Informatik, TU Wien

High-Fidelity Multisensory Virtual Experiences

Lecture by visiting professor Prof. Alan Chalmers (University of Warwick).


Virtual environments (VEs) offer the possibility of simulating potentially complex, dangerous or threatening real world experiences in a safe, repeatable and controlled manner. They can provide a powerful and fully customizable tool for a personalised experience and allow attributes of human behaviour in such environments to be examined. However, to accurately simulate reality, VEs need to be based on physical simulations and stimulate multiple senses (visuals, audio, smell, touch, taste, temperature etc.) in a natural manner. Such environments are known as Real Virtuality. Natural delivery of multiple senses is especially important as a human’s perception may be significantly affected by interactions between all these senses. In particular, cross-modalities (the influence of one sense on another) can substantially alter the way in which a scene is perceived and the way the user behaves. At present there is no simulator available that can offer such a full sensory real-world experience. A key reason is that today’s computers are not yet powerful enough to simulate the full physical accuracy of a real scene for multiple senses in real-time.

This talk discusses how it may be possible to achieve high-fidelity multisensory virtual experiences now, because of our brain’s inability to process all the sensory input we receive at any given moment.

Short biobraphy

Alan Chalmers is a Professor of Visualisation at the International Digital Laboratory, WMG, University of Warwick, UK. He has an MSc with distinction from Rhodes University, 1985 and a PhD from University of Bristol, 1991. He has published over 200 papers in journals and international conferences on high-fidelity graphics, multi-sensory perception, High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging, virtual archaeology and parallel rendering. He is Honorary President of Afrigraph and a former Vice President of ACM SIGGRAPH. Together with SpheronVR, a high-precision German camera company, he was instrumental in the development of the world's first HDR video camera, which was completed in July 2009. He is the Founder and a Director of the spin-out company goHDR Ltd., which aims to be the leader in the software which enables HDR technology.

Chalmers' research goal is "Real Virtuality", obtaining physically-based, multi-sensory, high-fidelity virtual environments at interactive rates through a combination of parallel processing and human perception techniques.


The lecture series on research talks by the visiting professors of the PhD School can also be credited as an elective course for students of master programs of computer science: TISS.