard to their ability to emulate the surgeon's working procedure. Once the planning of the procedure is complete, the planning results are transferred to the operating room. In our intra-operative concept the visualisation of planning data is speech controlled by the surgeon and correlated with the patient's position by an electromagnetic 3D sensor system.
Keywords: Surgery planning; Volume segmentation; Virtual tools; Force feedback; Intra-operative navigation
Application of virtual reality in hospital facilities design BIBAKFull-Text 223-234
  V. Giallorenzo; P. Banerjee; L. Conroy; J. Franke
The airborne particles present in certain hospital environments, such as the tuberculosis isolation or operating rooms, can be extremely harmful for patients and/or hospital personnel. An important issue during the design of hospital facilities is an efficient airborne particle removal system. A near-optimal setup of the parameters that affect the airflow, and consequently the airborne particle trajectories within the room is desirable. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is an alternative to tedious and time-consuming experimental investigations during the design phase, when a large number of alternatives need to be evaluated. The main limitations of CFD application in building design are the high level of skill required, the complexity of the setup phase, and the difficulty of output data interpretation using common 2D (two-dimensional) display devices. A virtual reality (VR) environment can help in overcoming some of these limitations. A CFD/VR procedure for design of contaminant-free hospital facilities is presented in this paper. By means of a VR preprocessing step, inferior solutions can be discharged to drastically reduce the number of configurations to investigate. Then, a CFD/VR tool is used to explore the restricted set of room layouts. The 3D (three-dimensional), immersive visualisation of an indoor space and of the particle motion inside it allows the user to really see the particle flows and consequently understand the effects of room parameters on particle motion throughout the room. In this way a close-to-optimal configuration of the room layout and of the ventilation system can be achieved more speedily and more conveniently compared to traditional CFD investigations.
Keywords: Virtual reality; CFD; Building layout; Hospital facilities design
Simulation of frontal orbital advancement BIBAKFull-Text 235-240
  H. A. Grabowski; S. Hassfeld; R. Krempien; J. Münchenberg; J. Brief
In this paper, we present a system for performing a complex surgical intervention using virtual reality (VR) technology. With the aid of the system, the intervention can be planned and simulated exactly before performing it in reality and important additional information can be achieved during the simulation. Before working in VR, finite element models of the patient's head are generated form CT-images. Based on these models, additional work is done in VR, where the patient's skull is cut into several pieces, which are then re-positioned. Based on moving and shifting the obtained pieces, the goal is to increase the volume inside the skull, which is called intracranial volume. Until now, it was not possible to measure the achieved increase of the intracranial volume. However, by using our system is it now possible to calculate this volume online during each step of our virtual intervention. The obtained results are used for the surgical intervention in reality.
Keywords: Mesh generation; Geometric modelling; finite element models; Virtual cutting; VR-based surgery; Volume measurement

VR 1999-12 Volume 4 Issue 4

Editorial BIBFull-Text 241-242
The reality of medical work: The case for a new perspective on telemedicine BIBAKFull-Text 243-249
  R. Rajani; M. Perry
This paper considers the nature of medical work and how new telemedicine technologies can be developed to support that work. Telemedicine developers attempt to increase communication and collaboration between medical practitioners and between patients and medics, with the goal being to make medical care and information more easily accessible. However, the focus of telemedicine systems appears to have so far been technology centred, and the work they are trying to support is often ignored. We argue that to develop appropriate telemedicine technologies, it is important to understand the nature of medical work, and to examine the manner in which medical practice actually occurs. Only then will we be in a position to design appropriate telemedicine technologies to support these activities. Unless designers have an insight into the work itself, new technologies will continue to fail to support what telemedicine effectively aims to promote -- collaboration and access to distributed knowledge.
Keywords: Communication; Cooperation; Medical work; Telemedicine
Evaluating the effectiveness of augmented reality displays for a manual assembly task BIBAKFull-Text 250-259
  K. M. Baird; W. Barfield
The focus of this research was to examine how effectively augmented reality displays, generated with a wearable computer, could be used for aiding an operator performing a manual assembly task. Fifteen subjects were asked to assemble a computer motherboard using four types of instructional media: paper manual, computer-aided, opaque augmented reality display, and see-through augmented reality display. The time of assembly and assembly errors were measured for each type of instructional media, and a questionnaire focusing on usability was administered to each subject at the end of each condition. The results of the experiment indicated that the augmented reality conditions were more effective instructional aids for the assembly task than either the paper instruction manual or the computer-aided instruction. The see-through augmented reality display resulted in the fastest assembly times, followed by the opaque augmented reality display, the computer-aided instruction, and the paper instructions respectively. In addition, subjects made fewer errors using the augmented reality conditions compared to the computer-aided and paper instructional media. However, while the two augmented reality conditions were a more effective instructional media when time for assembly was the response measure, there were still some important usability issues associated with the augmented reality technology that were not present in the non-augmented reality conditions.
Keywords: Augmented reality; Manual assembly; Wearable computer
Peltier Haptic Interface (PHI) for improved sensation of touch in virtual environments BIBAKFull-Text 260-264
  P. Sines; B. Das
In this report we describe an advanced virtual reality glove that we are developing, called the Peltier Haptic Interface (PHI), which will provide improved sensation of touch in virtual environments. PHI will provide force/pressure feedback that can be varied independently on each finger, as well as temperature sensation that can be varied non-uniformly over the whole hand. The combination of these sensations will provide a more realistic sense of touch and significantly increase the realism of virtual environments. PHI will find extensive applications in biomedical simulations, teaching, industrial line training, and many other areas.
Keywords: Haptic; Peltier; Tactile; Virtual reality
ICOME: An Immersive Collaborative 3D Object Modelling Environment BIBAKFull-Text 265-274
  C. Raymaekers; T. De Weyer; K. Coninx; F. Van Reeth; E. Flerackers
In most existing immersive virtual environments, 3D geometry is imported from external packages. Within ICOME (an immersive Collaborative 3D Object Modelling Environment) we focus on the immersive construction of 3D geometrical objects within the environment itself. Moreover, the framework allows multiple people to simultaneously undertake 3D modelling tasks in a collaborative way. This article describes the overall architecture, which conceptually follows a client/server approach. The various types of clients, which are implemented, are described in detail. Some illustrative 3D object modelling examples are given. Extensions to the system with regard to 3D audio are also mentioned.
Keywords: Immersive modelling; Collaborative work; Virtual reality; Networking; User interfacing
Virtual marketplaces: Building Management Information Systems for internet brokerage BIBAKFull-Text 275-290
  T. Kollmann
On the World Wide Web (WWW), an increasing number of new trading forms for brokerage of business transactions are emerging. Almost inevitably, central contact-points on the WWW are being formed, so-called virtual marketplaces, where supply and demand meet. The organisation they require is carried out by a central operator, who offers his brokerage services on a business footing. The aim of this paper is the generation of practical components of a Management Information System (MIS) for such marketplaces that are only accessible online. To do this, the theoretical assumptions of virtual marketplaces are combined with a case study of a German internet-broker for used cars.
Keywords: Internet-broker; Management Information System; Virtual marketplaces; Virtual transactions