You are on page 1of 9

Virtual Reality (2004) 7: 120128

DOI 10.1007/s10055-004-0121-5


G. Lepouras A. Katifori C. Vassilakis D. Charitos

Real exhibitions in a virtual museum

Received: 23 April 2003 / Accepted: 11 February 2004 / Published online: 27 March 2004
Springer-Verlag London Limited 2004

Abstract When creating a virtual environment open to the attractive presentations for communicating their mes-sage to
public a number of challenges have to be addressed. The the public in a more eective manner. This can be achieved
equipment has to be chosen carefully in order to be be able by complementing exhibit presentation with multi-sensory
to withstand hard everyday usage, and the application has information (text, images, video, sound, interactive 3D
not only to be robust and easy to use, but has also to be graphics, kinaesthetic feedback etc.) appropriately designed
appealing to the user, etc. The current paper presents and integrated within the context of an exhibition. Virtual
findings gathered from the creation of a multi-thematic reality technology in particular has already found its way
virtual museum environment to be of-fered to visitors of real into a number of museums or similar organisations in the
world museums. A number of design and implementation form of virtual museum systems.
aspects are described along with an experiment designed to
evaluate alternative ap-proaches for implementing the The term virtual museum was coined by Tsichritzis
navigation in a virtual museum environment. The paper is and Gibbs [1]. In the context of this paper, the term virtual
concluded with in-sights gained from the development of the museum is used for describing an interactive but not
virtual mu-seum and portrays future research plans. necessarily immersive 3D graphics system, which aims at
fulfilling the same goals as a real world museum. This
definition expands the notion of a virtual museum to that of
Keywords Evaluation Interaction design Virtual an electronic museum comprising digitised content, which
environment Virtual museum may be presented in the form of 2D media (usually images
or video) or 3D objects and environments. Navigation within
this content occurs in varying degrees of interactivity.

1 Introduction

The last decades have witnessed a shift in the focus of the 1.1 Virtual museum installations
museums, from placeholders of exhibits to places devoted to
education and at the same time entertainment of their Currently, Virtual Museum implementations vary from fully
visitors. Technology has facilitated this shift, by oering immersive Cave systems to simple multimedia
museums the means to create more vivid and presentations. The most compelling sensory and aec-tive
experience is probably aorded by fully immersive or
G. Lepouras (&) A. Katifori C. Vassilakis projection-based virtual reality systems. These sys-tems use
Department of Informatics and Telecommunications, cutting-edge technology and their cost is very high;
University of Athens, 157 84 Athens, Greece therefore, the number of such installations worldwide is
Tel.: +30-2710-372201 limited. Examples of such systems are the Cave at the
Fax: +30-2710-372206 Foundation of the Hellenic World [2] and the dome-
projection system used at the Hayden Plane-tarium [3]. On
G. Lepouras (&) C. Vassilakis
Department of Computer Science and Technology, the other side of the spectrum one can find systems that can
University of Peloponnese, Terma Karaiskaki, be accessed through Internet and/ or viewed on low cost PCs
22100 Tripoli, Greece and which let the user control interactively the viewing of
D. Charitos individual 3D objects, pan-oramic views or static stereo
Department of Communication and Media Studies, images of 3D models. Examples of such systems can be
University of Athens, 105 62 Athens, Greece found at the Web site

of the Tower of Pisa [4], the Louvre Museum [5] and the museum hosting a variety of exhibits from ten di erent real
Hermitage Museum [6]. world museums. The rest of the paper is structured as
Between the abovementioned high-end and low-end follows: the next section provides a brief outline of the
virtual museums, several mid-range systems (the Tokyo Virtual Museums project, followed by a description of
National Museum [7], the Getty Museum [8]) provide several key issues regarding the design of the virtual
examples of more aordable and at the same time quite environment. The following section describes aspects of the
eective solutions, utilising desktop virtual reality sys-tems, implementation, and the next section presents an experiment
with a standard high-resolution or stereo monitor, or, in designed to evaluate alternative approaches for
some cases, shutter glasses for a stereoscopic dis-play. implementing the virtual environment. The last sec-tion
concludes with insights gained from the development of the
Creating a virtual museum may provide an enhanced, virtual museum and portrays future research plans.
vivid and enjoyable presentation of certain exhibits to
visitors. There are also several other reasons that may justify
the eort of developing such a system: 1.2 The virtual museums project
Lack of space: Since exhibition space in the majority of
The virtual museums was a project sponsored by the
museums is usually limited, most museums display a
fraction of the exhibits they own. Furthermore, some Hellenic General Secretariat of Research and Technol-ogy
objects may be too fragile or valuable to be exhibited. within the EPET II Framework. The projects objective was
Stored objects can be eectively displayed by means of a to create a virtual environment where visitors of the
virtual reality presentation within the spatial context of participating museums would be able to view and
the real museum. manipulate exhibits either through the Internet or via a
Simulation of environment: a virtual environment sys-tem locally installed system. This virtual environ-ment would
oers visitors the possibility to view a simulation of fulfil educational, research and cultural purposes.
important objects, buildings or environments; these Additionally, the project would create all the software tools
environments may either: necessary for the museums curators and system
administrators to add and/or remove exhibits from the
no longer exist today virtual environment according to their needs. This paper will
be somehow damaged and in need of reconstruction or focus on the design, development and certain aspects of
evaluating the locally installed virtual museum system.
not be easily experienced, either because they exist at a
remote site or because their condition does not allow Ten museums, which could cater for the varied and
for their interior to be navigated. diverse preferences of potential visitors, provided content
Presentation of an unsafe or remote environment: A virtual for the virtual museum. One of them is a private museum
environment system is also a secure way of visiting an (the Museum of Cycladic Art of the N.P. Goulandris
environment, which may be too dicult or too dangerous Foundation) and the others belong to the University of
to physically visit (e.g., navigation within a volcano or on Athens (the Anthropology Museum, the Athens University
the mountains of Mars). History Museum, the Botanical Museum, the Zoology
Mobile exhibition: the digitised content of a museum may Museum, the Forensic Science Museum, the Geology and
be experienced in a realistic manner via a mobile virtual Palaeontology Museum, the Museum of Hygiene, the
environment system, which can be easily transported to Museum of Archaeology and the History of Art and the
any exhibition site or remote location. This fact may Museum of Mineralogy and Petrology). The development of
aord a wider audience to view important exhibitions the virtual museum system to be installed locally at
without the necessity of travel-ling far. participating museums comprised of four ma-jor phases:

requirements analysis and specifications,

Besides these advantages, the development of a vir-tual design,
environment, which is open to the public, presents a number prototyping and evaluation,
of challenges: acquiring and maintaining equipment can be full-scale implementation.
very expensive, devices are often experimental and
sometimes too fragile to be used within museum spaces,
some visitors may suer from simulator sickness, etc.
1.3 Requirements analysis and specifications
The design and development of a successful and
compelling virtual museum system is a rather dicult and The design of the virtual museum has, to an extent, followed
complex task which involves addressing cultural, ergo- the model proposed by Parent [9]. Accordingly, for each of
nomic, and technological issues, as well as a series of other the museums, attributes and requirements such as the
issues. This paper presents the experience drawn from a visitors language, profession (e.g., student, researcher, etc.),
project, which aimed at creating a multi-thematic virtual preferences, age group, etc. were

recorded, forming a detailed profile of participating 1.4 The virtual museum design
museums visitors. Furthermore, museum characteristics
such as the aim of the museum, its special needs, the The design of the static aspect of the virtual museum was
existing infrastructure, exhibitions and collections were comprised of two tightly coupled tasks: the archi-tectural
identified and subsequently recorded. All requirements were design of the museum setting and the design of the exhibit
documented in requirement data sheets and, as a result, presentation for all objects that were to be displayed. As
formulated the design requirements and corre-sponding previously suggested, the identified requirements and
specifications for participants and for the vir-tual specifications for each museum determined how their
environment system. These requirements and specifications content was organised into cate-gories and consequently
formed the basis for the design of the virtual museum, since aected the design of the overall museum setting and the
they determined the way in which content organisation and way that all exhibits were pre-sented.
categorisation took place and generally how the creative
phase of the design evolved. Of equal importance to these two tasks was the de-sign of
According to the requirements analysis the following the dynamic aspect of the virtual environment, which
profile was drawn for museums visitors: involved the way that visitors navigated within the museum
Visitors for the participating museums covered a wide and how they interacted with the exhibits.
range of ages and backgrounds, with a large percentage of
them being primary and secondary education school
children and university students. For some of the museums 1.5 The architectural design
(as in the case of the Forensic Science Mu-seum, which was
open only for students of medical schools) almost all visitors
The environmental design of the museum setting was
shared a common profile, while in others a variety of
primarily aimed at supporting the visitor in navigating, while
profiles corresponding to age and education groups were
maintaining a sense of orientation within the vir-tual
identified. Finally, for some museums, it was only possible
environment. In order to achieve this, architectural
to create a common profile that was too generic.
knowledge has proved essential during the design and
To this end, it was necessary to create a virtual development of all spatial elements, for enhancing the
environment that catered to as many of the visitors visitors environmental knowledge and for directing
requirements as possible. Furthermore, although a per- participant attention towards certain points of interest within
centage of the museums visitors were computer users, it each exhibition. The environmental design of the museum,
was decided that no prior experience with the use of which involved the design of all spatial ele-ments as well as
computing systems should be assumed in the users profiles the overall structure of the museum complex, followed the
of the virtual environment. In many of the existing virtual model proposed by Charitos [10] (see Fig. 1 and Fig. 2).
museum installations, a computer-lit-erate guide plays the
The overall museum structure expands in three
role of directing the visitors nav-igation and attention
dimensions. Certain characteristics of spatial elements such
through museum content and context. The proposed virtual
as the use of symmetry in the overall plan or in the plan of
environment was expected to aord visitors the ability of
certain spaces as well as the selective use of transparency on
controlling the experience themselves. This requirement
the material of certain surfaces, aimed at aiding the visitors
implied the need for cre-ating an environment, which was
navigation and orientation. The symmetrical star-shaped
easy and intuitive to use and which a user would be able to
plan of the basic museum structure was aimed at making it
start exploring after a minimal learning time.
easier for visitors to perceive and comprehend the overall
According to the requirements analysis, visitors should structure of the museum complex and consequently to
have been able to perform the following range of tasks: navigate within it. The overall plan or the plan of certain
spatial elements, as well as the selective use of transparency
on certain surfaces, were aimed at aiding the visitors
Navigate in the virtual reality museum navigation and orientation. A symmetrical star-shaped plan
Acquire information regarding exhibits
was expected to enhance the perception and comprehension
Manipulate objects
of the overall museum complex structure. The symmet-ric
Rotate objects shape can help the user acquire easily an overview of the
Move objects museum structure, knowing that moving towards a lower
Assemble and disassemble specific exhibits level would always bring her to a museum cate-gory foyer
or further down to the entrance. During the design phase, the
The requirements analysis also provided specifica-tions eciency of using a symmetrical plan had been questioned.
for the hardware of the proposed system. Since the
installation had to be robust enough and of a medium cost
that could withstand everyday use, a semi-immer-sive To address these concerns, a series of other environ-
system was considered as the most appropriate solution. mental design elements provided cues and configura-tional
dierentiation, essential for informing user

resulted in the form of individual museum spaces being

adequately dierentiated, thus providing cues and
environmental information essential for aiding naviga-tion
and orientation within the spatial context. Finally,
navigational cues such as icons, text labels, maps and
colours aided visitors in being aware of the thematic
category they were in at all times and informed them about
how they could move to the next spatial entity of the
The entrance to the museum is at the lower level and
from there upwards the setting comprises a set of dif-ferent
foyer spaces, positioned at the two upper levels and
connected by a series of paths. This structure aims at
supporting distribution of movement within the mu-seum
setting in the best possible manner. The ten indi-vidual
museums are organised into four thematic categories:
museums of the Flora and Fauna (the Botanical Museum,
and the Zoology Museum), the museums of the Earth (the
Museum of Mineralogy, and the Museum of
Palaeontology/Geology), Historical/ Archaeological
museums (the Gouladris Museum of Cycladic Art, the
Archaeological Museum of the Department of Philosophy
University of Athens, and the Museum of History of the
University of Athens) and Human-centred Museums (the
Museum of Anthropol-ogy, the Museum of Forensic Science
Fig. 1 A 2D graphic plan of the basic museum structure and the Museum of Hygiene. Each thematic category
corresponds to a 2nd level museum category foyer space.
After the visitor enters the entrance hall, she is then directed
to one of the thematic category foyer spaces from where she
can select which individual museum to visit, starting from
this museums foyer space.
Paths connecting foyer spaces have a semi-transpar-ent
surface material, enabling visitors to be aware of their
location within the overall structure as they explore the
museum and accordingly orientate themselves in the
complex. Repetitive frame-objects are positioned along
these paths for enhancing the sense of movement and
providing feedback on the distance traversed while moving
along the path.
The spatial design of each individual museum was
dictated by the categorisation of its exhibits, according to
requirements provided by museum curators, as well as their
selection of particular exhibits to be displayed. The spatial
organisation of each exhibition was also deter-mined by the
way activities were organised within each museum and
therefore depended on the aim and objec-tives of each
individual exhibition.
In regard to the level of realism characterising the virtual
museum the design had two alternatives: to fol-low a close
Fig. 2 A 3D view of the overall museum structure (including individual to reality depiction of a museum or purge classic forms
museum halls) and design a novel museum, not neces-sarily of a realistic
form. To this end, the latter approach was selected: the
navigation and orientation at all times. Each level design of form in the virtual museum did not attempt to
comprising elements of the museum setting was posi-tioned imitate real world elements and their characteristics [11].
along a vertical axis in a hierarchical manner. Moreover, the Such a design approach, although often followed in similar
design of each individual museum ele-ments form directly cases, was thought to be limiting the potential of the virtual
corresponded to the content that it entailed. This approach to reality medium for creating a synthetic museum space.
designing spatial entities Additionally,

participating museum curators understood the virtual behaviour of museum visitors when navigating or viewing
museum as a new and somehow imaginary museum an exhibition within a museum and their will to view certain
that called for a novel approach towards its spatial design. exhibits [12].
The virtual museum enabled participating museum
Therefore, with respect to the level of realism cha- curators to try alternative routes for exploration through the
racterising the form of space in the virtual museum, certain content and also oered a chance to achieve something they
generic real-world environmental elements were maintained, were not able to do in the real world museum: duplicate
while an attempt was made to investigate non-realistic forms exhibits. In a virtual museum an exhibit can easily be
and elements, which were thought to improve the integrated within two or more collections, possibly
eectiveness and impact of the exhibition. The adoption of conveying a dierent meaning each time.
certain navigation techniques like teleportation and a lack of
gravity led to certain envi-ronmental characteristics The virtual environment also gave the opportunity to
(discontinuity of space, a need to support 3D navigation), present exhibits in certain ways that were not possible
which were taken into ac-count in the design of before. For example, the penguin in the Zoology Mu-seum
environmental form. Figure 3 oers a perspective view of was easily represented in a diorama in the virtual museum,
the virtual museums overall structure. instead of being presented as an embalmed object/animal in
display as was the case in the real world museum. The
penguin exhibit is illustrated in Fig. 4 and Fig. 5.

2 The design of the exhibit presentation

A museum, in a real or virtual world, communicates certain 2.1 The 3D navigation and interaction design
messages to its visitors through exhibiting its content. The
message visitors receive and the way in which the message The environment of the virtual museum can be charac-
is perceived and understood can be greatly influenced by the terised as large, dense and relatively static (with the
individual positioning of the exhibit as well by the overall exemption of dioramas) [13]. Bowman et al. [14] provide an
organisation of the exhi-bition. For example, by setting an overview and references to techniques as well as guidelines
exhibit on a pedestal the visitors may have a chance to for 3D interaction design. According to the requirements
admire special char-acteristics of the object, while by analysis, a virtual reality museum visitors navigation is
organising related exhibits into a group a visitor may be able primarily explorative, implying that visi-tors would probably
to perceive as well as to compare these objects and to wander around rather than search for specific exhibits.
understand certain relations between them. Environmental However, for visitors who explore the environment with the
charac-teristics of the virtual museum, such as lighting, posi- aim of finding specific exhibits, directional cues and
tioning and orientation of exhibits as well as the physical teleportation mechanisms were positioned in appropriate
areas. The technique selected for navigation falls in the
structure of exhibition spaces, may determine the
general category of steering,

Fig. 3 A perspective view of the

virtual museums overall

Since exploration was the primary navigation task, it was

assumed that there was no need to implement a technique
that would allow the manipulation of objects, while
navigating within the environment. When a user gets close
to an exhibit, the pointer changes in order to indicate the
possibility of manipulation. Due to the multi-thematic nature
of the virtual museum, a user may find some parts of the
museum more interesting than others. For this purpose, it
was considered essential to implement a variable navigation
velocity, which would enable the visitor to move faster in
some parts of the virtual museum and slower in others.
Successful imple-mentation of such functionality depends
greatly on the pointing device used. On the basis of the
requirements analysis and taking into account the survey of
3D input devices [15], there was a choice of three devices
that could withstand hard, everyday usage and at the same
time oered the possibility of small learning curve: a simple
2D mouse, a joystick and a 3D mouse (a Magellan mouse).

2.2 An evaluation

Fig. 4 A photo of the penguin exhibit in the real world museum As described in the previous section, an aspect of the
research eort given to this project has focussed on the
architectural aspect of designing space and on the design of
navigation and the manipulation of objects within the virtual
environment. However, the successful imple-mentation of
navigation and manipulation techniques largely depends on
the overall design of the virtual environment as well as the
input device selected. The prototype aimed at testing a series
of design issues such as the layout of halls, the form of
architectural space and the textures of walls as well as the
positioning of exhibits in relation to navigation and
manipulation of objects by the visitors. This evaluation
aimed at providing useful insights into the design aspects of
a virtual exhibition as well as the suitability of the selected
input devices.

2.3 The method

2.3.1 The experimental design

Since the experiment attempted to clarify issues con-cerning

the appropriateness of design solutions, the methodology
mirrored a real-world situation where a museum visitor
would spend as little time as possible to get acquainted with
the virtual museum system, and then would spend some
time, ranging from five to ten min-utes, exploring the
Fig. 5 A diorama of the penguin in the virtual museum
2.3.2 Participants

where the user points to the direction of travel. Although a On the basis of the experiment described above, experi-ment
number of alternative techniques exist, this was con-sidered participants were visitors of the Museum of Zoology who
a simple to learn and ecient technique, with respect to the volunteered to take part in the assessment. A total of 25
objectives of a virtual exhibition. subjects, 14 male and 11 female, participated in

Table 1 Movement assignments of the three devices used in this experiment

Action Mouse Magellan Joystick

Move up, down, left, right Right mouse button + move mouse in direction Pull/push in direction Pull + fire button 2
Move forward, backwards Left mouse button + move mouse in direction Push/pull in direction Push/ pull in direction
Turn left, right Left mouse button + move mouse left/right Rotate clockwise/ Push left /right
Rotate object on vertical Left mouse button + move mouse Rotate clockwise/ Move stick left/right
(Z) axis counter clockwise
Rotate object on X, Y axes Right mouse button + left mouse button + Rotate cap on Move stick + fire button 1
move mouse corresponding axis
Toggle between movement Space key from keyboard Space key from Space key from keyboard
and object handling keyboard

the experiment. The subjects were mostly students and within-subjects approach was selected, where all partic-
researchers of the University of Athens, their ages ranging ipants would use all input devices. Each participant would
from 20 to 34. Most participants had some computer start with one device in random and then move to the next.
experience, while only two of them had some experience
with virtual reality/3D games. From the answers given on Participants were asked to carry out a number of tasks
the questionnaire, it was gathered that all participants had covering the most basic actions that a user would execute in
used a mouse before, about half of them had used a joystick the virtual environment (movement and
and only two of them had some previous experi-ence with
the Magellan mouse.

2.3.3 The procedure

The setup of the experiment employed a desktop virtual

reality version of the system, as planned for installation at
participating museums. This system was comprised of a PC
workstation, equipped with shutter glasses for stereo display
and, as previously stated, three dierent input devices: a
standard mouse, a joystick and a Magellan mouse. The
software platform used was Sense8s WorldUp 5.0. Table 1
summarises the device functionality.

To calibrate devices the following procedure was used:

for each of the devices a set of basic actions cov-ering the
complete set of allowed actions was defined and was
performed consecutively with each input device. The time Fig. 6 A hall in the museum of forensic science
needed to execute each action was recorded and adjustments
were made to the device sensitivity in order to calibrate
them so as to operate consistently. For the experiment needs
the virtual museum of forensic science was employed (Figs.
6 and 7).
In the beginning of the experiment participants were
introduced to its aim and objectives and had a chance to
spend a few minutes (less than five) in the virtual envi-
ronment, so as to get acquainted with the input devices and
to learn the dierence between the two modes of operation
(navigation and exhibit manipulation). The instructor also
presented them with the route they would follow during the
experiment and the tasks they had to perform. Since the
input devices diered in their func-tionality , it was
assumed that previous knowledge of carrying out the
experiment did not aect the subjects performance with
each input device. To this end, a

1 For example in order to move forward with the mouse one had to
click and drag the mouse forward, while with the joystick had to
simply push the lever forward. Fig. 7 The hanged man exhibit
exhibit manipulation). In particular, subjects would start those paths. Users had the same problem with certain

from the main hall, move along a corridor towards an curved or tilted surfaces. If the curvature was large, a
exhibit, toggle between navigation and manipulation number of participants could not recognise the curve
mode, rotate the exhibit and return to navigation mode and collided with walls.
again. The user would then continue performing the Some users also seemed to have problems with
same tasks with other exhibits. semitransparent walls. These walls aimed at providing
Participants sessions were recorded by means of a visitors with views of the museums exterior space and at
video recorder. Participants could stop at any point and alleviating claustrophobic feelings. However, some par-
ask questions or make comments to the instructor. The ticipants failed to distinguish them from openings. It has
instructor would keep notes of all comments or ques- to be mentioned, though, that none of the participants
tions, as well as problems faced by participants. Analysis complained of claustrophobic feelings, and a number of
of these notes provided great help in redesigning various participants liked the sense of transparent surfaces, be-
aspects of the virtual environment, as well as the users cause they had a chance to admire the view.
interaction. At the end of the experiment participants
completed a questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted 2.4.2 Navigation and object manipulation
of two parts: a part with user profile questions and a
part with questions regarding the users experience. In Users expressed a series of comments on navigation is-
the second part, questions concerned the design of the sues. Even though some degrees of movement had al-
environment, the details, the layout, the positioning of ready been restricted (roll-rotation on the z-axis) for
exhibits and the use of input devices for the experiment avoiding disorientation, users still had problems navi-
tasks; the questionnaire concluded with questions eval- gating. This is consistent with findings by Bowman et al.
uating the users overall experience. In the majority of [16], which suggest that movement and rotation degrees
questions, users had to rate aspects of the corresponding of freedom should be as restricted as possible in order to
issue; in some cases they had to note their preferences, reduce cognitive load. Many users expressed negative
while an open-ended question, where the participants comments regarding the fact that they could fly and at
could make any comments they liked, also existed. A the same time tilt their viewpoint up and down. They felt
translated part of the questionnaire appears in the next that one of the two movements was sucient for navi-
figure. gation, preferably that of flying.
They also felt that it was preferable to be able to
2.4 Discussion rotate an exhibit only around the vertical axis. Being
able to freely rotate an exhibit around all three axes of
From the analysis of questionnaires, the notes recorded rotation resulted in a diculty to position the exhibit in
an intended position with accuracy. Finally, since they
by the evaluator and the video of the participants often found themselves moving too low and hitting the
interaction, a number of issues were identified. These floor, they felt that a walking action, where users
issues fall into three main categories: architectural de- movements would follow the surfaces slope, always
sign issues, navigation/object manipulation issues and remaining on a course parallel to the floor, would have
input device issues. been helpful.
2.4.1 Architectural design issues 2.4.3 Input device selection

The evaluators noted that narrow paths hindered sig- The experiment did not conclude a clear overall prefer-

nificantly the movement of novice users, as they de- ence for a particular input device. Participants answers
manded precision in order to enter and move through to questionnaires suggest that each input device is
them without colliding with the surfaces that defined preferable for performing certain tasks. This was
Fig. 8 Questions regarding the

overall experience

somehow unexpected since it was assumed that a 3D input users to avoid running into walls where they can get jammed
device such as the Magellan 3D mouse would have been and disoriented. As far as the pointing device is concerned,
ideal for the majority of subjects. we are planning to adopt the joystick. This is both due to the
A number of reasons may have led to these obser-vations. fact that most users rated its usability highlyits
In the case of navigation-depended tasks users found it easy responsiveness and precision as well as its low cost and
to understand the notion of click the button and move ability to endure frequent and hard use. To this end, we are
when using the mouse for navigation. On the other hand also planning to test gamepad input devices as an alternative
they had some diculty with per-forming the pull the to the joystick.
joystick in the upright position in order to stop moving
action intuitively, while wan-dering around. Subjects liked
both the mouse and the joystick because they could easily References
achieve an accelerated movement. It was dicult to achieve
the same result with the Magellan, since the allowable 1. Tsichritzis D, Gibbs S (1991) Virtual museums and virtual realities.
In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Hypermedia
displacement from the point of equilibrium was far less than and Interactivity in Museums, Pittsburgh, PA, October 1991
in the case of the other two devices. Furthermore, they found 2. The Foundation of the Hellenic World (1999) A virtual
it relatively dicult to perform movements and rotations reconstruction of ancient Miletus. http:// index.html.
along only one of the axis with the Magellan. With the other 3. Hayden Planetarium (2000) The largest real-time immersive
two devices it was easier to restrict movement along a visualization system, with three dimensional map of the galaxy and
certain axis. spatial sound system presented in a dome.http://
When manipulating objects, users did not find the 4. The Tower of Pisa (2004) Panoramic photos viewed by QuickTime
Magellan mouse dicult to use or less precise than the 5. Louvre Museum (2004) Museum rooms viewed with
other devices, but felt relatively confused by the actions they QTVR.
had to perform in order to rotate the objects. The instructor 6. Hermitage Museum (2004) A virtual tour using the IBM HotMedia
also observed that users had problems to get accustomed Java applet in order to view panoramic photos of the museums
into using the device. Probably, if object rotation had been 7. Tokyo National Museum (2000) Recreation of the Toshodai-ji
restricted to only one or two axes, participants would have temple as a large-scale, high-resolution virtual environ-
found the device as easy to use as the other two. ment.
Nevertheless, the Magellan mouse was found to aord a
8. Getty Museum (Forum of Trajan) (1998) A virtual recon-struction
more intuitive interaction experience of manipulating an of the destroyed forum. features/
exhibit, since it gave the impression of holding the object in 1998/apr/trajan/.
ones hand. However, it was felt to be rather ineective 9. Parent A (1999) A virtual environment task-analysis tool for the
creation of virtual art exhibits. Presence 8(3):355365
when precise rotations on a specific axis were required. 10. Charitos D (1998) The architectural aspect of designing space in
virtual environments. Dissertation, University of Strathclyde
11. Charitos D, Bridges AH (1997) On architectural design of virtual
environments. Des Stud 18(2):143154
3 Conclusions 12. Sarini M, Strapparava C (1998) Building a user model for a
museum exploration and information-providing adaptive sys-tem.
In: Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Adaptive Hypertext and
This paper has presented an approach and certain findings Hypermedia, HYPERTEXT98, Pittsburgh, PA, 2024 June, 1998
from designing and developing a virtual reality museum.
Creating such an application to be used by a wide variety of 13. Darken RP, Sibert JL (1993) A toolset for navigation in virtual
environments. In: Proceedings of ACM User Interface Soft-ware &
users presents a large number of chal-lenges. The designer Technology, Atlanta, GA, November 1993
has to develop an intuitive, con-sistent, user-friendly, 14. Bowman D, Kruij E, LaViola J, Poupyrev I (2001) An in-
stimulating virtual environment, with rigid hardware, able to troduction to 3D user interface design. Teleoperators and vir-tual
withstand heavy, everyday use. In the context of this project, environments. Presence 10(1):96108
15. Hand C (2004) A survey of 3-D input devices.http://cite
a number of design alternatives have been explored. In
response to experi-mental findings, circulation spaces (paths 16. Bowman DA, Koller D, Hodges LF (1997) Travel in immersive
and halls) have been redesigned and the users ability to virtual environments: an evaluation of viewpoint motion con-trol
techniques. In: Proceedings of VRAIS97, Albuquerque, NM,
move and rotate has been appropriately constrained. March 1997
Furthermore, the notion of bouncing walls and hit
sounds is currently being investigated for helping