Friday, December 07, 2001

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know -
About Virtual Reality!



Virtual Reality Causes Motion Sickness

Though this was a very short article, I found it extremely interesting! Basically, in the Computer Weekly article, outlined the results of a research project showing the prevalence of motion sickness in those who used the technology. During their experiment, 221 people were “visually immersed in a virtual factory full of health hazards.” As many as 70% of the subjects experienced motion sickness as a result. While most of the time the motion sickness passed quickly within 10 minutes, 7% of the participants actually had to drop out of the experiment within the first 20 minutes of the experiment that was actually an hour long. Not only was I surprised by these statistics, but also by the fact that the people who suffered most were those that were already prone to migrane headaches, travel sickness, and, most surprisingly, had a “distrust of virtual reality technology.” To me, this article signifies that perhaps what we speak of as “virtual” reality is actually more “real” to our brains than we previously thought.

Getting the Feeling of Virtual Surgery

In this 1999 Computer Graphics World article, the author describes new technology that has been developed to help train plastic surgeons in the craft. The simulation virtual reality software utilizes “real-time interaction with complex 3D datasets, photorealistic visualization, and haptic (force-feedback) modeling.” In other words, it’s as real as it gets! And because the application of the software is primarily geared for medicine, the need for it to be accurate and highly complex is great. Now one obvious advantage to the “virtual” surgery is that it will give surgeons-in-training time to develop their skills before actually performing the surgery in real life. In addition, the program can be used to measure the skill level of experts in relation to novices, and in turn be a gauge to provide the novice with constructive feedback as to his areas of strength and weakness. I found this particular technology incredible fascinating because of its shear applicability. Whereas most virtual simulations seem to me to be a waste of time and resources—not to mention missing out on the “real thing,” I think that the development of this type of virtual technologies is extremely useful not only in the area of medicine but also in other professional fields.

The Web's a 3-D World After All


Another Reality Now is Priced Under $100,000

This article focuses primarily on Evans & Sutherland's newest virtual reality technology. Their "personal simulation" device enables the author to participate in a virtual hang-glide through a simulated Gotham City. The very real experience is accomplished through providing real-time, textured, three-dimensionl graphics at the standards video speed of 30 frames per second. However, this simulation device is not very accessible to all, as the cost is just under $100,000. The cost might be warranted, though, as the manufacturer is the maker of many flight simulators used to train pilots. Given that the article was describing technologies in 1993, though, such quality could be acheived through most video games of today - which, by the way, cost a lot less. More than anything, it is interesting to me to see how much of thei virtual reality software began.

3-D Gets Real

Virtual Reality Headset


Army enlists Hollywood for some training help

In this 2001 article in "Government Computer News," author Dennis Blank shows how the military is turning to high-tech movie expertise to make interactive training more realistic. The most interesting tidbit in this article was the Army awarded a 5-year, $45 million contract at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California for development of computer-based virtual-reality programs. I had no idea of that our creative technologies institute had such esteem, or that our school had any contracts with the US Army. Furthermore, the ICT is planning on developing artifical intelligence to create digital character simulations for interactive mission scenarios and to launch systems that engage sound, sight, taste, and smell. The plan on producing PS-based, Interner-connected games with teaching goals and a simulates mission-rehearsal exercise. Wow!

Virtual Trends
0_A19075743&dyn=18!xrn_3_0_A19075743?sw_aep=usocal_mainVR Aids Pilots


<i>Was it Virtually Good for You? Sex: The best lovemaking of your life is just a few nanobots and bodysuits away

Well the title of this article says it all—the reality of virtual sex is definitely on the horizon. But what is most interesting in this article to me is that the author considers the implications this sexual aspect of virtual reality can cause. The author Yahlin Chang begins by stating that the technology will allow you to have “better” sex than ever and never go without your fantasies fulfilled. You could even change the appearance/gender of your lover while you’re making love—but, cautions, Chang, they could be doing the same thing to you. The reflexivity present in this observation is also present throughout the article. Chang considers the future of monogamous relationships in a world of “virtual business trips” and such. Will couples be able to maintain trust and monogamy in a virtual world of temptation without repercussions? Scientists in the field are predicting that by 2029, the nanotechnology that exists today will have produced “nanobots,” which after being swallowed, “will take up residence in the capillaries of our brains and will provide us with completely convincing, all-encompassing virtual environments.” Wow! To finish it off, the author closes with an entirely witty argument by stating that by this point in the future, REAL sex will be so difficult to come by that it will be even more exotic and….sexy!

~ I hope these article increase your understanding of a few different areas of virtual reality!
Ashley Dawn Harvel 12/7/01

Monday, November 19, 2001

Love in the Age of Cybersex - Journal #3

One topic of communication technologies that is on the rise is the concept virtual reality, and more specifically, of “Cyber sex.” In a World Press Review article in April of 1994 entitled “Love in the age of cyber-sex,” they address many concepts relating to the future of sex. Of these mentioned are the idea of a sensation suit and the movement towards being more like a cyborg and less like a human.

More specifically, at the time this article was written, Macintosh had come out with a program called Cybersex. Two participants, referred to as “Philip” and “Carole” took part in an experiment to try out the new cyber sex tools.

The virtual lovers, if you will, put on their “data”, or “sensation” suits, which were equipped with an array of bio-sensors to communicate various sensations that stimulate the body. The suit covers erogenous zones and is connected to countless fibers that carry electricity—3.5 volts worth! The two lovers watch virtual characters on a large screen at each of their secluded occasions and are able to stimulate and tease one another through the click of a mouse.

At the conclusion of the experiment, the participants expressed a bit of a disappointment—“I thought virtual sex would be something different,” said Philip. However, the technology mentioned, which was written about in 1994, has obviously experiences many changes and advancements. At the time it was written, experts were predicting helmets would take the place of the large screen and admitted that more accurate representations of humans were ahead in the future.

At first I though the experiment would be interesting, but once I read further and realized that the suits has a long way to go before they’d be fully-functioning, I found it somewhat comical. In analyzing the technology along terms with what we have discussed in class, it seems to me that the concept of a “sensation suit” itself represents a move towards a culture of simulation. I do fear, that in the event that this technology really and truly is able to take off, that users will experience the “crocodile effect,” and sex between two humans will no longer be satisfying. This could alse result in the loss of F-T-F Interactions as lovers rely on the web for this nighttime activities. Instead, humans will crave the ultimate experience that is not possible in real life. For many, it is quite possible that this virtual environment will allow them to experience their greatest sexual fantasies that might not happen in real life. However, I’m sure there are sure people out there that agree that “physical” sex should be the way of the future, and that no cyber rendition of the act could ever compete with the real thing.

~ Ashley Dawn Harvel

Article can be found at:
Simenc, Christian and Paul Loubiere. “Love in the Age of cybersex.” World Press
Review. April 1994: 40!ar_fmt?sw_aep=usocal_main

Thursday, October 11, 2001

Internet Communication

Where would I be without the Internet? It’s a scary thought!

For starters, I have a long-distance relationship, and conversing through the Internet is a vital part of our communication. Thought it doesn’t quite take the place of phone calls, utilizing Instant Messenger and E-mail is a great way that Travis and I are able to keep in contact with one another. On the surface, level, communicating via the Internet is much more cost-effective than phone bills. It is also useful because of the three-hour time difference between New York and California – Travis is much more apt to send me an email at three in the morning California time than call me at that hour. In addition, this situation is exaggerated by the fact that Travis attends a Military Academy, and this virtual technology makes communication easier.

Romantic relationship aside, being able to talk via the Internet have affected my communication with other people as well. I am often home late and up early, and as a result it is easier for my family members, parents, grandparents, etc. to reach me via e-mail. This way I can return their message at my convenience and visa versa. Because of this exchange I am able to keep in touch with more people than ever.

A lot of my communication is done virtually, but it is definitely not exclusive. I’m a very verbal person and I’d rather talk to someone if I can. In other words, having the Internet definitely helps me keep in contact with more people, but I still love to talk in real-time when time allows.

In school, the virtual communication is a life-saver. I can reach my teachers to ask questions at all hours, and even look up course announcements, changes, assignments, etc. online. Once perhaps a luxury, this type of communication is vital for today’s student, and I personally know that it has saved me many times when trying to complete an assignment, finish an essay, or even cram for an exam.

Applying this evaluation to my work environment, I would have to say that the only change has been that it is easier to communicate with my boss, co-workers, etc. by utilizing e-mail. This mode of communication is especially useful in the workplace when we are able to reply when time allows.

Overall I have really come to enjoy using the Internet for my communication needs. It is definitely a convenience I have come to enjoy and expect and also one that I would miss if it were gone.
~ Ashley Dawn Harvel 10.10.01

Friday, September 28, 2001

In an article entitled “Virtual Wite-Out,” author Barb Palser critiques erroneous publications of Internet news sources. These “web sites need to think about how they fix their mistakes.” < >

“Corrections page? That’s for chumps” chimes Palser in the opening sentence of her article “Virtual Wite-Out.” This highly relevant observation is poking fun at recent trends on the web to either blatantly ignore or haphazardly correctly their online mistakes, particularly in the area of news reporting.
Palser observes that while newspapers and other modes of print media rely on corrections pages to cover for their printing errors, this is a practice completely unheard of on the web. Even Palser agrees that a “corrections” page won’t really work on the net. However every one is surprised that a story can be posted with numerous errors at first, and within a few hours been morphed into a very different article. Those who read the original mistake-ridden version will never know that their version was tainted.
This brings about very unique problem. Since the American community is based largely on the sharing of information, someone that quotes or re-prints information found in erroneous publications will never know that their source was tainted. It is true that these types of misquoting occur with regular print publications, the fact that information is exchanged on a rapid-fire basis through the Internet inflates the problem even greater.
Palser’s observations tie in neatly with the concepts of Hard versus Soft mastery as outlined in Turkle’s “The Triumph of Tinkering.” While hard and soft mastery can be reflected in different means on the web, a broader notion of computers and the Internet in general hints at a “culture of simulation.” This type of culture views computers as “fluid simulation surfaces.” Indeed as is seen by the examples of reporting on the web and correcting via “revising” web print, the internet news world is one that is rapidly morphing and changing every second. For example, an article viewed at nine in the morning may have been subjected to substantial editing and revision by ten in the morning.
This idea of Internet “wite-out” should be a concern of every web surfer and student alike. Surely news authorities should make some sort of effort at verifying the credibility of their internet news breaks as well as provide an assessable forum for addressing misprinting and important changes. Just what should be done to address this technical problem is frankly beyond me. Palser had constructive ideas regarding “Updates” and “Corrections” functions. However they are not being widely used by the Internet news world. Regardless of the current state of information on the web, I think society would echo in agreement that something must be done to regulate the authenticity of information from news authorities that we as citizens trust and rely upon for the latest news around the world and across the Web.
- Ashley Dawn Harvel 9~28~01