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authors Stellingwerff, Martijn
year 2001
title The concept of Carrying in Collaborative Virtual Environments
source Stellingwerff, Martijn and Verbeke, Johan (Eds.), ACCOLADE - Architecture, Collaboration, Design. Delft University Press (DUP Science) / ISBN 90-407-2216-1 / The Netherlands, pp. 195-208 [Book ordering info:]
summary Collaborative Architectural Design can take place within a virtual environment with a team of remote but virtually present people. However, in most virtual environments, the ability to perform actions is still limited to the availability of some interactive objects and a set of tools for the specific purposes of the system. As the interface of most systems is designed for unshared use, the graphic feedback signals are limited to local information about the state of objects and tools. If multiuser interaction is added to such Virtual Environments, many new possibilities and problems emerge. Users of shared applications should not only be informed about the state of local objects, tools and their own actions, they should also be made aware of what the other users undertake. Aspects, which are in daily life so obvious, should be restudied thoroughly for the application within Virtual Environments for Collaborative Design. Much research has to be undertaken in order to make such virtual places as intuitively interactive as ordinary shared working places. The 'concept of carrying', which is proposed and explained in this paper, is expected to become a useful metaphoric mechanism for solving several issues related to Spatial User Interfaces (SUI's) and Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVE's). The visual feedback from 'carrying-events' should provide more mutual understanding about ongoing processes in shared applications and it should add a more 'natural' interface for processes concerning people, tools and content in virtual and digitally augmented environments. At the start of this paper some basic human action patterns for tasks on a 2Ddesktop are compared to tasks in a 3D-environment. These action patterns are checked for their implementation in Windows Icons Menus and Pointer (WIMP) interfaces and Virtual Reality systems. Carrying is focused upon as an important interactive event in Virtual Environments. Three carrying actions related to Collaborative Architectural Design are explained by means of prototypes in Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). Finally the usefulness of a general carrying concept as part of a new Visual Language is considered. The research at hand is in its first exploring phases and draws from a running PhD research about SUI's for Context Related Architectural Design and from recent experiences in CVE's.
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