The Future Fabrics of Reality:
socio-psychological aspects of human interaction in advanced mixed reality environments
In the last two years, technological tools known as Mixed Reality Interfaces (MRIs) have appeared on the market, which not only allow user interaction with a virtual environment, but also allow the physical objects of the user’s immediate real environment to serve as elements of interaction with the virtual environment. That is, MRIs are perfect tools to introduce into our reality new virtual elements (objects and virtual humans) that will generate a new reality in our brain. Today, MRIs are the most technologically advanced tools that human beings have used to date to improve their reality and generate artificial realities that improve the reality they live. In the last year, there is an unusual interest in MRI in the ICT industry. That means that MRI will be a revolution in human communication mediated by new technologies, as in the moment was the irruption of the mobile phone. Therefore, the central question that motivates the present talk is: what capacity will MRIs have to alter the reality that we are going to live in a few years and hence alter the social communication between humans?
To date, only a very basic aspect of MRIs is being investigated, its ability to simulate our current reality. However, the above question calls for a paradigm shift in current MRI research. It is necessary to advance towards this new paradigm by proposing a basic research scheme that will allow to analyze the influence of individual personnel variables and MRI interaction aspects will have on basic aspects of human behavior, like decision making. In this talk, we present several examples of how MRI can be used for human behavior tracking and modification, we describe different research projects results and we conclude with a discussion of potential future implications.
Mariano Alcañiz is Full Professor at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) and Director of the Human-Centered Technology Institute (LabHuman). He is a professor of Biomedical Engineering and has courtesy appointments in Virtual Reality. His research interest is focused on how virtual reality related technologies can augment human abilities and performance in fields like medicine, health, education and marketing. From a scientific point of view, his interest is to understand and classify the relevant significance of each aspect of the human activity and how to use this information in computer mediated technologies for enhancing human abilities and quality of life. From a technological point of view, his objectives are to improve interactive technology in virtual environments used at different formats and the development of algorithms, methods and techniques for ubiquitous and non-obtrusive measurement of human activity. Alcañiz has over 100 publications in the area of computer mediated human activity and patents on augmented reality and computer aided surgery. He has been coordinator of various European projects and national research projects related to the area. He is also coordinator of several national R&D programs of excellence. He is the National Program Coordinator of the Information Society Technology (IST) of the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain and he is the Spanish representative for ICT area at the Horizon 2020 European Research Program Committee. He has been founder of several spin-off companies related with his research field.
VINCENZO FERRARI, Università di Pisa, Italy
Potentialities of AR in medicine and surgery
Patient safety and the surgical accuracy can be nowadays significantly improved thanks to the availability of patient specific information contained in particular in medical images. AR is considered an ergonomic way to show the patient related information during the procedure, as demonstrated by the hundreds of works published in the last years. To develop useful AR systems for surgery there are many aspects to take into account from a technical, clinical and perceptual point of view. During the talk particular attention will be posed to the using of HMD for surgical navigation describing also current doubts related to the using of this kind of technologies to perform manual tasks under direct view.
AR offers also the possibility to improve surgical training outside the surgical room. Surgical simulation based on AR, mixing the benefits of physical and virtual simulation, represents a step forward in surgical training. In this talk the last advancements in visual and tactile AR for surgical simulation will be showed.
FABRIZIO LAMBERTI, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Phygital play: where gaming intersects mixed reality, robotics and human-machine interaction
Developments in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies are dramatically changing the way we perform many of our everyday activities. One of the fields that is expected to be more profoundly influenced by this technological revolution is entertainment and, especially, gaming. With VR and AR, players will be able to fully immerse in computer-generated environments and become part of them, while gaming elements will be allowed to enter the real word and interact with it in a playful way. The physicality ensured by the possibility to move in open spaces as well as to touch, move and, in a word, feel both real and virtual objects will make gaming more engaging, as it will bring players’ experience to a more primordial level. The “physicalization” of gaming is a process that will encompass a number of other fields. For instance, ways to make players interaction with computers and computer-generated contents ever more concrete, e.g., by exploiting haptic, tangible or hand and body tracking-based interfaces will have to be experimented. Similarly, the contribution of non-technical research fields will have to be taken into account. As a matter of example, according to behavioral studies, robotic elements could be introduced in the playing area, e.g., as players’ avatars, artificial companions, etc. to strengthen the relation between the digital and physical worlds. By leveraging the above considerations, the aim of this talk is to present the activities that are being carried out to create a cloud-based platform supporting a systematic use of VR/AR technologies, robotic components and human-machine interaction paradigms with the aim to further push the transformation of real-world settings in ever more amazing gaming environments.
ROBERTO SCOPIGNO, ISTI-CNR, Pisa, Italy
VR/AR: success stories and opportunities in Cultural Heritage and Digital Humanities
Virtual and Augmented Reality have already a quite long story and a consolidated status. There are a number of projects and installations specifically developed for presenting or navigating Cultural Heritage (CH) data. But CH or, more broadly, Digital Humanities are domains with specific needs and constraints. Previous projects have selected these domains either to assess new technologies or to provide new tools and navigation experiences. The users in this domain belong to two well differentiated classes: ordinary public (museum visitors, web surfers) or experts (scholars, archaeologists, restorers). The talk will present in a comparative manner some selected previous experiences, aiming at deriving a critical assessment and suggest issues and open questions.
FABRIZIO NUNNARI, German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Germany
Populating virtual worlds: practical solutions for the generation of interactive virtual characters
Creating a state-of-the-art virtual character is a job which requires the employment of many professionals–dedicated artists do modeling, texturing, and rigging.However, since few years it is possible to find some software tools allowing nonskilled users to generate fully functional virtual characters quickly. The characters, which feature a compromise between quality and creation speed, are ready to be employed for either movie production or in real-time applications.In this tutorial, I will give an overview of some modern virtual character generators, and I will show how to use them to populate with characters real-time interactive applications.
Fabrizio Nunnari is researcher at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI – Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz), where he conducts research in the field of Computer-Human Interaction and virtual character animation. Specifically, he works on virtual interpreters for sign languages and I’m investigating on the use of Natural User Interfaces for authoring character animation. He received a Master Degree in Computer Science in 2001 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2005. Between 2005 and 2012 Nunnari worked as both Researcher and Developer, sharing my time among academical research and industrial production. He used to collaborate everyday with academics, artists, and creatives to conceive and to deliver original and innovative software and multimedia products, such as Computer Graphics Videos, Interactive 3D Applications, Art & Multimedia Installations. The research activities touched the fields of Multimedia Systems, Virtual Storytelling, and Procedural Character Animation.