It also differs from tele-immersion viewed as a networked collaborative virtual reality that uses avatars to represent collaborators and makes no attempt to blend real and synthetic objects. Such approaches are geared toward exploration of abstract data; our vision, instead, is of a realistic distributed extension to our own physical space, this presents challenges in environment sampling, transmission, reconstruction, presentation, and user interaction. Other approaches that concentrate on realistic rendering of participants in a shared tele-conference do not employ the extensive local environment acquisition necessary to sustain a seamless blending of the real and synthetic locales.
Applications for this form of tele-immersion will include immersive electronic books that in effect blend a "time machine" with 3D hypermedia, to add an additional important dimension, that of being able to record experiences in which a viewer, immersed in the 3D reconstruction, can literally walk through the scene or move backward and forward in time. While there are many potential application areas for such novel technologies (e.g., design and virtual prototyping, maintenance and repair, paleontological and archaeological reconstruction), the focus here will be on a societally important and technologically challenging driving application, teaching surgical management of difficult, potentially lethal, injuries.
Applications - Electronic Books for Surgical Training