Better Than Being There

Linking real and virtual worlds

Personal travel, by private car and jet airliner, accounts for a significant proportion (~35%) of the total energy consumption per capita in the developed world. Almost all of this travel consumes fossil fuels and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas production. We need to be able to design better systems for people to communicate with one another, to “be” somewhere else, essentially to make frequent personal travel less necessary, whether for work, social or recreational activities. Rather than simply adapting existing technology, the Better Than Being There project (BT2) aims at setting a research agenda which will lead to the effective implementation of viable and appealing alternatives to personal travel.

  • One thread of this project draws on the imaginations of science fiction writers who have envisaged systems for teleportation and time travel, with the aim of improving the interface and experience of virtual presence.
  • A second thread is examining the use of virtual worlds for conferences and meetings, and the linking of real and virtual worlds to provide a better experience for such video conferencing.