Face to Face - Why hasn't video conferencing of virtual reality removed the need for travel and what are we do about it?

Thursday, 24th March 2011, 2:00 pm (PDCC Meeting Room)
Speaker: Professor David Roberts (Salford University, UK)
Title: Face to Face - Why hasn't video conferencing of virtual reality removed the need for travel and what are we do about it?

In a global and mobile society there is a growing need to get to know and keep in touch with people across a distance. When we get to know people in the real world we build up relationships through meeting in a range of settings and interactional scenarios. Social networking software, social virtual worlds, videoconferencing and immersive collaborative virtual environments all offer different affordances to social interaction. These affordances support very different kinds of social interaction that are appropriate at different times and in different places. For example, working together in a boardroom and drinking together in a bar are both important in building a working relationship. Yet the kind of interaction in these two settings is very different and requires very different technology to support. Another example is that while video conferencing can support a round the table meeting, it can not support ad-hoc or object focused meetings. Video conferencing faithfully reproduces what people look like and immersive collaborative virtual environments what they are looking at, and 3D image reconstruction could combine the two. Yet previous attempts have suffered from numerous spatial and temporal problems. This talk compares spatial and temporal qualities of ICVE and VC and introduces new work on improving the quality of 3D reconstruction based telepresence.


Professor of Telepresence. He has lead Research in reproducing the face-to-face meeting across a distance. This includes the recent highly successful EPSRC Eye-catching project that studied eye gaze across virtual and video mediums and allowed it to be supported for the first time between moving participants. Eye-catching partnered 4 Hes and produced 13 high-quality publications in the main ACM and IEEE venues in the area. He has given three invited talks on Eye-catching including Keynote at the premier conference ACM Multi-Media and at the industry facing Visualisation SIG, and won two best paper awards at IEEE/ACM conferences for the underlying Research. David is Research Director for Centre for Virtual Environments and Future Media at Salford and until recently co-Scientific Director of THINKLab. He previously established and directed the visualisation centre at the University of Reading. He is widely published in the area of Collaborative Virtual Environments specialising, since his sabbatical at GMD IMK Germany in 1999, in the networking of Immersive Projection Technology (IPT) display systems to support social human communication. He was author, principal or co-investigator to the following related projects: AVATARS, Pan University Collaborative Research Environment, MUDVE Multi User Distributed Virtual Environments, Huge Interactive Virtual Environments HIVE, Platform For Interactive Networked Games, PING, Cohabited Mixed Reality Information Systems COMRIS and Virtual Reality for Medical Modelling with MMT Medical. His contributions to international Virtual Reality (VR) conferences include key note and other invited talks and papers, chairing sessions, membership of program committees and refereeing. He has reviewed for four major journals including Presence. Roberts is Co-General Chair of the IEEE/ACM Intl Symposium on Distributed Simulation and Real Time Applications (IEEE DS–RT) for the third successive year.