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The daily experiences of professionals who work chiefly at desks and tables have become the basis for modeling human-computer interaction. The scientific visualization process particularly benefits from special human-computer interfaces that support such things as walk-through experiences and virtual object manipulation. In a departure from systems that focus on immersing the user in a virtual environment, the Responsive Workbench has a user-centered, task-driven point of view and--with its computer-connected sensors and reaction devices--is a responsive environment. While specifically examining the working environments of physicians, automotive engineers, and architects, the authors explain the workbench design, hardware and software tool implementations, and some application experiences. Applications determined to be particularly amenable to Responsive Workbench development included medical education and body process representation; dynamic simulations for automotive design, specifically the virtual windtunnel and a mixing process; and landscape and environmental planning. The authors describe results and how they adapted the workbench to each discipline. In all applications, the most important and natural manipulation tool for virtual environments is the user's hand. The Responsive Workbench environment depends on the actual hand, not a computer-generated representation. The user wears a glove device with a Polhemus sensor mounted on the back. The authors list common problems that the workbench shares with other virtual environments and identify sample solutions. They also define areas for future Responsive Workbench development.

W. Strauss, G. Wesche, W. Krüger, B. Fröhlich, H. Schüth and C. Bohn, "The Responsive Workbench: A Virtual Work Environment," in Computer, vol. 28, no. , pp. 42-48, 1995.
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