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SEANES 2012 Conference Paper

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Immersive technologies and HCI Innovation

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SEANES 2012 Conference Paper

  1. 1. Immersive Technologies and HCI Innovation The Impact on the Knowledge Professional David Wortley FRSA Senior Research Fellow Immersive Technology Strategies Leicester, United Kingdom david@davidwortley.comAbstract—This paper describes the trends in Human ComputerInterface Innovation driven by the immersive technologies of II. HUMAN INTELLIGENCE AND MACHINESvideo games, virtual worlds and social networks and questionsthe potential impact of these innovations on society in general A. Historical Perspectiveand the knowledge professional in particular. In the early days of any new machine or technology designed and built by humans, the operation of that machine to Keywords-component; immersive technologies, serious games, optimum performance required operator skill, experience,interfaces, personalisation, knowledge understanding and intelligence. To a large extent, the skill and experience of the human operator compensated for deficiencies I. INTRODUCTION in the man-machine interface. In almost every sphere of human Immersive Technologies such as serious games, virtual activity, there has been a remarkable transformation in the levelworlds and social networks are a very influential driver for of operator skill, intelligence and knowledge required to makeinnovation because of their success in engaging the effective use of machines and technology. These are just a fewdiscretionary time, attention and income of their users. This examples.investment in time, attention and money translates itself intothe commercial value of research and development of devices B. Transport Technologiesand applications which better engage technology users and/ormake products and services accessible to the widest possibleconsumer market. These devices and applications are shapingour use of technology in ways which are developing highlypersonalised relationships between users and various digitaldevices such that the devices themselves provide a uniqueinterface experience to the user which increasingly requireslower levels of skill and knowledge to access because thedomain knowledge is embedded in the device and/orapplication. These new types of relationships between humans andcomputers are maturing rapidly towards a more human-humanand/or human-deity relationship rather than a man-machinerelationship based on ergonomics and ease of use. In practicethis means that devices and applications need less and lessskill, experience and knowledge so that where previously British Rail Steam Locomotive Oliver Cromwellhumans used their intelligence to get the most from machines, Transport technologies are one example of how humankindmachines and technology increasingly use their intelligence to has sought to break down the barriers of time, space and stateget the best from human beings. This paper and presentation to enable people to travel further and faster. Where oncewill illustrate by example some of the recent development in humans harnessed the power of animals to achieve this goal,HCI being shaped by innovations in immersive technologies with the industrial revolution and steam power, mankind couldwhich combine very natural, almost invisible interfaces with operate a machine to transport people and goods to new placesartificial intelligence, image processing, sensor devices and at faster speeds. The early steam engines required a wholeuser profiling / personalisation tools. spectrum of human senses, intelligence and experience to operate efficiently and the necessary skills and/or knowledge would take years of training and practice to acquire. Without
  2. 2. this skill, experience and knowledge the transport systems of The invention of devices like Disk Fax is a good exampleyesteryear would not function at all. of ergonomics and technological innovation embedding human knowledge and intelligence into a machine and thereby Today, most of this skill and intelligence has been deskilling a process and/or removing the need for humanembedded in the machines themselves so that many modern intelligence. What human intelligence is required then becomestrains do not even require a driver, planes fly long distances on the domain of the small number of individuals responsible forautopilot and our cars and lorries require lesser amounts of skill inventing and developing the device.and intelligence to operate and this trend will continue From a societal perspective, this potentially creates anC. Telecommunications Technologies unprecedented environment in which knowledge is not disseminated and replicated globally but is concentrated in a The operation of a telephone from a user perspective has handful of individuals. Because this concentration ofalways been a relatively straightforward affair that could knowledge and power is a historical quantum leap andeasily be picked up by a novice user but the technology and dislocation from the past, its potential impact on society isinfrastructure to connect people and information together unpredictable.across long distances has followed the same pattern astransport technology. Data communications in the early digitalage required a substantial amount of skill and knowledge to be D. Computing Technologiesable to effectively and reliably achieve a connection that couldtransfer digital data from one device to another III. PREPARE YOUR PAPER BEFORE STYLING IBM 5120 Desktop Computer It is difficult to imagine how much computing technologies have changed in the last thirty years, not just in their price performance, but also in the interface and relationship with end users. In 1982, IBM were selling desktop business computers like the IBM 5120 with its 64k memory and its 2.4 MB floppy disk storage for over £5,000 (equivalent to £12,500 today) to small businesses and offering what was described as a next Disk Fax File Transfer System generation programming language called Business Report Application Development System (BRADS) that enabled non- Computer to computer communications using data modems programmer business people to create their own applications.required both a knowledge of data communications software These systems used a keyboard text interface with aand of the modem devices themselves to be able to effectively monochrome display and no graphics or networkingprogramme the data communications link. The Disk Fax shown capabilities.above is a prime example of how an innovation in an interfacedevice can totally transform not only the speed and reliability Today, tablet computers like the iPad with 64GB memoryof a function, but also totally remove any requirement for can be purchased for around £600 with highly intuitiveoperator skill or knowledge. graphical interfaces and access to a global wealth of free or very low cost applications and powerful connectivity. To transfer files between locations using a Disk Fax simplyrequired the operator to insert a data disk, type in the telephone The latest generation of these devices has very powerfulnumber of the remote Disk Fax and press the send button. The personalization capabilities which enable the ordinary user toprocess became totally automatic and this technology only tailor their own completely bespoke system that allows them tobecame obsolete when the computer files sizes to transfer high connect and communicate on a global basis. Thisquality images and video were beyond the capacity of floppy personalization, combined with artificial intelligence has adisks. profound impact on the knowledge professional.
  3. 3. III THE ROLE OF VIDEO GAMES AND INTERFACE IV IMMERSIVE TECHNOLOGIES, PERSONALISATION TECHNOLOGIES AND HCI The global video games market size was estimated to be In parallel with the innovations in video games, virtual$60.4 billion in 2009 and is forecast to rise to over $70 billion worlds and social networking applications have also beenby 2015. Video games generate more revenue than either the driving innovations that have impacted interface technologies.movie industry or the music industry and because of their The success of the whole spectrum of immersive technologiescommercial value, the market for video games is highly evidenced by the number of users of virtual worlds like Worldcompetitive and commands substantial investment in of Warcraft and Second Life and subscribers to social mediaemerging technologies which provide competitive advantage sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Youtube is in noto the developers. small way attributable to the ability of these applications to be personalised by the user. This personalisation gives the user One of the most fruitful Research and Development areas control of how they are represented in these virtual spacesfor such competitive advantage is in the design of new either through their personal profile or the design of the avatarinterface technologies which can broaden the market potential alter ego.and/or introduce engaging and innovative ways of interactingwith the game environment. One of the best examples of such This control of what is effectively the user’s interface withinnovation is the Nintendo Wii wireless controller and motion the application, with its ability to control not only the contenttracking device. This new form of games console interface that is presented to the user but also the distribution andwith its intuitive interaction really opened the doors to dissemination of content to a potentially global audience,generations of new users of all ages because of its ease of use introduces a new dimension to HCI – Personal Relationships.and instant on-screen feedback. Personal Relationships with computing technologies are a The Nintendo Wii was a breakthrough in interface fast growing development area for HCI applications.technologies that was quickly followed by devices like the Computing in the areas of video games, virtual worlds andPlaystation Muve controller and the Microsoft Xbox Kinect social networking has a strong emphasis on technologydevice, both of which use three dimensional motion tracking developments which recognise the user and dynamically shapeto control game activities. the interface to the user according to the individual’s preferences, capabilities and interests. In this way, the technology is learning to mimic the nature of human to human relationships in which our behaviour evolves and modifies over time as we get to know people. Through devices like the Mirosoft Kinect with its voice and facial recognition technologies, as well as other proactive biometric security technologies, computing devices are getting better at being able to identify an individual and therefore self- configure according to the knowledge of that individual. In addition, once a user is “recognised” and logged-on, other background artificial intelligence technologies begin to monitor the way the individual uses the technology in order to shape the interface and content to the individual. This phenomenon of personalisation begins to manifest itself in areas such as targeted advertising based on user profiles and browsing patters but will extend into many other areas such as learning and assessment in which the computer plays the role of a virtual coach or mentor. Mindwave brainwave controller V. CONCLUSION In addition to the interface devices which operate by The technologies described in this article signal a reversalmotion tracking, major advances are being made in the use of in the nature on man-machine relationships. For all ofbrainwave monitoring technologies and linking these to the mankind’s history, human beings have needed to use theircontrol of video games and other applications. These examples skill, intelligence, experiences and senses to control machinesprovide evidence that market driven innovation within the and technologies. Knowledge professionals had a premiumgames industry can be very influential in the development of role in society to not only refine and advance humanmore intuitive and user friendly human computer interfaces capabilities, but also to transfer the knowledge to futurewhich combine sensor and motion tracking technologies with generations. Today the same skills, intelligence, experienceeither handheld devices embedded with positional technology and senses are being embedded into devices and theor human body recognition technologies. infrastructure that supports them. In this process, mankind’s dependence on machine intelligence will continue to grow and its dependence on the human knowledge professional reduce.

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