We at Brown carry out tele-immersion foundation research as part of the National Tele-immersion Initiative (NTII), formerly sponsored by Advanced Network & Services, Inc. and still by NSF's Science and Technology Center for Graphics and Visualization (STC) (the other members are Caltech, Cornell, UNC, & Utah). Our research is concentrated in two different areas - user interfaces for tele-immersion and software infrastructure for tele-immersion.
In order to fully utilize tele-immersion, we need to provide interaction that is both as seamless as the real world but allows even more effective communictation. For example, in the real world someone involved in a meeting might draw a picture on paper and then show the paper to the other people in the meeting. In tele-immersive spaces people have the opportunity to communicate in fundamentally new ways. Architects might fashion virtual 3D models directly in front of their client by gesturing with special tracked pens, and surgeons might discuss a patient's anatomy or review and manipulate previously captured surgical procedures as fully interactive, three-dimensional time-varying "movies".
We are also creating a software framework that makes developing these interaction techniques easier across a range of platforms, ranging from desktop to semi-immersive to fully immersive environments. The system will provide easy and rapid prototyping of interaction, rendering performance that rivals that of other 3D systems, good documentation, and it will be freely available.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Office of the Future, Prof. Henry Fuchs and Prof. Greg Welch
University of Pennsylvania, GRASP Lab, Kostas Danilidis
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