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Visual computing in virtual environments

: Lancelle, Marcel
: Fellner, Dieter W.; Havemann, Sven

Graz, 2011, 228 pp.
Graz, TU, Diss., 2011
Fraunhofer IGD ()
virtual reality (VR); virtual environment; multi-touch interaction; computer graphic

This thesis covers research on new and alternative ways of interaction with computers. Virtual Reality and multi touch setups are discussed with a focus on three dimensional rendering and photographic applications in the field of Computer Graphics.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Virtual Environments (VE) were once thought to be the future interface to computers. However, a lot of problems prevent an everyday use. This work shows solutions to some of the problems and discusses remaining issues.
Hardware for Virtual Reality is diverse and many new devices are still being developed. An overview on historic and current devices and VE setups is given and our setups are described. The DAVE, an immersive projection room, and the HEyeWall Graz, a large high resolution display with multi touch input are presented. Available processing power and in some parts rapidly decreasing prices lead to a continuous change of the best choice of hardware. A major influence of this choice is the application. VR and multi touch setups often require sensing or tracking the user, optical tracking being a common choice. Hardware and software of an optical 3D marker tracking and an optical multi touch system are explained.
The Davelib, a software framework for rendering 3D models in Virtual Environments is presented. It allows to easily port existing 3D applications to immersive setups with stereoscopic rendering and head tracking. Display calibration and rendering issues that are special to VR setups are explained. User interfaces for navigation and manipulation are described, focusing on interaction techniques for the DAVE and for multi touch screens. Intuitive methods are shown that are easy to learn and use, even for computer illiterates. Exemplary applications demonstrate the potential of immersive and non-immersive setups, showing which applications can most benefit from Virtual Environments. Also, some image processing applications in the area of computational photography are explained, that help to better depict the captured scene.