At Vanderbilt University researchers use Vizard and PPT to study computer animation and virtual environments

client: Vanderbilt University

research field: Computer Graphics and Animation

equipment used: WorldViz Vizard Virtual Reality Toolkit, WorldViz PPT optical-intertial hybrid motion tracking system, NVIS enterprise-grade VR headset.

Professor Bobby Bodenheimer about his research: My research and that of my group is primarily in computer graphics, particularly computer animation and virtual environments. In computer animation, I develop methods that allow the creation of visually compelling human motion. I am especially interested in the evaluation of such methods, and how such evaluation informs the design process. Evaluation techniques for animation contain a strong perceptual component, which closely links with my related research interest, that is, how people perceive and act on their perceptions in virtual environments. I am particularly interested in the construction of virtual environments that leverage perceptual affordances.

Research Project Examples

Virtual Environments

My interest in virtual environments (VEs) is to study them as learning environments. As such, my work explores higher level design issues associated with learning environments. My work can be categorized into desktop learning systems and immersive virtual environments. The important point of this work is to build systems that allow people to learn in meaningful contexts and situations. For immersive virtual environments, my research develops design principles for immersion that allow environments where people can actively explore and guide their own learning. For desktop environments, my work has focused on the incorporation of compelling animation into a learning system, called the teachable agent system.

Virtual Environments Specific Projects

Spatial reasoning and locomotion in HMD-based virtual environments. A significant problem for HMD-based virtual environments that are large and that enable people to actively explore them will then be the problem of space. Having large areas suitable for active exploration of a large virtual environment is often not practical. This work addresses issues of learning in virtual environments and how subjects can explore large environments on foot when physical space is constrained. Read More

Pedestrian SafetyWe investigate how people perceive approaching traffic in virtual environments. The goal of this study is to improve pedestrian traffic crossings. This work is important since there were over 4500 pedestrian fatalities in 2003 in the United States. Read More

Animated Learning EnvironmentsThis work examines the means and utility of using animated agents to promote positive learning experiences. The particular target audience is K-12 students. The paradigm and platform that we explore animated under are teachable agents. Read More

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