#145: Nate Newsome on Interactive Virtual Agents & Reporting on the Academic VR Community

Nate-NewsomeNate Newsome is a Ph.D. student in Human-Centered Computing at Clemson University. He’s researching Interactive Virtual Agents that have some intelligence where you can interact it through voice interaction and some AI involved. It’s used for medical simulations and training. He had a poster at IEEE VR titled “Comparative Evaluation of Stylized versus Realistic Representation of Virtual Humans on Empathetic Responses in Simulated Interpersonal Experiences”

He talks about some of the rapid response systems used to train nurses to detect signs of rapid deterioration. It’s an interactive character, and they can respond to different questions that you ask it. It’s used to help train nurses catch signs of rapid deterioration faster.

Nate talks a bit about the split between academic and consumer VR. There’s a lot of things that are happening within the academic virtual reality community, and that a lot of that isn’t being reported on within most of the consumer VR news outlets. Nate was happy to see the Voices of VR covering at the IEEE VR conference.

He sees that the consumer VR community isn’t operating on full information when it comes to saying what is and is not possible in virtual reality. In particular, academic researchers more expensive VR equipment and tracking equipment that are able to create really immersive experiences that go beyond what consumer VR has been able to produce so far.

Nate talks about the future of designing 3D interfaces with immersive technologies and what will happen when you put the human at the center of the interactions. Finally, he’s the most interested in training applications where there are unsafe conditions. VR can replicate the feelings of being unsafe without actually putting you in danger, and being able to do that will help train people to actually perform better in those real conditions.

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