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H
UMAN
I
NTERFACES
Executive Summary
The processes and devices used to interface humans with computers have been a con-
cern of computer scientists since the birth of computing itself, and human-computer
interaction (or HCI) is a field undergoing a process of rapid development. Never before
has access been available to such a wide array of devices, all with different technical capa-
bilities and underlying concepts. Recent HCI developments can be best characterised by
three primary characteristics, these being the goals of user-centred design, the appeal to
multiple human senses, and the struggle for portability.
Development of new devices is often driven by the needs of different areas of com-
puter science, the most influential of which are currently multimodality, ubiquitous com-
puting, computer-supported co-operative work, virtual environments and augmented
reality. Each of these fields has a great deal to offer the presentation of and interaction
with cultural heritage resources.
The technologies presented below have different fields of rapid development resulting
in new equipment and dozens, occasionally even hundreds of producer brands. Rather
than providing detailed information on all of these developments, this report will
describe some of the emerging technologies with a focus on those forecast to be the
most effective and usable in the current technology setting. It indicates their possible
future applications in cultural heritage organisations. Devices covered include head-
mounted displays, shutterglasses, CAVEs, speech input systems, wearable computers and
brain-actuated control.
The cultural heritage sector has a number of reasons for following these new develop-
ments closely.The introduction of new technologies can assist the work aimed at provid-
ing visitors with tools for observing collections not currently on display, studying collec-
tion items which have restricted access and handling conditions, acquiring additional
information on the collection items, or creating personalised tours which could be used
in future visits or for additional study at home.
The introduction of these new interaction technologies will allow users to navigate
through collections following their preferred learning style.The appearance of many
novel interfaces must be met with intensive measurement of the health risks which can
be caused by the physical peculiarities of the devices, or
by the effects of immersion in virtual reality worlds.
These discomforts may manifest themselves physiologi-
cally, psychologically, or both.
While the discussion focuses mainly on the possible
influences of new interfaces on museum visitors, we
outline the potential impact these technologies may
have on the everyday work of museum and library staff
members.
Human Interfaces
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Finnish National Gallery