The Intelligent Agents: Interactive and Virtual Environments

The Intelligent Agents: Interactive and Virtual Environments

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4703-9.ch012
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Tools available for enhancing and sharing knowledge include intelligent agents, Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR), among other solutions and paradigms. Collaborative computing became possible due to the advances in social networking, collaborative virtual environments, multi-touch screen-based technologies, as well as ambient, ubiquitous, and wearable computing. Examples of simulations in various domains include virtual computing machines, transient public displays of the data, mining for patterns in data, and visualizations of past events with the use of immersive technologies, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Further discussion relates to the tools for creating and publishing interactive 3D media and the Second Life culture.
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Augmented And Virtual Reality

On the spectrum between virtual reality and the real world, augmented reality is closer to the real world. The hardware and software is designed as a desktop type or an immersive one that visually and physically isolates users from the environment and awareness of reality. Avatars, characters created in artificial environment represent the users who may control them with head-mounted displays and gloves. Without a need of any glasses smart interactive 3D content seems to float in space in and outside of the screen. Visual displays, body and head tracking interfaces, aural (acoustic) and haptic (force and touch) feedback, and peripherals such as acoustic and haptic displays provide the illusion of immersion. Data communication goes through the wired, wireless, stand-alone or networked channels.

Augmented reality adds graphics, sounds, haptics (force and touch), and smell to the natural world. Integrated solutions combine the single-sense display types or provide virtual stimuli to several sensory modalities; visual, audio, haptic, or, less frequently, smell and taste (Coquillart, 2012). Augmented reality interfaces build applications with an audio-visual augmentation, realistic object augmentation (e.g., with augmented shadows), image augmentation, textual annotations, and audio augmentation (Liarokapis, White, & Lister, 2004). Gimeno, Morillo, Ordu, & Fernández (2012) developed the software framework, an easy-to-use augmented reality authoring tool for non-programming users, to develop the AR prototypes for industrial applications; the time needed for developing the prototypes was much lower than with computer graphics programming.

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