The Visualisation team, led by Professor Alan Chalmers, is working to create “Real Virtuality”: high fidelity virtual environments which provide the same perceptual response from viewers as if they were actually present, or “there” in the real scene being portrayed (also known as there-reality). A human's perception of the real world is more than just what we see, and thus real virtuality may need to include visual, aural, smell, touch and even taste, to achieve the appropriate level of perceptual realism.
A key technical challenge in computing real virtuality is that of overall bandwidth to capture, store, transmit and deliver real world (HDR) techniques to tackle real world lighting levels, the team is using knowledge of the way the senses interact to selectively render virtual environments; that is to direct computational resources to those areas of high perceptual importance while avoiding computing any detail which will not be perceived by the viewer. This can save substantial computation power.
Real virtuality has applications in many fields. Currently the Visualisation Group is investigating:
- Product design
- Treatment of phobias
- Cultural heritage
- Serious gaming