Maria C. R. Harrington Ph.D. is an American information scientist and artist. Research focus is on Virtual Nature, and the 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.
The Harrington Lab at UCF investigates Virtual Nature, using AR and VR as a technical artifact, to better understand perceptual phenomenon as it relates to human-computing-environment interactions that cause emotional, learning, and aesthetic outcomes. The lab is highly collaborative with several active multidisciplinary partnerships. Efforts focus on extending prior work in the development of Simulated Ecological Environments for Education (SEEE) used for research and art. The lab is under the direction of Dr. Harrington at the University of Central Florida.
Artwork based on the visualizations have been professionally shown, and sold to private collectors. Such immersive artistic experiences offer new forms of art in culture, and new perspectives of reality to the viewer. Art, especially as an expression of a society’s culture of that time, technology, and economy, is a total accumulation of knowledge, values, and beliefs of that society, and is partially expressed today in our computer digital media artifacts, such as virtual nature models in AR and VR. These virtual nature works hint at the powerful connection between art, landscapes, and the human experience as a relationship to the land.
Professional experience includes project/product management, risk management, real time financial decision support systems, strategic information systems, C3I system design, economic and marketing forecasting, real time visualization systems, human-computer interaction, and human factors analysis and design activities for global corporations and institutions such as: PNC Financial Services Group, The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Fidelity Investments, University of Toronto, Alias/Wavefront-Autodesk, DataViews–GE Fanuc, and Federated Investors.