Skip to Main Content
We define a virtual environment as a set of surroundings that appear to a user through computer-generated sensory stimuli. The level of immersion-or sense of being in another world-that a user experiences within a VE relates to how much stimuli the computer delivers to the user. Thus, one can classify VEs along a virtuality continuum, which ranges from the real world to an entirely computer-generated environment. We present a technology that allows seamless transitions between levels of immersion in VEs. Milgram and Kishino (1994) first proposed the concept of a virtuality continuum in the context of visual displays. The concept of a virtuality continuum extends to multimodal VEs, which combine multiple sensory stimuli, including 3D sound and haptic capability, leading to a multidimensional virtuality continuum. Emerging applications will benefit from multiple levels of immersion, requiring innovative multimodal technologies and the ability to traverse the multidimensional virtuality continuum.
Date of Publication: Mar/Apr 2003