HIT Major

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Bachelor of Computing, Human Interface Technology (HIT) Major

Human Interface Technology Lab Australia (HITLab AU), School of Computing & Information Systems

The major of human interface technology is a course composed of instructional and project-based units that emphasize technology, creative and entrepreneurial disciplines. This page describes in detail the HIT major Course Structure, details of the 8 units, Course Background and Foundation Technologies we use.

The objective of this major is to bring students together to broaden understanding in all components needed to field marketable products that solve pervasive problems in the world through the use of digital media. Through a schedule of required units and electives, students will be able to connect between technology and creative disciplines while still being able to emphasize either track through the major. Students who enrol and complete this degree program, will graduate with a Bachelor of Computing with a Human Interface Technology major.

Student experiences consist of lectures, laboratories, design studios, field studies, and possible funded research projects in connection with the HIT Lab AU and other HIT Labs in the USA and New Zealand. The technology used in the course is cutting edge, involving the latest developments in virtual and augmented reality, gaming and simulation.

The major begins with a four unit sequence that embeds storytelling as its core, then explores the creation of human experience through various media including linear (cinema), interactive (simulation, games & toys) and immersive (virtual reality) modalities. Additional units provide an understanding of the technology basis for creating the medium, including mixed reality technology, game engines and computer graphics. Finally, entrepreneurial and business instruction provides a practical foundation for translating technology and content into marketable products. The emphasis throughout the major will be on solving real world problems.


Course Structure

Year One
KXH141 Virtual Reality Technology
KXH142 Augmented Reality Technology
Year Two
KXH241 User Interface Design
KXH242 Fundamentals of Interactive Entertainment
Year Three To be introduced from 2011
KXH341 Immersive World Workshop A
KXH342 Immersive World Workshop B
KXH343 Designing Virtual Worlds
KXH344 Innovation and Entrepreneurship


KXH141 Virtual Reality Technology

This unit explores the exciting field of virtual reality and the advanced concepts and technologies for interfacing humans to complex machines. The unit focusses on virtual interfaces and their potential impact on the way we think about computers and the way we think with them. In this unit, interface design principles are reviewed from both human factors and technological perspectives. Hardware, software and mindware aspects of virtual interfaces and virtual environments are investigated. In addition, applications are postulated and designed in the fields of medicine, education, design and entertainment. The HITLab's VisionSpace is used for teaching, demonstration and practical applications.

KXH141 is a companion unit to KXH142 on Augmented Reality Technology. KXH141 concentrates primarily on Virtual Reality Technology whilst KXH142 concentrates on Augmented Reality Technology. This unit is a foundation unit for the Human Interface Technology (HIT) Major and Diploma of Creative Media Technology courses within the HIT Lab Australia. Our undergraduate units are instructional companions to the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in Australia. This Laboratory is linked to the HIT Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA and the HIT Lab NZ, located at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ and will promote the development of advanced human interfaces and media technologies.

Concepts and Unit Elements

Overview of Unit
Introduction to Vision
Definition of Virtual Reality (VR)
Brief History of Virtual Interface
Human/Machine side of Virtual Interface Design
Building the Virtual World
Measuring the Goodness of Virtual Worlds
Overview of Augmented Reality (AR)
Applications of VR
Collaborative VR
Medical Applications of VR
Educational Applications of VR
Creative & Design Applications
Future Developments of VR Technology & Applications

Prerequisites: None

Teaching Delivery Method: 2 hours of lectures and 2-hour laboratory work weekly, or equivalent

Delivery Staff: Tom Furness and external lecturers

Assessment: Assignments (40%) and 2-hour examination (60%)

Key Semester Dates and timetables: UTAS Courses and Unit detail page


KXH142 Augmented Reality Technology

KXH142 explores the field of augmented reality and the advanced concepts and technologies for interfacing humans to complex machines. Hardware, software and mindware aspects of augmented reality environments are investigated. Creating content for augmented reality applications for the fields of mobile, outdoor and wearable applications is discussed. The ARToolKit is employed for teaching, demonstration and practical applications.

KXH142 is a companion unit to KXH141 on Virtual Reality Technology. KXH142 concentrates primarily on Augmented Reality Technology whilst KXH141 concentrates on Virtual Reality. This unit is a foundation unit for the Human Interface Technology (HIT) Major and Diploma of Creative Media Technology courses within the HIT Lab Australia. Our undergraduate units are instructional companions to the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in Australia. This Laboratory is linked to the HIT Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA and the HIT Lab NZ, located at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ and will promote the development of advanced human interfaces and media technologies.

Concepts and Unit Elements

Overview of Unit
Introduction to Augmented Reality
Overview of Virtual Reality (VR)
Augmented Reality Tracking
AR Interaction techniques
Collaborative AR applications
Mobile / Outdoor AR
Creating Content for AR applications
AR & Wearable computing applications
Promising research directions in Augmented Reality

Prerequisites: None

Teaching Delivery Method: 2 hours of lectures and 2-hour laboratory work weekly, or equivalent

Delivery Staff: Winyu Chinthammit and external lecturers

Assessment: Assignments (40%) and 2-hour examination (60%)

Key Semester Dates and timetables: UTAS Courses and Unit detail page


KXH241 User Interface Design

KXH241 covers a broad area of human interface technology design, including both software and hardware aspects. Since the beginning, humans have built tools to extend their bodies and minds. The modern age provides unprecedented access to technology that can manipulate digital bits and atoms. But in order to realize and exploit the technology of our age, new tools need to be developed that match the capabilities of the machine with the capabilities of the human. This match requires an understanding of both human and machine processes and especially the tasks that together, the human and machine, intend to accomplish.

The purpose of this unit is to provide the student with the knowledge and tools to design interfaces to advanced systems, such as those associated with virtual and augmented reality. The unit is a combination of lectures and group work experiences designing user interfaces to advanced media technologies, including visual, acoustic, and haptic modalities.

This is a second level unit within the Human Interface Technology (HIT) Major and Diploma of Creative Media Technology courses within the HIT Lab Australia. Our undergraduate units are instructional companions to the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in Australia. This Laboratory is linked to the HIT Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA and the HIT Lab NZ, located at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ and will promote the development of advanced human interfaces and media technologies.

Concepts and Unit Elements

Introduction to Unit
Project Development Tools
Interface Prototyping Tools
Interface Input Design
Interface Output Design
Application Design
Develop Prototypes
Virtual Reality Interface Design
Augmented Reality Interface Design
Re-Engineering and Improvement
Advanced Design Methods
Future of Human Interface Technology

(this unit is first being offered in Feb 2010 )

Prerequisites: None

Teaching Delivery Method: 2 hours of lectures and 2-hour laboratory work weekly, or equivalent

Delivery Staff: Winyu Chinthammit

Assessment: Assignments (50%) and 2-hour examination (50%)

Key Semester Dates and timetables: UTAS Courses and Unit detail page


KXH242 Fundamentals of Interactive Entertainment

This unit offered from 2010 provides students with an understanding and overview of interactive entertainment and new media from the perspective of the developer, storyteller, designer, artist and audience. This unit provides students with the theories, tools and techniques to create and analyse stories that can be told as digital interactive games, animated films, immersive experiences or various forms of mixed reality design to help them in the analysis of properties and the creation of new ones.

This is a second level unit within the Human Interface Technology (HIT) Major and Diploma of Creative Media Technology courses within the HIT Lab Australia. Our undergraduate units are instructional companions to the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in Australia. This Laboratory is linked to the HIT Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA and the HIT Lab NZ, located at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ and will promote the development of advanced human interfaces and media technologies.

Concepts and Unit Elements

Overview of Unit

(To be updated in early 2010)

Prerequisites: None

Teaching Delivery Method: Details to come

Delivery Staff: Contact Daniel Rolf with inquiries

Assessment: Details to come

Key Semester Dates and timetables: Details to come


KXH341 Immersive World Workshop A

This unit offered from 2011 is the first in the series of workshops allowing students the opportunity to individually and in groups develop a concept and prototype for presentation and review. This unit looks at some of the practical challenges involved in the creation of immersive worlds such as project management and team dynamics, conceiving and writing of a concept proposal, business assessment and analysis, development of marketing and promotional plan, development of prototypes, and the integration of visual, audio and textual elements into the total user experience.

This is a third level unit within the Human Interface Technology (HIT) Major and Diploma of Creative Media Technology courses within the HIT Lab Australia. Our undergraduate units are instructional companions to the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in Australia. This Laboratory is linked to the HIT Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA and the HIT Lab NZ, located at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ and will promote the development of advanced human interfaces and media technologies.

Concepts and Unit Elements

Overview of Unit

(To be updated in late 2010)

Prerequisites: KXH241 or KXH242

Teaching Delivery Method: Details to come

Delivery Staff: Contact Daniel Rolf with inquiries

Assessment: Details to come

Key Semester Dates and timetables: Details to come


KXH342 Immersive World Workshop B

This unit offered from 2011 is the second in the series of workshops which provides students the opportunity to individually and in groups develop a concept and prototype for presentation and review.

This is a third level unit within the Human Interface Technology (HIT) Major and Diploma of Creative Media Technology courses within the HIT Lab Australia. Our undergraduate units are instructional companions to the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in Australia. This Laboratory is linked to the HIT Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA and the HIT Lab NZ, located at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ and will promote the development of advanced human interfaces and media technologies.

Concepts and Unit Elements

Overview of Unit

(To be updated in late 2010)

Prerequisites: KXH341

Teaching Delivery Method: Details to come

Delivery Staff: Contact Daniel Rolf with inquiries

Assessment: Details to come

Key Semester Dates and timetables: Details to come


KXH343 Designing Virtual Worlds

This unit offered from 2011 explores the design and development of world building online. The unit explores such topics as what are communities both online and offline, community identification, community building, game communities, MMOs, and social networks. Particular emphasis is given to understanding and designing communities from both a social and economic perspective. In addition, computer graphics for virtual worlds are covered in this unit.

This is a third level unit within the Human Interface Technology (HIT) Major and Diploma of Creative Media Technology courses within the HIT Lab Australia. Our undergraduate units are instructional companions to the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in Australia. This Laboratory is linked to the HIT Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA and the HIT Lab NZ, located at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ and will promote the development of advanced human interfaces and media technologies.

Concepts and Unit Elements

Overview of Unit

(To be updated in late 2010)

Prerequisites: KXH241 or KXH242

Teaching Delivery Method: Details to come

Delivery Staff: Contact Daniel Rolf with inquiries

Assessment: Details to come

Key Semester Dates and timetables: Details to come


KXH344 Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Interactive Entertainment

This unit offered from 2011 explores Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the field of Interactive Entertainment. Specifically, it provides an overview of current business models in interactive media and games, state of the game industry, future trends, funding and copyright issues. The unit also looks at some of the practical challenges involved in the creation of intellectual properties such as brainstorming, project management and team dynamics, conceiving and writing a concept proposal, business assessment and analysis.

This is a third level unit within the Human Interface Technology (HIT) Major and Diploma of Creative Media Technology courses within the HIT Lab Australia. Our undergraduate units are instructional companions to the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in Australia. This Laboratory is linked to the HIT Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA and the HIT Lab NZ, located at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ and will promote the development of advanced human interfaces and media technologies.

Concepts and Unit Elements

Overview of Unit

(To be updated in late 2010)

Prerequisites: KXH241 or KXH242

Teaching Delivery Method: Details to come

Delivery Staff: Contact Daniel Rolf with inquiries

Assessment: Details to come

Key Semester Dates and timetables: Details to come


Course Background

Digital technology has brought new media to the modern world for creative expression in almost all fields of study, enterprise and entertainment. Unfortunately at the same time traditional training and education at the University level still tends to deconstruct and separate the world into disciplines that do not integrate and make use of these media. There is a gulf between the ‘push’ or potential empowerment that technology can provide from the ‘pull’ that applications really need (such as solving the pervasive problems in the world). The purpose of this new major is to build a bridge between disciplines associated with science and technology with those associated with the arts, design and professions in medicine, business and law with a focus of engineering experiences for people at enlighten, delight, inspire and empower. The curriculum is open to all students throughout the University regardless of school association and interest.

This new major also constitutes the instructional component of the Tasmania Research Centre of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in Australia. The Laboratory is linked to the HIT Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA and the HIT Lab NZ, located at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ. The mission of the HIT Lab here is to serve as an economic engine for the Tasmania and Australia as a whole by tapping the enormous talent at the UTAS and working on projects that empower people by building advanced interface technology that unlocks and links minds.

The course concentrates on the design of the digital medium and the message or content delivered by that medium as well as the human interface to both. Although great progress has been made in developing and networking digital technology, today’s human interfaces to those technologies (e.g, mouse, keyboard, etc.) are extraordinarily limiting and do not match the power of the human with the power of computing and digital media. Furthermore, the content of these media do not take advantage the natural three dimensional capabilities of humans in relating to the real world. The UTAS and HIT Lab AU intend to change this by developing and commercialising advanced interfaces that provide high bandwidth from computers to the brain and between brains, all based upon: 1) the natural abilities and perceptual organization of the human; and 2) the functional needs for specific applications in medicine, design, education and business. Combined, the UTAS courses and HIT Lab projects will develop both technology capital to build new industry in Australia along with human capital that comes from giving students a project-based multidisciplinary environment in which to learn and grow.

In the end, our projects are directed toward building interface tools that open an effectual window for collaboration and creation of digital content that give optimal experiences to people in all fields of endeavour.


Course Foundation Technologies

VisionSpace Studio

The VisionSpace Studio is being constructed within the School of Computing & Information Systems in the Launceston Campus.

VisionSpace is a three-screen immersive stereo projection system that enables groups of people to view and intuitively interact with 3D virtual data in new ways.

The VisionSpace theatre facility has three large projection screens capable of showing hi-resolution imagery to a group of people. Users wear polarised glasses to experience an immersive 3D effect, and the system is equipped with surround sound and high-end infrared optical tracking system to provide a truly powerful experience. The VisionSpace facility in Launceston would be one of the first of its type in Australia and provides people with a unique way to view and interact with their spatial data.

ARToolKit

ARToolKit is a software library for building Augmented Reality (AR) applications. These are applications that involve the overlay of virtual imagery on the real world. For example, in the image to the right a three-dimensional virtual character appears standing on a real card. It can be seen by the user in the head set display they are wearing. When the user moves the card, the virtual character moves with it and appears attached to the real object. ARToolKit is being supported by HIT Lab US, HIT Lab NZ and ARToolworks, Inc, Seattle.