Category Archives: Virtual Environments

children playing computer game

Physical Contact and Video Gaming

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One of the first things I did when I got to the HFES conference this year was to scan the program looking for any research on games, gamification, or game-based training.

And I found a really good one. This study by Rachel Cunningham and her colleagues at Embry-Riddle compared two very similar tablet-based games. Both games requires players to collaborate on the same tablet surface. So it was not remote collaboration, it was real-time co-located collaboration.

Virtual Environments Go To The Movies

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This topic showed up twice in my Wired inbox. First in the May issue of the print magazine and then recently in the October issue online. In both cases, the authors shared recent advances in virtual reality technology that is being applied to the development of movies.

For all its decades of hey-it’s-coming-any-day potential, VR is still an entirely new medium for cinema, and while directors and studios are curious about the possibilities, they’re relying on people like Unseld to show them what this brave new world looks like.

a man viewing an ebook

EID Hall of Fame – A New Take on eBook Reading

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There have been several articles posted on the EID site over the past year that have aroused significant discussion. Here is one of the articles that received the most discussion, reposted for your reading pleasure. Were you one of our loyal readers who shared, reposted, and debated it? Did that experience provide tangible professional value for you, or just hours of fun? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

We have had many conversations over the past years about how the move to digital books is impacting our reading. Some claims are backed up by rigorous research and some are just pure speculation or even fear mongering. Of course, whenever there are strong claims on both sides of an argument, the truth is usually a nuanced middle path and eBooks are no different. The reality is that the effectiveness of eBooks is context specific and results will depend on what the objectives of the book are (for example entertainment versus education) and how they are implemented (UI and UX).

Arcade Driving Game

Training and Generalizability

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I love sharing information like this with you. It irks me when I see all of the lofty promises from companies (that shall remain unnamed, but they advertise so much online that I am sure you know who I am referring to) that their brain training will make you smarter, and solve all of your memory limitations, and turn your kids into the next Einstein. I have shared before the results of studies that show how limited transfer of training is when it comes to cognitive processes. If you practice your working memory span, you can indeed increase your working memory span. But it doesn’t improve anything else, and if you stop practicing you lose the benefits.

One recent study found that older adults could significantly improve their ability to multi-task after playing a specially designed driving video game called NeuroRacer. Another study from researchers at the University of Rochester found that playing action-packed video games improved people’s ability to make quick decisions and ignore distractions.


One Year Anniversary

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In honor of the one year anniversary of EID’s relaunch (check out our first post ever here) under our new format, we thought we would copy an innovative technique used by Ta-Nehisi Coates. In addition to being a brilliant, award winning writer, he is also credited for having one of the best comment management strategies for his blog at The Atlantic magazine. One dimension of his strategy, which seems obvious on the surface but is incredibly rare, is to start with the assumption that some…

the interior of a van designed as a working environment

Getting Work Done While Commuting to Work

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How do you get to work? Do you sit in miserable traffic, sending your cortisol levels through the roof? It turns out that the heavy hitters in Moscow have it made. If you are important enough to be considered a “minigarch”, you might be picked up by a Mercedes luxury van that has been souped up by Brabus and turned into a fully loaded mobile office…

a small wearable camera

Uninterrupted Lifelogger?

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I am a little intrigued by the autographer. Not as a product I would want to buy, I am not at all interested in photo lifelogging. But I really want to know what the conversation was like when they decided on the basic functionality.

Autographer is a new type of camera which has been custom built to enable spontaneous, hands-free image capture…

a skyline view of a city in estonia

Electronic Residency in E-Estonia

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I am not sure if this is on your radar but I think it is really cool.

An e-resident will be a physical person who has received the e-resident’s digital identity (smart ID-card) from the Republic of Estonia.

It enables you to access Estonia government services online and smooths out the ability to conduct business in Estonia and throughout the European Union…

a person and a computer with doves representing peace

HCI for Peace

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When I read this, I just had to share it with you in case you missed it. And as with all of our articles here at EID, to add a few extra tidbits of insight wherever I can. Were you already familiar with the organization HCI for Peace? I wasn’t. The increasing ubiquity of digital devices in people’s lives provides novel opportunities for human-computer interaction (HCI) and user experience professionals to design technologies that promote specific human values. One of those values is peace. At…

a woman and her avatar

Embodied Cognition: Speaking in Avatar Tongues

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Despite the title’s allusion to the occult, this is a topic that has some good application to human factors domains such as virtual environments and game design. It also demonstrates some interesting aspects of embodied cognition.

The study looked at how an avatar in a virtual environment, when physically synched with the user, can transfer its attributes into the user’s self-model and thereby affect the user’s future behavior. I see similarities with embodied cognition because in the virtual environment the avatar is acting as a correlate for the user’s body…