Think virtual reality is only for humans? Think again. Researchers are increasingly turning to virtual reality to perform tests that would otherwise be impossible by traditional means. Case in point: recently Mikko Vähäsöyrinki, a physicist at the University of Oulu in Finland, led a team which used a virtual reality setup to trick a cockroach into thinking that it was running around a real environment when in reality it was actually remaining entirely stationary.
Archive for April, 2012
I have to say that this brief story, just 205 words long, might be on of the most concise emotional stories I’ve ever read. In so few words, the author has managed to touch on the disruptive potential of virtual reality, the fear of losing loved ones, and the emotions surrounding one’s own death. More impressively, perhaps, this story isn’t out of a short-story contest or anything like that. It was simply a comment written on the popular site Reddit by user cultured_bannana_slug:
A quick correction to a story I posted the other day about Valve working on wearable computer R&D. The tail end of that story included a snippet about reports of Apple CEO Tim Cook visiting the esteemed game developer. The record has been set straight by the head of Valve, Gabe Newell, who cleared things up on the Seven Day Cooldown podcast:
Innovega is a Washington-based company that’s working on contact lenses that use filters to allow the eye to simultaneously focus on objects at varying distances. The development could help make augmented reality a practicality by greatly reducing the bulk of HMD and augmented reality displays. Instead of using bulky optics to focus the light appropriately before it enters the eye, Innovega’s ‘iOptik‘ solution uses a contact lens with a polarized filter to send the augmented display overlay to a discrete part of the eye without obscuring the real scene behind the display. This technique allows the eye to simultaneously focus on the augmented information and the real world at the same time. Innovega explains how the iOptik solution works in this demonstration video:
Big news for the VR world fresh from of one of the biggest names in gaming. In a post to his Valve-hosted blog, employee Michael Abrash says that since joining Valve hes begun working on augmented reality / wearable computer research. Abrash says that he’s long been fascinated by the topic of virtual reality — ever since reading the novel Snow Crash in 1994.
Valve, who has developed critically acclaimed gaming franchises such as Half-Life and Portal (not to mention the hugely popular Steam digital game distribution service), is one of the biggest names in gaming. That they are publicly admitting to doing R&D for wearable computing / augmented reality is a very encouraging step forward down the road to virtual reality. Abrash, like myself, is confident that wearable computing is a natural an inevitable evolution of human-computer interaction:
Last week Google announced it’s Project Glass concept, a head mounted display and AR software aimed toward making augmented reality a practicality for mainstream use. With a big announcement such as that, it didn’t take long for the parody videos to start rolling in. Here’s two great videos poking fun at Google Glass:
Google Announces Project Glass, Wants to Bring Augmented Reality and Wearable Computing to the Masses [video]
Augmented reality just got a huge boost today thanks to Google who announced an experimental project that they’re calling ‘Glass’. Project Glass has apparently been in the works at Google[x] (Google’s experimental project group) for some time now. The project consists of a lightweight head mounted display which appears to be based on projection technology similar to that of Lumous’ Optical Engine Modules. But the hardware is only half the project, the other half is the software (Google hasn’t named it yet, but let’s call it Glass OS for now) which will power the HMD. I have to imagine that the Glass OS will be Android based, or even more likely, the HMD will link to an Android-powered phone and Glass OS will merely be an extension of the phone.
With Project Glass Google envisions an augmented reality setup that would allow you to check the weather, see your email, SMS, and other notifications, check your calendar, etc. all from a simple and intuitive interface that stays out of the way when you don’t need it. Google threw together a proof-of-concept video for Project Glass which you can see right here: