From A(vatars) to Z(ero Latency)
The talk introduces recent work of Würzburg’s HCI group at the Translational Neurotechnology Lab of the University of Freiburg. We will begin with a discussion of the general psychophysics of Virtual Reality and specifically of Avatar Technology and how they are useful for immersive human-computer interfaces enabling studies of, e.g., Presence, believability, Interpersonal Synchronization (IPS), the Illusion of Virtual Body Ownership (IVBO), or emotional response. Several examples will highlight the influence of embodiment and avatar appearance in Virtual Reality on these effects. The talk will illustrate potential obstacles as well as solutions to generate believable embodiment, e.g., how to generate life-like avatars and their animation in real-time. This is followed by a short reflection on timeliness as a critical requirement of the simulator technology to provide reusable and timeliness-aware systems controlling latency and jitter, pressing problems for many VR and AR systems. We will see how API-usability is strengthening the software quality of Real-Time Interactive Systems (RIS) in general and of multimodal VR systems specifically, and what we can expect from today’s operating systems and programming languages in terms of required timeliness given concurrency conditions. Along the way, we will have a look into typical applications of immersive systems, i.e., for therapy and training as well as for computer games and their serious application.