Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Interface is transparent at the physical level if it does not physically disturb the
user much or at all, mainly in his movements. To achieve this objective, the hardware
interface designers use, if possible, the physical phenomena that make it possible to
transfer Sensory Stimuli (SS) or Motor Responses (MR) without hardware support
between man and the machine. This objective often directs the interface design to the
suitable physical phenomena. For example, we can note that most of the location
sensors use the physical principles without hardware support (light, electromagnetic
fields, sound waves, etc.). Without hardware support, the interface can be farthest
from the user to give him more freedom of movement: for example, for the SS of
vision, the screen can be placed at a few centimetres (head-mounted display), at a few
meters (computer screen) or at a few decametres (screen in a room). Hence, there can
be two categories of hardware interfaces:
Interfaces that do not require hardware support (without hs) for transmission and
Interfaces that require hardware support (with hs) for transmission.
These two categories depend on the sensory organ concerned, for example:
Visual interface (SS): Light waves captured by eyes (without hs);
Audio interface (SS): Sound and words (vocal synthesis) transferred to ears by
sound waves (without hs);
Touch sensitive interface (SS): Mechanical transmission to the skin (with hs);
Proprioceptive interface (force feedback and movement simulation) (SS): Mechan-
ical transmission to the body (with hs) and
Location interface (MR): Body movements detected by electromagnetic, sound
waves (without hs) or mechanically (with hs).
We will deduce the critical technical difficulties to create touch-sensitive interfaces,
force feedback interfaces and body movement simulation interfaces which have to use
hardware supports to transfer the SS. But the notion of transparency must also be
analysed at the psychological level. It depends not only on the physical design of the
behavioural interface but also on its effective use in virtual environment, a point which
we will study in this chapter.
2.2.3 Commercial interfaces and custom interfaces
After the boom in virtual reality, various interfaces were designed and marketed by
companies specialised in the domain (head-mounted display, data glove, etc.). But it is
sometimes necessary to create your own interface as per your objective of immersion
and interaction (for example: an instrumented trolley to go about in a shop, interior
of a car, given further below). Thus, every VR device designer must not ignore the
idea of designing and creating interfaces for his own needs by himself, which often
guarantees success if the specific needs are analysed correctly in terms of immersion
and interaction. It is obvious that the design and production cost suffers, but why not,
if success is guaranteed at the end! On the other hand, some interfaces are not designed
specifically for virtual reality; they are universal (screen, video-projector, microphone,
loudspeaker, etc.).
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