Collaborating in a virtual environment

The ability to interact with people and with information systems for everyday tasks will be fundamental to the way society functions in the future. The use of collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) will be a normal means for people to interact and this will impact on all aspects of life the way people work, learn, make purchases and so on.

The COVEN project has developed a virtual environment system called DIVE that supports large three-dimensional (3D) models, potentially complex applications and numerous participants. The system is tailored to operate over wide area networks, and includes audio-video communication and World Wide Web facilities.

The project has produced a demonstrator of the City of London that allows users to make a virtual visit to the city using a CVE. They can interact with other visitors through the use of representations of humans know as avatars. They can also explore a large model of the centre of London using 3D models. Users can access virtual conferencing facilities and rehearse their next presentation in front of a virtual audience.

The COVEN demonstrator has application in the cultural heritage sector (such as virtual museums and historical reconstruction), in teaching (distance learning) and in local government (city planning, tourism, information kiosks, etc.). The system presents significant commercial and social opportunities for the information society of the next decade.

The COVEN demonstration shows how a dispersed group of people can, together, visit a very realistic virtual model of London. The demonstration shows how they find their way through London with help from a virtual guide, familiarise themselves with the travel route, meet for business or pleasure and use teleconference facilities to rehearse presentations.

Contact CĂ©lestin SEDOGBO, Thomson-CSF LCR
tel +33 1 69 33 94 04
fax +33 1 69 33 08 65
email celestin.sedogbo@lcr.thomson-csf.com
website coven.lancs.ac.uk/

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