Week 11


Homework - due Friday 11/10 at 9pm Chicago time

One of Microsoft's research projects is Holoportation - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/holoportation-3/

Given what we are going to talk about this week in collaboration, and what we have discussed previously in regards to tracking and cameras and interaction, and given your experience playing with the holoLens back at the beginning of the class, give your critical analysis of this work in the typical homework webpage writeup.

Collaborative Virtual Reality

People have been sharing virtual worlds of different kinds for quite a while now

In this class we are going to focus on shared / collaborative Virtual Reality worlds (3D displays, head and hand tracking) which tend to be less massive in terms of the number of participants, but richer in terms of the interaction with the virtual world and the other participants.

One way to do this is to have a large shared display like a CAVE or CAVE2 showing a single virtual world where multiple people in the same location share that virtual world where one person controls the viewpoint but one or more people might have interaction control. The participants see each other's real bodies, and talk to each other directly. This is co-located collaboration.

If the participants are not co-located then more infrastructure is needed. In this case each participant is in their own virtual world (whether via HMD or a large display) and is connected via a server to other participants sharing the same space. Participants have avatar bodies - representations of their tracked selves in the virtual world for others to see - and voice (and / or video) is streamed between the participants.

You can also scan people in and have 3D realistic, but not mobile, 'statue' avatars

You can also get yourself scanned today in a 3D scanner and generate an articulated avatar of yourself

Some more avatar bodies:

- you may want to choose one that shows where you are from

- another to make you look a bit more 'professional' - note the virtual 'nametag' hovering over the avatar to help identify who this is and where he/she is looking

One issue with avatars is that they tend to level hierarchies during collaborations, so the 'boss' is less obvious. This can be a serious issue as some people will not take part in these kinds of activities if it lowers their perceived amount of power. If someone has invested a lot of money in their appearance they sometimes are very unhappy when that disappears into a goofy avatar. For these people video is the only way that they will collaborate over distance.

Another issue to keep in mind when you have multiple avatars in a space is whether they will collide with each other and/or the walls and objects in the space. Trying to get a bunch of people moving down a compact hallway can be extremely challenging for people - think about a group of people all trying to get off an elevator at the same time.

Heterogeneous Perspectives

Asynchronous Work

While collaborative VR across continents is rather easy to do technologically, somebody has to stay late or come in early to collaborate synchronously with people on the other side of the planet. Sometimes asynchronous collaboration is better, but how do you coordinate your work?

One way is to record your voice and gestures in the virtual world and then allow others to play them back later on

Virtual Harlem / V-Mail

Some current consumer collaborative applications

Black Hat Cooperative and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes are good examples of local cooperative games where one person wears an HMD and performs tasks in the virtual world and another person (or persons) helps that person with their tasks given a set of knowledge that the person in the HMD doesn't have - https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=34&v=C_dNn7aQbmQ

bridge commander is interesting because you have four seated participants sharing the same virtual space who can talk to each other and gesture, while solving a common set of tasks - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRFVmTAhhac

Rec Room is a collaborative VR space to play games with other people from around the planet - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb0qWWVsvRA

Some worlds are just designed to be social spaces

AltSpaceVR - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I6QNXR0dPY

facebook spaces - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kGRpSd4vnc most famously used by Mark Zuckerberg to 'visit' Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3S-T5zgRnw

As more and more people have been using the internet to communicate with other we have seen ever increasing amounts of harassment in these shared spaces, and shared virtual worlds are not immune to this. Making this kind of communication possible isn't very hard - making it a useful and safe space for its participants will be the subject of research for many years to come.

Avatars in Augmented Reality

Just as one can have computer generated avatars in virtual reality, one can have computer generated avatars in augmented reality, though these avatars may be more focused on communication rather than collaboration since your physical world most likely does not match their physical world.

One can also imagine taking all of the various webcam overlays and having those appear on your real self through everyone else's AR displays (re Ghost in the Shell) though you would still look like yourself to everyone without AR.

One could also imagine people wearing holographic projection systems, or clothing made of light emitting fabric as in Samuel Delaney's Dhalgren (1975) where people without special equipment can see you as someone or something else. 

Coming Next Time

Student Choice Presentations

last revision 11/7/17