For the present, however, it is believed that efforts with the highest payoff relevant to the education domain will be those that are directed toward the general development of improved technology, toward alteration of the relevant social, political, and economic infrastructure, and toward influencing the entertainment industry to include programs, activities, systems, and facilities in the soon-to-be upgraded interactive home entertainment centers that have increased educational value. To the extent that the introduction of improved communication technology that links students and teachers (and parents) at disparate locations can help improve the current educational infrastructure as well as directly improve the quality of education, the committee would strongly support such an effort.
The information visualization and the telecommunication and teletravel domains are not assigned priority for a number of reasons. Paramount among them, and consistent with their cross-cutting characteristics, is that work in the specified priority domains will necessarily include work in these domains as well. Thus, for example, work in design, manufacturing, and marketing as well as medicine and health care will necessarily include work on information visualization. Similarly, work on hazardous operations and training will necessarily involve work on telecommunication and teletravel. An additional reason for denying the information visualization domain priority is the fact that work in the area of scientific visualization using VE is already quite active. Thus we did not feel that this domain deserved a high score on the leverage criteria.
Although equivalent remarks could be made about the cross-cutting nature of the training domain—that is, applications of SE technology to training will occur in connection with each of the other high-priority domains—training was judged to be so important and the potential for achieving substantially improved cost-effectiveness in training so great, that it retained a priority rating.
RECOMMENDATION: The committee recommends two projects for special attention: (1) modeling the human body for purposes of medical education, surgical planning, and providing explanations of procedures and outcomes to patients and (2) studying the transfer of knowledge and skill gained in training in a VE to performance in a real-world task environment.
Modeling the human body is required for many of the VE applications considered within the general domain of medicine and health care. For example, within the subdomain of surgery, physical models of various