Graphics: Visual and Interactive Computing

Interactive Software Techniques and Tools

Academics: M. Chen, P. W. Grant, M. W. Jones and B. Mora

Collaborators: industrial partners (UK)

One collection of research activities of the group focuses on data and interaction management, especially in networked environments. To enable rapid prototyping of web-based collaborative environments such as courseware for teamwork and internet games, a scripting language, called JACIE, was designed and developed. It provides a number of new language features that are not present in conventional programming languages, including a collection of interaction protocols, built-in multimedia channels, secured and efficient data sharing. Together with a template-based programming style, it can significantly reduce development costs for web-based collaborative software.

ClayWorks, software for object modelling, takes a different approach from traditional object modellers. Rather than storing the final results (usually a polygonal mesh), it stores the individual steps that are undertaken to create the model. It can produce the same results as well known commercial modellers, but has the extra advantage that the model sizes are incredibly small because the user interaction requires much less storage than the polygonal models. Such objects can be considered procedural in nature, but whereas procedural models need to be described programmatically, ClayWorks allows users to interact during the modelling process. This provision of an interactive procedural modelling system represents a significant step forward.

ViSTAR is a collaborative industrial research project for developing a scalable technology for managing large volumes of imagery data. The project was inspired by a web-based 3D virtual environment developed by the group for managing imagery data, and is undertaken by a consortium led by the group and involving six academic and industrial partners. Using the ViSTAR concept and technology, ordinary internet users can achieve, exhibit and manage their digital photos and videos through 3D web-based virtual environments such as galleries and cinemas. This technology not only offers users with a novel and intuitive experience of interacting with computers, but also provides a convenient tool for managing huge volumes of data in a mostly automatic manner.

Videoconferencing technology is now being brought into use by many organisations for recruitment interviewing. However, most of these systems have a primitive user interface and lack in tools purposely-designed for interviews. Users often feel intimidated by the technology, which is especially undesirable in a recruitment interview. TRIUMF (Technology based Remote Interviews Under a Multimedia Framework) is a special purpose system for remote multimedia interviews. It was designed to be housed in large-to-medium sized companies, higher education establishments, government employment services, recruitment agencies and other reasonably sized organisations. TRIUMF provides an adequate alternative to face-to-face interviews