Algorithms, Augmented reality, Delay compensation, Distributed systems, Virtual environments


Advances in computer networks and rendering systems facilitate the creation of distributed collaborative environments in which the distribution of information at remote locations allows efficient communication. Particularly challenging are distributed interactive Virtual Environments (VE) that allow knowledge sharing through 3D information. In a distributed interactive VE the dynamic shared state represents the changing information that multiple machines must maintain about the shared virtual components. One of the challenges in such environments is maintaining a consistent view of the dynamic shared state in the presence of inevitable network latency and jitter. A consistent view of the shared scene will significantly increase the sense of presence among participants and facilitate their interactive collaboration. The purpose of this work is to address the problem of latency in distributed interactive VE and to develop a conceptual model for consistency maintenance in these environments based on the participant interaction model. A review of the literature illustrates that the techniques for consistency maintenance in distributed Virtual Reality (VR) environments can be roughly grouped into three categories: centralized information management, prediction through dead reckoning algorithms, and frequent state regeneration. Additional resource management methods can be applied across these techniques for shared state consistency improvement. Some of these techniques are related to the systems infrastructure, others are related to the human nature of the participants (e.g., human perceptual limitations, area of interest management, and visual and temporal perception). An area that needs to be explored is the relationship between the dynamic shared state and the interaction with the virtual entities present in the shared scene. Mixed Reality (MR) and VR environments must bring the human participant interaction into the loop through a wide range of electronic motion sensors, and haptic devices. Part of the work presented here defines a novel criterion for categorization of distributed interactive VE and introduces, as well as analyzes, an adaptive synchronization algorithm for consistency maintenance in such environments. As part of the work, a distributed interactive Augmented Reality (AR) testbed and the algorithm implementation details are presented. Currently the testbed is part of several research efforts at the Optical Diagnostics and Applications Laboratory including 3D visualization applications using custom built head-mounted displays (HMDs) with optical motion tracking and a medical training prototype for endotracheal intubation and medical prognostics. An objective method using quaternion calculus is applied for the algorithm assessment. In spite of significant network latency, results show that the dynamic shared state can be maintained consistent at multiple remotely located sites. In further consideration of the latency problems and in the light of the current trends in interactive distributed VE applications, we propose a hybrid distributed system architecture for sensor-based distributed VE that has the potential to improve the system real-time behavior and scalability.


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Graduation Date





Hughes, Charles


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Computer Science

Degree Program

Engineering and Computer Science








Release Date

August 2004

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science; Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic