The QMW group have a variety of Silicon Graphics and Division equiptment. The Division stations include two fully immersive setups. Whilst engaged in a variety of VR-related activities, a central theme is that of ``body centred interaction'' involving an in-depth study of the role of the body in the virtual environment, and its relationship to the psychological experience of presence. This is based on the principle that, if presence is central to the immersive experience, then a key facet of that experience will be the embodiment of the user within the virtual world. Interesting experiments have been devised to test this hypothesis, and to quantify its outcome. The importance of various parameters are being studied - one example being that of auditory versus visual stimulus, with a novel way of quantifying their relative importance for given participants.
A novel emphasis is that of whole body gestures, which stands in contrast to the current preoccupation with hand-gesture techniques. Here, using only the conventional head and hand position sensors, gestures such as walking and scaling the size of the user are achieved with reference to whole body movements. These appear quite natural, and emphasise the role of the whole body within the virtual world. Other projects demonstrated to us at QMW include a study of the use of shadow queues; interactive specification of the VR interface from within the virtual world; a study of 3D air traffic control; the modelling of physical laws, and a design for a display system.
The general impression gained from visiting the laboratory is that of a laudable attempt to break away from paradigms rooted in 2D, iconic, modes of interaction, into a serious study of what appropriate alternatives exist for humans in a 3D virtual world.
The WWW page for the QMW group can be found at
Graphics Multimedia Virtual Environments Visualisation Contents