sensors which pass over the joints in the user's hand, and measure the position of the fin-
gers and hand across six axes.The movements of the users are translated into coordinates
using devices called trackers and the resulting data are then used to enable interaction
with the virtual world. Semi-immersive sys-
tems involve large screens of multiple projec-
tion systems and shutterglasses (see below for
an explanation), thus providing a heightened
sense of immersion and interaction overall.
Fully immersive systems currently are based on
the use of head-mounted display (HMD) tech-
nology.These allow for the highest (or deepest)
level of immersion, although the image quality
tends to be less convincing in comparison
with less immersive systems.
Augmented reality is another concept best considered in contrast with virtual reality.
Unlike VR and its entirely computer-generated experiences, augmented reality employs
modern computer and display technologies to supplement the user's perceptions of her
As will be evident from the ARCHEOGUIDE case studies, aug-
mented reality combines the real scene as viewed by the user with virtual scenes gener-
ated by the computer to create an enhanced composite view.While ubiquitous comput-
ing puts the accent on the `invisibility' of the computer, here the accent is on the quality
of the supplied content and the flexibility with which it can be used.This variance in
focus does not alter the debate over which particular devices can be best used to assist
the user in her quest for information.
How do these interfaces work?
Despite the widespread adoption of WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointer) inter-
faces, the struggle to make computers easier to use continues. Future computer systems
should make more effective use of all human sensory channels and provide more intu-
itive, easier to use interfaces that go beyond the current WIMP standards. Effective future
human-computer interfaces require new interactive systems that deal with the hardware,
the software and the system-level interactions between the two.
One current tendency for computer hardware is that it is miniaturising, i.e. becoming
less cumbersome and more portable.What was on the desktop yesterday, is on the laptop
or palmtop today and will be on the wristwatch or ring tomorrow, fully integrated with
the home PC and the Internet.
Computers are traditionally controlled by hand, using a keyboard, a mouse or a track-
ball, while information is output typically on a display screen and/or printer. Nowadays,
this standard set-up has gained new dimensions with emerging technologies having led
The Archeoguide user-interface
Please see the DigiCULT Case Study on ARCHEOGUIDE in the previous chapter for more
on Augmented Reality.