Saturday, August 11, 2007

Serious Games Providing Physical Response To Learners

Haptic interaction for immersive learning environments

Via: Envision Center for Data Perceptualization at Purdue University
Purdue's Envision Center for Data Perceptualization allows researchers and students to see—and feel—what couldn't be seen before.


"I've been in the cosmos and other solar systems—been able to walk through star fields," says Gary Bertoline.

"I've gone through the Parthenon when it was so new the marble floors were reflecting light. It's incredible the sense you get when you walk through there," he says."I've walked through molecules and large proteins," he says.

Bertoline may not have literally seen planets in other solar systems or seen Greek temples while the paint was still drying, but Bertoline has seen what couldn't be seen before. This is possible thanks to an arena of technology called visualization.

Gary R. Bertoline is a distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue University , Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, and Co-Director of the Envision Center for Data Perceptualization .

His research interests are in applying computer graphics, immersive interactive environments, and virtual reality to visualize, interact, and analyze engineering and scientific data and information.

Advances in computing platforms and instrumentation techniques have resulted in an exponential growth of data. Efficient interpretation of this data is fast emerging as a key-challenge in science, engineering, and business. The human-computer interface has emerged as a major information bottleneck: computer speeds increase, but human comprehension does not.

Haptics and Visualization Provide Intuitive Interface To Learners

In the real-world, humans have the natural ability to perceive several things effectively through a combination of multiple sensory modes. Humans have an innate capability to seamlessly communicate, perceive, and interact with others and the environment using these models.

Large scale immersive visualization systems provide good visual perception.
Going beyond the human visual systems, haptic interaction add another dimension to the human experience when dealing with complex problems and research output. Haptic devices are used to physically interact with the data through force feedback mechanisms.

Using Haptic Devices for Granular Material Interaction


Laptop connected to Phantom haptic device


Sequence of images showing sand manipulation

The integration of this technology with our understanding of human cognition is the framework Bertoline calls perceptualization.

These same technology can be applied to data visualization which is the conversion of large data sets of non-physical information into a visual through the use of computer graphics. Data visualization can increase the comprehension of huge amounts of data and allows for the perception of emergent properties that were not anticipated.

Learning Experiences of the Future

This research is engaged in the development of the cyber infrastructure and learning materials necessary to systemically change teaching and learning.

Zecosystem is the framework for a learning ecosystem that is built on the fundamental premise that learning experiences of the future will be multi-sensory, engage multiple technologies and significant computational power invisibly and continuously.

Zecosystem is the complementary convergence framework of pedagogy, cyber infrastructure , and social-behavioral sciences to create a student lifestyle oriented neural learning environment .