Virtual and Adaptive Environments: Applications, Implications, and Human Performance Issues

Virtual and Adaptive Environments: Applications, Implications, and Human Performance Issues

Virtual and Adaptive Environments: Applications, Implications, and Human Performance Issues

Virtual and Adaptive Environments: Applications, Implications, and Human Performance Issues

Synopsis

The use of virtual and adaptive environments promises to revolutionize the ways in which humans live their daily lives. Virtual and adaptive environments are systems composed of humans, computers, and interface devices. The fundamental assumption motivating the publication of this book is that these systems are first and foremost human-centered technologies, in that their purpose is to complement and extend human capabilities across a wide variety of domains. The contributions illustrate the many ways in which psychological science is contributing to and benefitting from the increased development and application of these nascent systems. Discussing issues from both a user- and technology-based standpoint, the volume discusses the use of human perception, cognition, and behavior. The book was inspired by the editors' interaction with many colleagues over a period extending from 1992 to 2002. They have assembled a collection of authors consisting of many recognizable experts in the field of virtual and adaptive environments, as well as many "up and coming" young researchers in these areas-those from whom much will be heard in the years to come. As such, anyone working in the fast moving area of virtual environment technology find this book valuable, including those in human factors and perceptual and cognitive psychology.

Excerpt

The use of virtual and adaptive environments promises to revolutionize the ways in which humans live their daily lives. Virtual and adaptive environments are systems composed of humans, computers, and interface devices. They are very likely to significantly alter the behavioral landscape of work, recreation, education, and the manner in which people routinely communicate with and otherwise interact with one another. Their development is being approached with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness and safety with which various complex tasks such as medical procedures and the control of an increasingly crowded civil airspace can be executed. In other instances, its development is geared toward enabling the performance of tasks, such as telerobotic construction of extraterrestrial structures such as the space station, which might otherwise prove to be too logistically challenging to accomplish. In still other cases, such as the many entertainment applications of virtual environments that are currently being planned and developed, it is being pursued simply to promote a sense of fun and enjoyment—a compelling form of temporary escape and relief from the stresses and challenges of everyday life.

Clearly, the full promise of virtual and adaptive environment technology will not be realized for quite a few years to come. There are, of course, many technical issues to be overcome. The ubiquitous head-mounted visual display, perhaps the signature piece of hardware in the pantheon of virtual environment devices, is still limited in its ability to fully replicate a sense of real-world perceptual experience. The development of haptic and tactile display technologies, while having made impressive strides in recent years, is still in the early days of its developmental maturity. We would continue to recite a litany of technical advances that are sorely needed to support the realization of these systems' full potential, but in the end we would confidently conclude that they are all being addressed by skilled and . . .

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