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