Knowledgeable Navigation in Virtual Environments

Knowledgeable Navigation in Virtual Environments

Pedram Sadeghian (University of Louisville, USA), Mehmed Kantardzic (University of Louisville, USA) and Sherif Rashad (University of Louisville, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-955-7.ch017
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Virtual environments provide a computer-synthesized world in which users can interact with objects, perform various activities, and navigate the environment as if they were in the real world (Sherman & Craig, 2002). Research in a variety of fields (i.e., software engineering, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, human computer interactions, electrical engineering, psychology, perceptual science) has been critical to the advancement of the design and implementation of virtual environments. Applications for virtual environments are found in various domains, including medicine, engineering, oil exploration, and the military (Burdea & Coiffet, 2003). Despite the advances, navigation in virtual environments remains problematic for users (Darken & Sibert, 1996). Users of virtual environments, without any navigational tools, often become disoriented and have extreme difficulty completing navigational tasks (Conroy, 2001; Darken & Sibert, 1996; Dijk et al., 2003; Modjeska & Waterworth, 2000). Even simple navigational tools are not enough to prevent users from becoming lost in virtual environments. Naturally, this leads to a sense of frustration on the part of users and decreases the quality of human-computer interactions. In order to enhance the experience of users of virtual environments and to overcome the problem of disorientation, new sophisticated tools are necessary to provide navigational assistance. We propose the design and use of navigational assistance systems that use models derived through data mining to provide assistance to users. Such systems formalize the experience of previous users and make them available to new users in order to improve the quality of new users’ interactions with the virtual environment.

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