Dr. Hunter with "RoboThespian,"
a research robot at IST
Professor Keith Hunter visited the Institute
for Simulation and Training (IST) at the University of Central Florida in August to take part
in a day of immersive simulation experiences. Dr. Hunter was invited to
participate by Dr. Charles Hughes, the director of the IST’s Synthetic Reality Lab (SREAL), who is a former professor of Dr.
Hunter’s. The immersive simulation day was attended by a range of scholars and graduate students from various institutions.
the SREAL lab, Dr. Hunter experimented with TLE TeachLive, a
mixed-reality teaching environment designed to train teachers in pedagogical
techniques, rhetoric and content. The virtual reality classroom displays avatar
students whose voices, questions, comments and nonverbal expressions span a broad
range of student behavioral types. The challenging immersive simulation teaches
people to combine their specialized knowledge of their field with the necessary
pedagogical skills and unpredictable factors of human behavior.
like this provide a great opportunity for me to extend the reach of USF,” said
Dr. Hunter, “and to stay abreast of the latest technological innovations that
affect the way humans interface with digital media, increasingly smarter
machines, and virtual work environments.”
Hunter also spent time with IST’s “RoboThespian,” a robot the lab uses to
explore control of mobile robots in remote environments. “The scholars,
research faculty and doctoral students present discussed fascinating
engineering challenges they face,” said Dr. Hunter.
Hunter, a doctor of organizational behavior and management, says it is
essential for educators to understand the models people make of the world
around them. “Cutting edge technology is changing the future of education,” he
said, “and these scholars are literally engineering the way humans experience
worlds both real and artificial. Some people may wonder why an organizational
behavior scholar like me would want to hang out with robots and avatars, but
it’s no mystery to me. Places like IST are revolutionizing the way we build
immersive learning environments and operate in virtual teams by drawing not
only from engineering disciplines but also from the social and behavioral