Dec 2012

John McCaffery, Virtual Worlds as a platform for rapid prototyping and HCI experimentation

Open Virtual Worlds are a platform of several advantages. They provide an out of the box mechanism for content creation, distributed access and programming. They are open source so can be manipulated as necessary. There is also a large amount of content that has already been created within a Virtual World. As such, in the field of HCI experimentation they provide an interesting opportunity. When experimenting with novel modes of interaction prototypes can be created within a Virtual World relatively easily. Once the prototype has been created, users can be put into use case scenarios based around existing content. Alternatively, custom environments with very constrained parameters can quickly be created for controlled experimentation.

This talk will cover some of the interaction modes currently being experimented with by the OpenVirtualWorlds group.

John McCaffery is a PhD student in the Open Virtual Worlds group. John works on investigating how the open frameworks for distributing, programming and manipulating 3D data provided by Open Virtual Worlds can be used to provide a model for how the 3D web may develop. Open Virtual Worlds is a general term for open source, open protocol client / server architectures for streaming and modifying 3D data. Examples include the SecondLife viewer and its derivatives and the SecondLife and OpenSim server platforms. John’s work includes investigating how the programming possibilities of Virtual Worlds can be extended and how Virtual World access can be modified to provide new experiences and new experimental possibilities, built around existing content. For more information on John’s Work see his research blog.