“People who know how to make games need to start focusing on the task of making real life better for as many people as possible.” Jane McGonigal, author of “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World,” describes how games can give someone a sense of purpose. Dr. Maria Harrington, Associate Professor in the Games and Interactive Media Program in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media, demonstrates this idea with the work she presented at I/ITSEC 2022 as part of the USF IST and NCS.

Dr. Harrington’s presentation titled “Immersive Embodied Digital Twins of Nature and the Role of Information Fidelity in Knowledge Acquisition,” is about two products developed as digital twins of nature using geospatial datasets, visualized in immersive augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices and used in IRB approved research studies on learning impacts. She adds that “this talk may be of interest to anyone who wishes to understand the design factors required to construct effective knowledge acquisition systems and digital twins of the natural world. For applications designed for education, learning or training, the critical objective is for the human to obtain high accuracy in the knowledge. That result is achieved when the content is accurate, and the application is designed with high information fidelity. Results of prior research will be covered.”

Additionally, by presenting cases in both AR and VR, she uses the Virtual Arboretum as an example of an early digital twin of a natural environment. In her research, Dr. Harrington mentions that the AR Perpetual Garden App, developed in 2018 as a virtual diorama, illustrates a virtual forest which covered the gallery floor and created a virtual woodland springtime bloom. She states that “as one of the first AR apps to use SLAM technology it visualized a spatial 3D forest understory.” In the future, she hopes to integrate digital twins of nature with man-made digital twins in order to enhance models, simulations, and forecasts.

Thank you, Dr. Maria Harrington for your research contributions!


By Majdulina Hamed.

Published to Nicholson News on January 4th, 2023.

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