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  • Thu 30 Apr 2009

    Laval Virtual 2009 – Ergo Wide 3

    Published at 15:03   Category VR Applications  

    Kate Bourdet, from the Dassault Systèmes Corporate Blog “3D Perspectives“, did a great article about Clarte’s Ergo Wide 3 that was demonstrated at Laval Virtual 2009.

    Basically it’s a tool to design ergonomically valid production line workstations, in a distributed manner. It’s a really useful, well-designed and complex system, so congratulations to the Clarte team =)

    (who did another great system which I’ll talk about soon).

    So, read the original article !

    Read more…

    Wed 29 Apr 2009

    French VR association launches its blog !

    Published at 11:20   Category Virtual Reality  

    The French association for VR, AR, MR and 3D Interactions, the AFRV, whose members are researchers, industrials, students, users, creators, has launched its own blog during Laval Virtual 2009.

    Posts will be in french or english, and any AFRV member can write a post about anything related to these topics!

    So don’t hesitate to talk about what you’re doing, what you’ve seen, what you’re dreaming about.

    Share ! Because in the end, what matters is not what you have, it’s what you’ve given.

    And if you’re not a member, follow it carefully, because we have a lot to say ;)

    I wish this blog a long life!

    Tue 28 Apr 2009

    AR Magic

    Published at 9:52   Category Augmented Reality  

    Back from Laval Virtual, I’m of course preparing a post about the 11th edition!

    Thanks to Xavier for this great video, which is realtime AR !!

    As stated on the YouTube page :

    ALL THE GRAPHICS ON THIS VIDEO ARE GENERATED IN REAL TIME WHILE I AM PERFORMING THIS TRICK. NO POST-PRODUCTION, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU WOULD SEE ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN AS I AM PERFORMING.

    So, enjoy !

    YouTube Preview Image

    Sat 18 Apr 2009

    IEEE VR 2009

    Published at 16:22   Category Augmented Reality, VR Applications, VR Devices, VR Displays, Virtual Reality  

    Then after two days of 3DUI, Searis, PIVE and workshops was the actual IEEE VR Conference.

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    For four days the weather was rainy and cold, and finally on the last day the sun woke up and gave us a nice blue sky and a pretty decent temperature! (which we will maybe get in Paris in one or two months.. )

    For those of you who couldn’t attend the conference, you can access a lot of the presentations that were given, for free !! Not the actual papers though, but you can still ask the authors ;) Thanks to the VGTC for enabling this !

    Read after the jump for a lot more!

    Read more…

    Thu 16 Apr 2009

    IEEE VR 2009 – Awards

    Published at 12:48   Category Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality  

    Two famous people, one paper and two sketches were given an award:

    The IEEE VGTC Virtual Reality Career Award 2009 went to Jaron Lanier (which explains his presence at the conference). Here’s an excerpt from the award page :

    Lanier either coined or popularized the term ‘Virtual Reality.’ His tiny, but hugely influential company, VPL Research, Inc. was founded in 1984. VPL supplied the fledgling world of VR research with key products like EyePhone, the first general purpose, commercial HMD, the DataGlove, and the DataSuit, which provided the first source of full-body 3D motion data.

    Lanier’s team developed the first implementations of multi-person virtual worlds using immersive displays, as  well as the first avatars, or representations of users within such systems. VPL’s “Reality Built for  wo,” or RB2, became a commercial product in 1989. Lanier and collaborators  implemented some of the earliest examples of surgical simulation, rehab, walkthrough, scientific visualization, and other VR applications. VPL licensed glove technology to Mattel Toys for the Power Glove, which was the first VR toy.

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    The IEEE VGTC Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award 2009 went to Hirokazu Kato of the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan, ” in recognition of the development of the ARToolkit Library”.

    (…) He realized that computer vision can contribute to Augmented Reality as a core technology when he joined the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab) at the University of Washington as a visiting scholar in 1998. During this visit to the HIT Lab, he first met Dr. Mark Billinghurst and started collaborative research with him. In 1999 Dr. Kato joined the Department of Information Machines and Interfaces at Hiroshima City University, Japan. He still continued the collaboration with Dr. Billinghurst and they demonstrated an AR system called ‘Shared Space’ with HIT Lab members at Siggraph 99 Emerging Technologies. Dr. Kato developed a vision-based tracking library for this system which was later named the ARToolKit. Since the Shared Space was popular with many participants and they were also interested
    in the technology in the system, he decided to open the ARToolKit library source code.

    The ARToolkit has had a significant impact on the growth of Augmented Reality research. When it was developed there was no easy way for researchers to develop AR tracking and interaction solutions. This library enabled a whole new generation of AR researchers to enter the community. The original paper describing the ARToolKit is currently the third most cited paper in AR. Even 10 years after its original development, the ARToolKit is currently one of the most popular computer vision software downloads on Source Forge with over 140,000 downloads in the past four years alone.

    ASC_0262 hiro

    Papers

    I’ll be talking a bit more about the papers in the next post. In the meantime, here are the winners :

    Best Paper Award:
    Malcolm Hutson, Steven White, Dirk ReinersJanusVF: Accurate Navigation Using SCAAT and Virtual Fiducials

    Best Sketch Award:
    Holger Salzmann, Mathias Moehring, Bernd FroehlichVirtual vs. Real-World Pointing in Two-User Scenarios

    salzmann

    Holger Salzmann

    A novelty of this year, the audience choice! We all had to vote for our favorite papers and sketches, and here are the results :

    Audience Choice – Best Paper Award:
    Malcolm Hutson, Steven White, Dirk ReinersJanusVF: Accurate Navigation Using SCAAT and Virtual Fiducials

    Audience Choice – Best Sketch Award:
    Charalambos Poullis, Suya YouAutomatic Creation of Massive Virtual Cities

    Thu 9 Apr 2009

    3DUI, Searis, PIVE 2009

    Published at 12:47   Category Virtual Reality  

    Two days before the real IEEE VR conference are other international events, mostly running in parallel. So choosing between one or another is really heartbreaking. The organizers managed to have only a single track for the VR conference which was really nice.

    I won’t be able to really sum up what happenned during 3DUI and the SEARIS workshop (Software Engineering and Architectures for Interactive Systems, they now have a nice webpage!)  because I couldn’t really attend much of them (you can still read last year’s 3DUI and SEARIS summaries to get an idea).

    The one message I think was critical was from Chad Wingrave, stating that 3D interactions are stagnating because 3DUI is a hard and unexplored software engineering problem. So this is not only a problem of ergonomy, but also how do you create an infrastructure to support that, or how do you simply specify what and how shoud an interaction behave?

    Online presentations

    The good news is that much of the 3DUI presentations are now online (but not the actual papers)! This is a really nice feature of the VGTC. Maybe the SEARIS team would do the same ?

    So what did I do during this time ?

    On saturday, along with David, we were giving a Virtools tutorial.

    On sunday morning I attended a great tutorial on how to “Conduct Human-Subject Experiments” by J. Edward Swan II, Stephen R. Ellis, Bernard D. Adelstein, Joseph L. Gabbard. This was really eye-opening ! It is really nice that this tutorial was given; I’ve never run a user study and I now have a better understanding of the complexity of designing such experiments and analyzing the results.

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    J. Edward Swan II

    PIVE 2009

    The Perceptual Illusions in Virtual Environments (PIVE) workshop on sunday afternoon was also in parallel of the 3DUI conference.  The organizers (Frank Steinicke, who else?)  have put the actual papers online on the PIVE website.

    Here’s what this workshop is about :

    Virtual environments (VEs) provide humans with synthetic worlds in which they can interact with their virtual surrounding. However, while interacting in a VE system, humans are still located in the physical setup: they move through a laboratory space or may touch real-world objects. This duality of being in the real world while receiving visual, haptic, or aural information from the virtual world places users in a unique situation, forcing them to integrate (or separate) stimuli from potentially different sources simultaneously. The fact that a person’s perception of a virtual reality environment can vary enormously from the perception of real world environments opens up a broad field of potential applications that take advantage of perceptual illusions. Such illusions arise from misinterpretation by the brain of sensory information:

    • Visual illusions exploit the fact that vision usually dominates proprioceptive and vestibular senses. Based on this, redirected walking can force users to be guided on physical paths, which may vary from the paths on which they perceive they are walking in the virtual world.
    • Haptic illusions may give users the impression of feeling virtual objects by touching real world props. The physical objects that represent and provide passive haptic feedback for the virtual objects may vary in size, weight, or surface from the virtual counterparts without users observing the discrepancy.
    • Acoustic illusions may result in users perceive (self-)motion (such as vection) when no such visual motion is being supplied.

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    Frank Steinicke, Markus Lappe, Robert Lindeman, Victoria Interrante, Anatole Lécuyer

    The idea is that we learn more through errors, and perceptive illusions help understand perception by introducing errors into the system.

    One really interesting paper was “Travel Distance Estimation from Leaky Path Integration in Virtual and Real Environments“, by Markus Lappe and Harald Frenz, which gives a potential explanation on why travel distance estimation is under-estimated in VEs. To sum-up, when moving in a VE, we “lose” some movement information because the current hardware is not able to give realistic visuals. As we estimate the distance travelled visually by analyzing the optic flow, losing some of this information results in an underestimation of that distance.

    Another paper I really liked is “Exploiting Perceptual Illusions to Enhance Passive Haptics“, by Luv Kohli.

    Passive haptic feedback is very compelling, but a different physical object is needed for each virtual object requiring haptic feedback. I propose to enhance passive haptics by exploiting visual dominance, enabling a single physical object to provide haptic feedback for many differently shaped virtual objects.

    This means that using a simple flat real table, you should be able to simulate different surfaces like a tilted plane, or even an uneven surface, because the visual sense dominates what your hand feels !

    pive-passive-haptics

    Stay tuned for more about the actual IEEE VR conference!

    Fri 3 Apr 2009

    IEEE VR 2009 – Keynote Speech – VR at Ford

    Published at 13:17   Category VR Applications  

    I’m still processing my notes to make a summary of the conference, so in the meantime, here’s a nice video.

    The keynote was given by Elizabeth Baron, from Ford Motor Company. It is a very interesting and thourough presentation about how VR is used at Ford. If you wand in depth details about a really practical, everyday usage of VR to save a lot of time and big bucks, that’s the presentation to see !

    Unfortunately you won’t see the charming Elizabeth because only her powerpoint presentation and audio were recorded, but you’ll at least have what she says !

    http://media.computer.org/sponsored/conf/vis/2009/vr_keynote.flv

    Thanks to the VGTC for the video !

    Abstract
    Through our multidimensional world, our actions and the methods which we solve problems are based on our knowledge and experience. Moreover, the knowledge and methods used to develop and engineer products follow this same principle.

    For product design and engineering, the enabling technologies provided by a host of virtual reality hardware and software have provided marked efficiencies. These efficiencies are realized not only by replicating the physical world virtually, but by creating efficient virtual evaluations that go beyond what is possible in the physical world.

    However, challenges do exist. There are gaps in functionality in hardware, software and in methodology. These gaps are significant and do leave room for an evaluator to question the accuracy of a virtual evaluation.

    If specific tenets are adhered to regarding virtual assessments, trust in the results increases. Also, as technology improves, realism improves. Correlation with the natural world directly relates to believability in the results.

    Baron will explain the VR systems used at Ford and the successes and challenges of virtual reviews. She will relay the practical principles Ford employs regarding conducting virtual assessments, as well as the types of assessments that are used in vehicle development and engineering. And she will also provide insight on where gaps exist in the current suite of VR tools, and thoughts on the future of human/computer interaction for vehicle engineering and design.

    Bio
    Elizabeth Baron is a Technical Specialist in Virtual Reality and Advanced Visualization at Ford Motor Company. She manages the VR Center in Product Development, and provides immersive virtual reality evaluation systems used for industrial design and product development. She is part of the Digital Innovation Group at Ford. Her goal is to deploy immersive systems at Ford that address the unique challenges of automotive design and engineering. She has led the development of several VR systems for vehicle development that satisfy evaluation criteria for engineering, packaging and aesthetic design of vehicle interiors and exteriors by allowing different disciplines in product development to communicate in a common environment.

    Elizabeth began her career at Ford in 1988 working as a software developer for Ford’s product design software, later specializing in visualization and solid modeling software. She has created a virtual environment which combines a physical scalable vehicle model with virtual data to evaluate discrete vehicle exterior and interior alternatives, with animated scalable characters and animated vehicles. She has conducted research within Ford on the best use of VR tools for customer clinics and marketing and engineering. Recently, Elizabeth’s work was highlighted in Ford’s ‘Drive One.’ TV ad campaign.