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VWN Resource Database: Replacing WIMP
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Resource Database > Replacing WIMP
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The Brain
 
WIMP - Windows Icons Menus Pointers. This is the paradigm behind most modern, mainstream graphical computer interfaces (GUI). WIMP is used because it is more intuative and swifter to work with than typing lines at a command prompt. However, WIMP still makes it hard for many people to work comfortably, or really efficiently at a computer. What is really required is an interface which is more natural for a three dimensional mind to operate.


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The Problems with WIMP (0)



Designing Interfaces (13)

For any VR or AR project, designing the basic interface can be a hip-deep challenge. The human-computer interface (HCI) is the single most important element, and forms the bond between the participant and the world.
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Unintentional Gesture

3DNA is a product that attempts to redefine the old WIMP paradigm (Windows Icons Menus Pointers) characteristic of modern two-dimensional computer interfaces, by placing it within a true 3D setting.


Linked resource
BBC Click: The future of interaction?
This BBC article takes a look at three separate technologies vying to replace keyboard and mouse: Touchscreens, brain machine interfaces and gesture recognition.

Designing a good interface isn't easy. Users demand software that is well-behaved, good-looking, and easy to use. UI designers over the years have refined the art of interface design, evolving many best practices and reusable ideas.



This book concentrates on an oft-overlooked aspect of AR: Designing the interface. All too often AR applications just build on existing software, often utilising whatever hardware comes to hand.



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Podcast: The paradox of choice
This cast from TED 2005, features Barry Schwartz taslking about his then-new book, "The Paradox of Choice". He uses it as a forum to argue that the more choice you have, the less freedom you have, because you cannot make up your mind what to choose.

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Podcast: When it comes to tech, simplicity sells
This cast from TED 2006, argues at how, no matter what the technology is, if it is going to sell, it must be as simple to use for the end-user, as possible.

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Response to Podcast The Paradox of Choice
At the time of writing this, the article 'Podcast The Paradox of Choice' has been on the server for less than a day. It contains a TED podcast and a partial transcription of same. The podcast is essentially a twenty minute long, semi lucid, raving rant by philosopher Barry Schwartz, regarding his book, and the meaning of paradox of choice.

Linked resource
The Best Computer Interfaces: Past, Present, and Future
Technology Review has assembled an itinerary of the most revolutionary mainstream computer interfaces of the past, current times and anticipated for near future. Nothing to surprise here. The list contains 10 interface methods, and surprisingly, vanilla VR did not make the list.

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Virtual worlds Require Better Tools
When we interact with the world around us, how do we do it? Do we press soft foot soles to the floor, feeling the cold flow up our legs? Bend over the fridge, wiping the hair out of our eyes as we do so, smelling the mix of meats and cheeses within?

AirStrike is a gesture control system designed to enable control of any pc or display interface via waving your fingers in the air, and smart sensing technology to detect those gestures accurately enough to completely replace a computer mouse or 3D pointer.



The Optimus is an OLED keyboard that actually functions. They are something of a revolution in keyboards - those generic input devices we all use - as they contain tiny display units instead of keys, and change to any typographic, pictographic, or combination layout, in a flicker of an instant.




Counterpart to a news story in February 2005, New Augmented Reality Position Tech contained details of a breakthrough in augmented reality. This slideshow forms the visual element of that.




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3D VR Interfaces (19)

Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
6DOF

This book is basically a combined encyclopaedia of design from four HCI experts, on how to design three dimensional user interfaces, where the depth axis is suddenly critically important. They build on existing 2D paradigms, but recognise that some ? like WIMP ? are almost totally destabilised by the third axis.



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An Omnipresent Environment
The concept of a totally surrounding, totally enveloping virtual environment; the logical progression for VR.

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Artists 'draw on air' to create 3D illustrations
Slipping an slim line, lightweight stereoscopic HMD over your eyes; each of the two screens sending data to a different eye, giving the same angles in the virtual world as light takes to each eye in the physical. Holding a stylus in one hand, and a 3D pointer in the other. This is the set up for art work, heavy engineering design or model making with ?Drawing on Air?.

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Book Quotes: 3D Icon Interface
A quote from the opening pages of Idoru, detailing a 'represented by a three-ring binder suffering the indignities of artificial bit-rot', or, the concept of 3D models in a VR serving the same function as icons on a desktop.

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Book Quotes: Hypercards and File Transfers
Basically, a hypercard is a file. Not any type of file, but a file in general. Or, more specifically, it is a standardised object that represents a file in a 3D immersive environment. No different really than an icon. Tied to the data in the file, when a hypercard changes hands, the file changes computers.

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Immersive Newscasting versus Actuality
A quote from "Otherland: City of golden shadow", talking about the probable confusion that could result from a realistic enough, surround news feed versus actual physical experience of a disaster.

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Large Image Display: Animatrix: Beyond: The Matrix VR Map
This image is all about mapping, and more specifically how to preserve all necessary high level information in a virtual environment, in a cut down form, to allow easy oversight.

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Large Image Display: Animatrix: The Second Renaissance: The Goddess Interface
This single still is from the widescreen version of ?The Second Renaissance?, one of the Animatrix animated shorts. Its clever because psychologically, a human of either gender tends to find it easier to listen to a female voice than a male one. The guide goddess, symbolizing absolute power, interacts with the images as well, just when a counterpoint is needed, but is not in the file.

Right from the preface, Multimedia and Virtual Reality identifies itself as something of an academic book, with a relatively dry prose. It has a great deal of fascinating content, carefully examined and presented, yet the language used, does assume a certain level of vocabulary.



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Parallax Augmented Desktop
The PAD is another attempt to move beyond the flatland desktop paradigm. This one, thought up by researchers in Masatoshi Ishikawa's lab at the University of Tokyo, turns the desktop into a virtual 3D space directly.

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Podcast: Look! Up in the sky! It's Virtual Earth!
Part of a talk from TED 2007, in which there were still high hopes for Microsoft Virtual Earth, and presenter Stephen Lawler was pushing it with ghusto.


The VirtuaSphere is the first of its kind, a rotating bubble like a giant hamster ball. It surrounds the user, responding to their every movement, and using doppler radar to detect, then translate that into a 3D virtual environment. Roaming freely without end. No walls, no obstacles, no boundaries to movement.


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VR Environments in the Workplace: The Cubicle worker
A dreamscapes narrative, about the near future of business for cubicle workers, using a story to bring across the human point of view rather than that of the technology.

The Wanda was the first of the wands/3D pointers, which are essentially mice working in three dimensions, with six degrees of movement. Still around today, Wanda is often the input device of choice for CAVE style VR interfaces.



The Nintendo Wii - formerly the Nintendo Revolution, was formally announced at an E3 2006 press conference. The display screen lit up to a Mario game, with Mario running around, and picking up crates to throw at enemies - and the crate followed the same path onscreen.



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When 3D Becomes a Busman's Holiday
A succinct quote on the nature of VR, to the point of saying that when it is used in business and education, will we truly desire full VR in personal interaction?

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Working in 3D:1. Natural Filing
Computer filing systems are not always the most logical of structures to work around. Even experienced users sometimes create mad colonies of folders in an attempt to visualise the file structure into some kind of order. This winds up with a system that makes perfect sense to them, only whilst looking at the string of names in a particular folder.



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3D AR Interfaces (7)

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Mixed Reality Sculpture brings Tron to Life
Industry News

A project developed as part of Interactivos 2007, in Madrid, Spain, attempts to literally merge physical and virtual objects as an art project.

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Podcast: David Merrill: Siftables, the toy blocks that think
MIT grad student David Merrill demos Siftables -- Biscuit-sized, computerized tiles you can stack and shuffle in your hands. A bit like the stick-man blocks sold in toy stores now, but much, much smaller and more sophisticated.

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Podcast: Johnny Lee: Creating tech marvels out of a $40 Wii Remote
This cast from TED 2008, looks at how the cheap wii-mote can be easily repurposed to do the job of much more expensive VR hardware.

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Podcast: Sixth Sense AR Tech: TED 2009
This podcast is the talk by Pattie Maes of the MIT Media Lab's new Fluid Interfaces Group, presenting the work of her student, Pranav Mistry, and the Sixth Sense technological augmenation system that was the talk of the conference.

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Roomba: The Little Robot that Inspired
The Roomba is an icon of robotics. Has been such since 2002, when iRobot corporation first launched the little devil. Powered by simplistic AI, Roomba is an autonomous vacuum cleaner. Because of their relative affordability for what they are, Roombas are used as 'geek play toys', with all manner of wacky AR gadgets based directly off of them by enthusiastic hobbyists.

First printed in 2005, this book?s techniques are not exactly the cutting edge in terms of AR practices ? it hails from the first days of AR?s emergence. Even so, it is very comprehensive, and leads the reader from the first simple introductions, up to actual implementation of augmented reality for practical applications in immersive education and entertainment.



A novel interface paradigm computer, the QB1 is the brainchild of one Fr?d?ric Kaplan, an engineer with a background in robotic systems for Sony. He worked with designer Martino d?Esposito of EPFL in France, to create a computer system with no mouse, no keyboard, just an on/off switch, and the ability to recognise and respond to gestures.





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Esoteric Interfaces (0)



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Gaze Tracking (0)



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Gesture Control (9)

Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Gesture SequenceGesture Sequence Navigation
Motionless GestureTwo Handed Input
Unintentional Gesture
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A Downside of Gesture-Control: Perceptual Power of Gestures Used by Others
A potential concern has been found in the psychological implications of gesture control interfaces. When we design such things we must be aware of a power some gestures have, to alter the perceptions and memories of those who witness them.

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Finding the right Gestures for an Interface
It often seems that scarcely a week goes by without word of a minor or major breakthrough in gesture control of computer systems, speech recognition, or speech synthesis systems. All seem to be vectoring in on the ability to control computers entirely hands-off.

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Large Image Display: Chrysalis: Natural User Interface in Paperwork
A look at the tabletop interface system, a form of NUI that has long been sought after, but as the French film Chrysalis imagines it. A form which strongly resembles current efforts, but has the added benefit of being just a few years ahead of us, and is willing to show the capabilities off.

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Large Image Display: Chrysalis: Natural User Interface in Surveilance
Part two of a short series looking at the French film Chrysalis (2007)'s take on Natural User Interfaces. This focusses on a slightly more advanced form of touchscreen display; dealing with video data in such a way as to feel totally natural, even to a non-computer-user.



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Motion Control (4)

Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Multimodal SequenceMultimodal Sequence Navigation
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Combining MoCap and Gesture Recognition
MoCap - Motion Capture - for all its impressive abilities, has definite limitations in terms of sensory fidelity, the expense and bulk of the rig. Gesture control is cheap and captures every little movement, but easily overwhelmed. Is a hybrid system possible?

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What ACE means for VR
ACE, or Autonomous City Explorer, is an embodied robot system, a development of the Institute of Automatic Control Engineering at the Technical University of Munich. However, we are not interested in its navigation achievements here. Instead, one of the new interaction methods ACE employs, is of interest for quite different applications.



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Speech Recognition (0)



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Thought Interface (0)



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Touch & Multi-Touch (3)

Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Multimodal SequenceTouch Sequence
Touch Sequence Navigation


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Gimmicky Interfaces (2)

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AR Gimmicks > Adidas AR World
In the closing days of 2009, Adidas announced a new marketing gimmick for their shoes, using augmented reality and a virtual world. The idea is sleek and simple, attempting to meld the best of both worlds. It also demands that many pairs of shoes are purchased, padding Adidas' bottom line.

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AR Gimmicks > Epson New Year Cards
Epson rounded off 2009 with a novel marketing strategy utilising virtual mirror technology. The standard type of kiosk-based visual AR, virtual mirrors utilise a camera and a large flatscreen display (the mirror) to superimpose virtual data upon the reflection returned. The idea? To create AR New Year's cards to send.



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Creating Mixed Reality Interfaces (4)

Linked resource
A 'hands-on' approach to computers
A physorg article, looking at one man's quest to bring augmented reality interfaces for computation into existence - blending the computer interface with the physical world.

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AR Development > ARToolKit
ARToolkit (literally Augmented Reality Toolkit) is a library of visual interpretation functions, designed for use with C. It is capable of deciphering a video stream with machine vision, rendering 3D objects, adding them to the scene and outputting the new stream, all in real-time.

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AR Development > FLARToolKit
FLARToolKit stands for FLash-based Augmented Reality Toolkit, and is a port of the Java-based port of ARToolkit, NyARToolKit. The toolkit is compatible with Flash version 10, using Action Script 3, where it executes natively. Thus, unlike most AR visual toolkits, it has a limited capability when real-time rendering is maintained.

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AR Development > NyARToolKit
NyARToolKit is a complete port of ARToolkit that was written exclusively in Java. This makes it slower in execution than the original, but completely architecture independent. Like the original, NyARToolKit is a library of functions visual interpretation and integration of VR data into physical environments, including real-time camera vision functionality, 3D rendering of virtual objects, and integrating both into the output stream.



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Putting It All Together (2)

Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Natural User InterfaceWYSIWIS


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Points To Remember (2)

Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Natural User InterfaceUnintentional Gesture