Foreword to Special issue on Virtual environments

R. Liere, van, B. Mohler

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The usage of virtual environments (VEs) in various application fields has significantly increased in recent years. The explosive advancement of commodity graphics hardware, immersive displays and tracking technology allows for the exploration of new approaches in the design of immersive interfaces which increase the level of engagement between the user and the simulated environment. The Eurographics Symposium on Virtual Environments is a forum for dissemination of the latest research results in VEs. The 14th EGVE symposium was held in Eindhoven, The Netherlands on May 29–30, 2008. This issue contains revised and expanded versions of the three best papers selected from the Proceedings of EGVE 2008. One of the challenges in designing effective immersive interfaces is the representation of body position/orientation in the environment and an accurate updating of this representation when the body–environment relationship changes. The paper "Influence of the size of the field-of-view on motion perception" by Pretto et al. presents two experiments that aim to determine the effect of field-of-view on the effectiveness of optical flow for estimation of the perceived amplitude of rotations about the body vertical axis and the perceived speed of forward translations. Results are reported that suggest that large field-of-view are not required to estimate the amplitude of visual rotations about the vertical axis of the body, whereas field-of-views of at least 60° are advisable when speed perception relies on optic flow information. The second paper, "Using Mobile Group Dynamics and Virtual Time to improve teamwork in large-scale Collaborative Virtual Environments" by Dodds et al. addresses how interfaces of Collaborative Virtual Environments can be improved for synchronous and asynchronous collaboration. The authors investigate how teleporting and virtual time affect human behavior in task- and team-specific goals. They found that virtual time simulated communication between the participants. They also found that their multiple views and teleporting functionality did increase communication and allowed for an increase of the distance between participants. It has been said that there is no silver bullet in motion tracking. Indeed, choosing the right motion traker entails a trade-off between different requirements by VE designess. The third paper, "A Simulator-based Approach to Evaluating Optical Trackers" by Smit et al. proposes a simulation framework to evaluate the performance of model-based optical trackers. The framework can be used to evaluate and compare the performance of different trackers under various conditions. These input conditions can model important aspects, such as the interaction task, input device geometry, camera properties and occlusion. In this way, designers of VEs can use the framework to study various conditions affecting optical tracking performance. This special issue brings together original research and contributions in VEs. We expect that it will generate novel and exciting ideas to further this field and sincerely hope you enjoy it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-
JournalComputers and Graphics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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