The future holds great promise for the virtual humans who will populate our virtual worlds. They will provide economic benefits by helping designers early in the product design phases to produce more human-centered vehicles, equipment, assembly lines, manufacturing plants, and interactive systems. Virtual humans will enhance the presentation of information through training aids, virtual experiences, and even teaching and mentoring. And Virtual humans will help save lives by providing surrogates for medical training, surgical planning, and remote telemedicine. They will be our avatars on the Internet and will portray ourselves to others, perhaps as we are or perhaps as we wish to be. They may help turn cyberspace into a real, or rather virtual, community.
The many students, staff, and colleagues in the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation make this effort possible. In particular, special thanks go to Diane Chi, Rama Bindiganavale, Sean Sheridan, Ken Noble, and Bond-Jay Ting for the illustrations.
This research is partially supported by DARPA DAMD17-94-J-4486; U.S. Air Force DEPTH through Hughes Missile Systems F33615-91-C-0001; U.S. Air Force through BBN F33615-91-D-0009/0008; U.S. Air Force DAAH04-95-1-0151; DMSO DAAH04-94-G-0402; ONR through Univ. of Houston K-5-55043/3916-1552793; ARO DURIP DAAH04-95-1-0023; DARPA SB-MDA-97-2951001 through the Franklin Institute; Army AASERT DAAH04-94-G-0220; DARPA AASERT DAAH04-94-G-0362; NSF IRI95-04372; National Library of Medicine N01LM-43551; National Institute of Standards and Technology 60 NANB6D0149; and JustSystem Japan.