MCN/CIMI 2001  Wednesday October 24th

Building Immersive Environments :: Applications

Building immersive, virtual environments is a challenging & experimental endeavor. VR can provide a rich environment for art, entertainment and scientic visualization. The challenges are how to exploit the medium most effectively, whatever the subject or intentions of the VR and to create 3D interfaces and interactions that really work. Collaborative teams of artists, scientists and engineers are needed to build innovative and intense experiences.

Increasingly people are fascinated by the prospect of networking  remote VR devices over  high speed, broad bandwidth networks which enables long distance collaboration or experience as remotely located participants share a common virtual world. Presently a high level of technical expertise is necessary for networked VR.

Art Applications 
Visual artists are embracing virtual reality as a new medium for their work.  Artists experimenting with this medium have produced work which is abstract, formal, surreal, political. metaphorical, & psychological. Three main areas of focus are; exploiting  the interactive aspect of VR; using procedural methods to create imagery; and immersing the viewer/user in a visually rich 3D environment. Sound artists are also embracing virtual reality.
Story- telling/performance
  • Writers, performers and dramatists are being increasingly drawn to VR as a new realm for their work. These applications stress the aliveness of a virtual world by adding virtual or real actors. 
  • Cultural Heritage and Cultural Interpretation
    VR is a powerful tool for cultural heritage projects. It allows visitors to virtually experience reconstructions of architectural & archeological sites which are now in ruins, in inaccessible locations, or too fragile to allow for a constant stream of visitors. Pioneer workers in this field are also moving beyond  the model of a simple walk throughs of reconstructed sites to use the strengths of VR as an interactive device.
    Education & Medicine
    VR applications have been developed to teach grade school children and medical students. A 3D environment is paricularly suited for teaching concepts or structures with a 3D nature. Experiments are ongoing to test the effectiveness of VR as an educational tool and into remote learning using VR.
    Architecture, Industry & Design
    VR is fast becoming a useful tool for prototyping, design review and collaborative design.
  • Architecture, Industry & Design - selected list
  • Scientific Visualization
    VR is used to help scientists visualize, model  and interact with a wide variety of data sets - from molecules to volcanoes.