Browsing by Author "Ortega, Francisco R., advisor"
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Item Open AccessApplication of the neural data transformer to non-autonomous dynamical systems(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2023) Mifsud, Domenick M., author; Ortega, Francisco R., advisor; Anderson, Charles, advisor; Thomas, Micheal, committee member; Barreto, Armando, committee memberThe Neural Data Transformer (NDT) is a novel non-recurrent neural network designed to model neural population activity, offering faster inference times and the potential to advance real-time applications in neuroscience. In this study, we expand the applicability of the NDT to non-autonomous dynamical systems by investigating its performance on modeling data from the Chaotic Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) with delta pulse inputs. Through adjustments to the NDT architecture, we demonstrate its capability to accurately capture non-autonomous neural population dynamics, making it suitable for a broader range of Brain-Computer Inter-face (BCI) control applications. Additionally, we introduce a modification to the model that enables the extraction of interpretable inferred inputs, further enhancing the utility of the NDT as a powerful and versatile tool for real-time BCI applications. Item Open AccessAssessing usability of full-body immersion in an interactive virtual reality environment(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2020) Raikwar, Aditya R., author; Ortega, Francisco R., advisor; Beveridge, Ross, committee member; Stephens, Jaclyn, committee member; Smith, Charles, committee memberImproving immersion and playability has a direct impact on the effectiveness of certain Virtual Reality applications. This project looks at understanding how to develop an immersive soccer application with the intention to measure skills, particularly for the use of assessment and health promotion. This project will show the requirements to create a top-down immersive experience with commodity devices. The particular system serves the simulation of a soccer training environment to evade opponents, pass to teammates, and score goals with the objective of measuring the difficulty of single, double, and triple tasks. It is expected that the performance will go down as the level of tasks increases. This hypothesis is extremely relevant as it provides a system that could serve as an assessment tool for people with concussions to return to play (with an OK by a physician) or to promote exercise to non-athletes. This thesis provides all the necessary steps to explain the high-level details of highly immersive applications while providing a future-path for human-subject experiments. Item Open AccessPractical aspects of designing and developing a multimodal embodied agent(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2021) Bangar, Rahul, author; Beveridge, Ross, advisor; Ortega, Francisco R., advisor; Peterson, Christopher, committee memberThis thesis reviews key elements that went into the design and construction of the CSU CwC Embodied agent, also known as the Diana System. The Diana System has been developed over five years by a joint team of researchers at three institutions – Colorado State University, Brandeis University and the University of Florida. Over that time, I contributed to this overall effort and in this thesis, I present a practical review of key elements involved in designing and constructing the system. Particular attention is paid to Diana's multimodal capabilities that engage asynchronously and concurrently to support realistic interactions with the user. Diana can communicate in visual as well as auditory modalities. She can understand a variety of hand gestures for object manipulation, deixis, etc. and can gesture in return. Diana can also hold a conversation with the user in spoken and/or written English. Gestures and speech are often at play simultaneously, supplementing and complementing each other. Diana conveys her attention through several non-verbal cues like slower blinking when inattentive, keeping her gaze on the subject of her attention, etc. Finally, her ability to express emotions with facial expressions adds another crucial human element to any user interaction with the system. Central to Diana's capabilities is a blackboard architecture coordinating a hierarchy of modular components, each controlling a part of Diana's perceptual, cognitive, and motor abilities. The modular design facilitates contributions from multiple disciplines, namely VoxSim/VoxML with Text-to-speech/Automatic Speech Recognition systems for natural language understanding, deep neural networks for gesture recognition, 3D computer animation systems, etc. – all integrated within the Unity game engine to create an embodied, intelligent agent that is Diana. The primary contribution of this thesis is to provide a detailed explanation of Diana's internal working along with a thorough background of the research that supports these technologies. Item Open AccessThe impact of referent display on interaction proposals during multimodal elicitation studies(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2021) Williams, Adam S., author; Ortega, Francisco R., advisor; Beveridge, Ross, committee member; Sharp, Julia, committee memberElicitation studies have become a popular method of participatory design. While traditionally used for finding unimodal gesture-based inputs elicitation has been increasingly used for deriving multimodal interaction techniques. This is concerning as there has been no work that examines how well elicitation methods transfer from unimodal gesture use to multimodal combinations of inputs. This work details a comparison between two elicitation studies that were similar in design apart from the way participants were prompted for interaction proposals. Referents (e.g., commands to be executed) were shown as either text or animations. Interaction proposals for speech, gesture, and gesture+speech input modalities were elicited. Based on the comparison of these studies and other existing elicitation studies the concern of referent display priming uses proposed interaction techniques is brought to light. The results from these elicitation studies were not reproduced. Gesture proposals were the least impacted. With high similarity in the overall proposal space. Speech was biased to have proposals imitating the text as displayed an average of 69.36%. The time between gesture and speech initiation in multimodal use was 166.51% longer when prompted with text. The second contribution of this work is a consensus set of mid-air gesture inputs for use with generic object manipulations in augmented reality environments. This consensus set was derived from the elicitation study that used text-based referent displays which were found to be less biasing on participant gesture production than the animated referents. Item Open AccessUnderstanding user interactions in stereoscopic head-mounted displays(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2022) Williams, Adam S., author; Ortega, Francisco R., advisor; Beveridge, Ross, committee member; Gersch, Joe, committee member; Sharp, Julia, committee memberInteracting in stereoscopic head mounted displays can be difficult. There are not yet clear standards for how interactions in these environments should be performed. In virtual reality there are a number of well designed interaction techniques; however, augmented reality interaction techniques still need to be improved before they can be easily used. This dissertation covers work done towards understanding how users navigate and interact with virtual environments that are displayed in stereoscopic head-mounted displays. With this understanding, existing techniques from virtual reality devices can be transferred to augmented reality where appropriate, and where that is not the case, new interaction techniques can be developed. This work begins by observing how participants interact with virtual content using gesture alone, speech alone, and the combination of gesture+speech during a basic object manipulation task in augmented reality. Later, a complex 3-dimensional data-exploration environment is developed and refined. That environment is capable of being used in both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), either asynchronously or simultaneously. The process of iteratively designing that system and the design choices made during its implementation are provided for future researchers working on complex systems. This dissertation concludes with a comparison of user interactions and navigation in that complex environment when using either an augmented or virtual reality display. That comparison contributes new knowledge on how people perform object manipulations between the two devices. When viewing 3D visualizations, users will need to feel able to navigate the environment. Without careful attention to proper interaction technique design, people may struggle to use the developed system. These struggles may range from a system that is uncomfortable and not fit for long-term use, or they could be as major as causing new users to not being able to interact in these environments at all. Getting the interactions right for AR and VR environments is a step towards facilitating their widespread acceptance. This dissertation provides the groundwork needed to start designing interaction techniques around how people utilize their personal space, virtual space, body, tools, and feedback systems. Item Open AccessUsing gender swap in virtual reality for increasing empathy against stereotype threats(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2020) Borhani, Zahra, author; Ortega, Francisco R., advisor; Beveridge, J. Ross, committee member; Clegg, Benjamin A., committee memberThe stereotypes associated with women in computer science are potential barriers that prevent female students from developing an interest in this field. This problem persists when attempting to establish a career after graduating. This project shows a tool that potentially increases empathy using avatar gender-swap in a virtual reality setting that simulates a job interview experience. The virtual environment includes two avatars, one for the interviewee and one for the interviewer. The objective is to understand the effects of virtual embodiment and the potential to increase empathy towards the opposite sex by participating in a job interview task simulated in virtual reality when the avatar gender is swapped. The participants should perform a job interview task under three different conditions, microaggression stereotype threat, direct stereotype threat, and no threat. This thesis will showcase all the necessary tools required to accomplish this goal and provide a path forward for a user experiment.