Interaction at the center of everything
New technology-mediated cooperation is still based on human interaction.
Whether it is an augmented reality (AR) or a virtual reality (VR) application, its benefits are only revealed when the digital environment enables better ways to work than the physical world.
Human interaction is a key subject of study in the entire industrial metaverse. However, there is still plenty of work to be done in order to improve the interaction in the very basic features.
“Many VR environments do not yet enable genuine collaboration and interaction or the modification of objects in that environment. In order to get the most out of a virtual environment, it must enable, for example, reading documents and text editing,” says Markku Turunen, professor of interactive technology at the University of Tampere.
“We are researching, among others, different text input solutions based on speech recognition, and what kind of tools are needed for a VR environment to enable collaboration,” Turunen continues.
VR environments are currently at their peak in development work in which the goal is, for example, to study how a person operates in a physical environment or with machines and devices. Research in virtual reality enables a new way of monitoring and analyzing a person performing various tasks.
“The ability of the virtual environment to record people's activities is one of the most significant possibilities of new technology. For example, human movements and the direction of their gazes can be recorded precisely and analyzed afterward in completely new ways,” Turunen estimates.
Physiological measurements are also often combined with the research.
“Typically, for example, heart rate variability is monitored, which can be used to deduce when a person was nervous and when they were calm. Information from virtual reality offers a rich source for data analysis,” Turunen estimates.
Augmented reality and virtual reality applications are the first step toward the industrial metaverse. The next big leap will be the digital world’s seamless connection to the physical world.
“This will happen through digital twins. That is, through genuine digital twins in which the physical world affects the digital one and vice versa. This is still very rare today, but it will be the next big leap in the development of the industrial metaverse,” Turunen says.
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