Intelligent Virtual Environments: Technologies, Architectures and Applications

Lecturer (Coordinator):
Angélica de Antonio
angelica@fi.upm.es
Lecturer:
Jaime Ramírez
jramirez@fi.upm.es

Semester

First semester

Credits

4 ECTS

Outline

This subject explores intelligent virtual environments as a type of computer system, which has:

  • very distinctive features in terms of human-computer interaction (3D immersive environments where the user interacts with objects, other users and autonomous agents),
  • very special supportive technologies (virtual reality and augmented reality devices),
  • very important and promising applications that justify research in its development (such as educational or design applications),
  • and many open challenges and a lot of potential for research in the future.

We will introduce the major lines of research open in the field of intelligent virtual environments, examining the particularities of 3D interaction, the challenges associated with intelligent virtual agent design and educational applications.

Learning Goals

  • Awareness of the different types of virtual environments, understanding of avatars as representations of virtual environment participants and familiarity with the role that intelligent agents play in a virtual environment
  • Awareness of the main virtual environment applications and example developments
  • Awareness of the major human-computer interaction techniques and technologies for virtual environments, their potential and constraints
  • Ability to plan a project to build an intelligent virtual environment, establishing the process to be enacted, the technologies to be used, the interaction options to be offered and the role to be played by the intelligent virtual agents, and to select the best technologies, architectures and tools to complete the project
  • Ability to formulate and implement the design of research in the following fields:
    • human-computer interaction in the context of an intelligent virtual environment
    • capabilities of intelligent virtual agents
    • intelligent virtual environment technologies and architectures

Syllabus

  1. Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies
    1. Basic concepts of virtual reality and augmented reality
    2. Devices and technologies for virtual and augmented reality
    3. Specific challenges in augmented reality
  2. Virtual environment development
    1. Tasks and tools for the development of a virtual environment
    2. 3D interaction tasks and techniques
  3. Virtual Humans
    1. Architecture and components of a virtual human
    2. Perception in a virtual human
    3. The mind of a virtual human
    4. Actuation capabilities in a virtual human
  4. Virtual reality and augmented reality applications
    1. Educational applications: virtual tutors
    2. Industrial applications: design and verification
    3. Applications in culture and entertainment

Recommended reading:

  • Rickel, J., Johnson. "Animated agents for procedural training in virtual reality: Perception, cognition and motor control". W. L. Applied Artificial Intelligence 13, 343-382. 1999.
  • Richard Bartle. "Designing Virtual Worlds". New Riders Games. 2003.
  • William R. Sherman, Alan Craig. "Understanding Virtual Reality: Interface, Application, and Design". Morgan Kaufmann. 2003.
  • Doug A. Bowman, Ernst Kruijff, Joseph J. La Viola, Ivan Poupyrev. "3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice". Addison-Wesley Professional. 2004.
  • Cassell, J. "Embodied conversational agents: representation and intelligence in user interfaces". AI Magazine, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 67 - 83. 2001
  • Dehn, D., Van Mulken, S. "The impact of animated interface agents: a review of empirical research". Int. J. Human-Computer Studies, 52, 1-22. 2000.
  • Gratch, J., Rickel, J. et al. "Creating Interactive Virtual Humans: some assembly required". IEEE Intelligent systems July/August 2002, pp.2-11.
  • Greenhalgh, C., Benford, S. and Reynard, G. "A QoS Architecture for Collaborative Virtual Environments". ACM Multimedia (MM'99), Orlando, Florida, ACM Press. November, 1999.
  • M. R. Macedonia, and M. J. Zyda. "A Taxonomy for Networked Virtual Environments". IEEE Multimedia, Jan-Mar, pp. 48-56. 1997.
  • D.A. Bowman, L.F. Hodges. "An Evaluation of Techniques for Grabbing and Manipulating Remote Objects in Immersive Virtual Environments". Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics, pp. 35-38. 1997.
  • Ronald T. Azuma. A survey of augmented reality. Presence: Teleoperators andVirtual Environments, 6(4):355-385. 1997.
  • "A Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays." IEICE Transactions on Information Systems E77-D (12): 1321-1329

Assessment Method

The course has a theoretical and a practical side.

The theoretical part will be dealt with through lectures and the established mandatory readings. This part will be evaluated via Moodle tests.

The practical part will be evaluated via an individual work that consists on an initiation to research. Each student will deepen into one of the following topics:

  • Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies
  • Interaction in virtual environments
  • Virtual humans and their capabilities
  • Virtual learning environments. Virtual tutors
  • Virtual environment applications

Each student will produce a report as a result of the research work. This report should have a minimum length of 15 pages, not counting references. The report should offer a historical perspective (what has been done, and when) as well as a technical perspective (description of the main results in the area, viewpoints, contributions...). A critical approach and the identification of research opportunities will be positively valued.

The work can also consist on the design of an experimental work. In this case, an application area will be chosen, one or more interesting hypotheses should be posed, and a procedure to test the hypotheses should be designed.

For each document or paper that has been read in the preparation of the report (even if finally it was not relevant and cited in the report) a brief summary paragraph should be written. The report should include an appendix with all these summaries.

In the classroom, each student should perform an intermediate advance presentation of their work, aimed to describe the approach selected, the degree of advance, and the plan for the future work.

Also, at the end of the semester, each student should perform a final presentation of the work and the results obtained.

On the other hand, each student will act as a reviewer for another student, being responsible for the evaluation of the written report and both oral presentations. The review work performed will also be evaluated by the instructor.

Lecture Theater

A-6206

Tuition language

English

Subject-Specific Competences

Code, description and proficiency level for each subject-specific competence
Code Competence Proficiency Level
CEM1 Examination of the state of the art to identify research problems related to the design, construction, use and evaluation of complex software-intensive sociotechnical systems C
CEM9 Evaluation of the most innovative human-computer interaction technologies and critical appraisal of the contributions to related research problems S

Learning Outcomes

Code, description and proficiency level for each subject learning outcome
Code Learning Outcome Associated competences Proficiency level
RA-EVI-71 Ability to plan an intelligent virtual environment construction project, establishing the process to be enacted, the technologies to be used, the interaction options to be offered and the role to be played by the intelligent virtual agents, and select the best technologies, architectures and tools to complete the project CEM1, CEM9 S
RA-EVI-72 Ability to formulate and implement the design of research in the field of human-computer interaction in the context of an intelligent virtual environment CEM1, CEM9 S
RA-EVI-73 Ability to formulate and implement the design of research in the field of intelligent virtual agent capabilities CEM1, CEM9 S
RA-EVI-74 Ability to formulate and implement the design of research in the field of technologies and architectures for intelligent virtual environments CEM1, CEM9 S

Learning Guide

Learning Guide: Intelligent Virtual Environments: Technologies, Architectures and Applications