Virtual Nature as an Immersive Digital Twin and the Design Methods, Processes, and Educational Applications by Dr. Maria C. R. Harrington

Abstract: Two immersive virtual nature applications will be presented. One a virtual reality (VR) digital twin of the real UCF Arboretum and the other an augmented reality (AR) app used to visualize data of two woodland scenarios. The AR app was used in an immersive, multimodal, interactive informal learning research study at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The entire design production and evaluation process will be presented. The methods of constructing AR and VR ready plant models and visualizing them from plant population ESRI GIS datasets in Unreal Engine will be covered in detail. The iterative Expert-Learner-User-Experience design process used to build both products will be presented as well as the evaluation and learning outcomes from the study.   

Bio: Maria C. R. Harrington Ph.D. is an American information scientist and artist. Research focus is on aesthetics in the perceptual ambient array and information science theory as it relates to reality and beauty found in natural environments using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), GIS simulations, and new media art to explore the phenomena of human reactions. Such tools are used to investigate human interaction of real-virtual environments and impacts on perception, learning, health, and creativity. Such systems influence scientific, human, social, and cultural transformations. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida, director of The Harrington Lab, and has consulted on projects using AR and VR with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Website 


11 a.m. to Noon April 1, 2022