September 11, 2006
Study Compares Virtual Reality Methods
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The report, entitled "Comparing User Experience in a Panoramic HMD vs. Projection Wall Virtual Reality System," summarizes results of a new study that compares user experience within the Sensics panoramic head-mounted display (HMD) to the experience inside a projection-wall virtual reality system. The study was conducted in June 2006 during an exclusive industry event held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The study reveals that on average, expert users prefer the Sensics HMD over CAVE-like system in all surveyed dimensions including image quality, field of view, and degree of immersion.
31 experts from major automotive, aerospace, defense, CAD and virtual reality companies participated in the study, most with substantial prior exposure to VR systems. Participants were invited to the 3D Lab at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and had an opportunity to comparatively experience immersive 3D models on both the Sensics piSight 150 HMD and a new projection-wall system recently installed at the lab. Various automotive, aerospace, and architectural 3D models we obtained through independent sources and were loaded on both VR systems. Participants filled Web-based surveys immediately upon completing use of both VR systems.
Some of the key survey results include:
This report provides detailed survey results, additional information regarding test conditions, as well as commentary on the use of HMD vs. "CAVE" systems.
To view the report, click on the following link:
by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
Today, the term and technology, "Virtual Reality" (VR) are used in a variety of ways and often in a confusing and misleading manner. Originally, the term referred to immersive virtual reality. In immersive VR, you become fully immersed in an artificial, three-dimensional world that is completely computer generated.
The report, sponsored by Sensics Inc., a developer of HMDs, summarizes an event held at the 3D Lab at the University of Michigan and covers two technologies used for creating and experiencing VR - Head-Mounted Display (HMD) and The CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment).
The head-mounted display (HMD) was the first device providing an immersive experience. Evans and Sutherland demonstrated a head-mounted stereo display in 1965, and it took more then 20 years before VPL Research introduced a commercially available HMD, the "EyePhone" system in 1989.
A typical HMD houses two miniature display screens and an optical system that channels the images from the screens to the eyes, thereby, presenting a stereo view of a virtual world. A motion tracker continuously measures the position and orientation of a user's head and allows the image generating computer to adjust the scene representation to the current view. As a result, the viewer can look around and "walk" through the surrounding virtual environment.
To overcome the often uncomfortable intrusiveness of a head-mounted display, alternative concepts (such as CAVE) for immersive viewing of virtual environments were developed.
The CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) was developed at the University of Illinois at Chicago and provides the illusion of immersion by projecting stereo images on the walls and floor of a room-sized cube. Several people wearing lightweight stereo glasses can enter and walk inside a CAVE, and a head-tracking system continuously adjust the stereo projection to the current position of the leading viewer.
The CAVE is an immersive virtual reality facility designed for the exploration of and interaction with spatially engaging environments. It was also an integral part of the research activities of the NCSA Visualization and Virtual Environments Group until its decommissioning at the end of 2005. The CAVE's stereoscopic and immersive capabilities enable designers, engineers, and scientists to interact with data.
HMD system), prices will have to come down substantially for more universal acceptance. Will this actually happen? Probably; and don't be surprised if the gaming/entertainment sector takes the lead in making it more affordable for the rest of us.
The Week's Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
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the Response Smoothing Technology, SmartDO is able to smooth out the noise caused by meshing and/or package integrations. Solutions obtained from other optimization packages can usually be further improved by SmartDO, with the much more efficient Nonlinear Programming (NLP) techniques. This makes SmartDO capable of performing global optimization with NLP, which is very unique in this field. This is especially powerful for CAE-based shaping optimization.
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.
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