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GoatLord

Virtual reality concept

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I find it interesting that "virutal reality," a term that is some three decades old, has yet to find its way into the mainstream. Attempts to create virtual reality consoles have been disastrous (such as the Virtual Boy) or have resulted in a new form of interaction (such as so-called "augmented reality"). So what's the problem? Why hasn't it worked? And how long will we have to wait until we're all wearing dorky helmets and swinging our gloved hands around?

If you ask me, that's the wrong way to approach virtual reality. It's crude and clunky. I think a more practical solution would involve wearing a paper-thin visor and nothing else. This visor would beam its interface directly into your eyes, and your thoughts and pupil movements would take the place of a mouse and keyboard, and even touch screen interaction. You would access the game from a massive tree representing all accessible data, a tree that would morph and contort as you made different decisions.

The game would be played by tracking your pupil movements, responding to speech recognition and gesturing, and understanding thought-based commands. Some of your nerve endings would be manipulated by the visor, allowing you to experience a sense of pressure as you physically interact with the environment. Whether bumping into a wall, fighting an opponent or driving a car, your nerves would be manipulated into feeling small amounts of pressure to represent solidity, although you would never experience actual pain or discomfort.

I think that if virtual reality were done in this manner, it would do away with the hazards of walking around blindly and knocking things over, as well as the headaches caused by large clunky equipment. However, it may prove dangerous to beam images directly into the eye for long periods, and I'm sure there's something unhealthy about manipulating the nerves.

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GoatLord said:

your nerves would be manipulated into feeling small amounts of pressure to represent solidity, although you would never experience actual pain or discomfort.

If we're talking about virtual reality here and not just simulation, they'd better make it so you feel pain and discomfort.

Still, I think that just a direct interface to the brain is a better idea. That way, one could directly affect the player's experience, and make it closer to true virtual reality, not just some simulation with a visor or whatever.

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GoatLord said:

If you ask me, that's the wrong way to approach virtual reality. It's crude and clunky. I think a more practical solution would involve wearing a paper-thin visor and nothing else. This visor would beam its interface directly into your eyes, and your thoughts and pupil movements would take the place of a mouse and keyboard, and even touch screen interaction.


Yeah, obviously. It's so amazingly simple I don't know why I haven't thought of it! You, GoatLord, are a true genius.

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I remember when "virtual reality" used to scare the general population. "They're trying to control your mind, now hurry up and get to church."

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magicsofa said:

Yeah, obviously. It's so amazingly simple I don't know why I haven't thought of it! You, GoatLord, are a true genius.


Well, in a sense, it is amazingly simple because the actual hardware would be nothing more than a pair of shades.

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GoatLord said:

Well, in a sense, it is amazingly simple because the actual hardware would be nothing more than a pair of shades.

I insist this is far more along the lines of simulation than virtual reality. To me, direct neural interfaces seem to be the only true way to experience an artificial reality. Anything else is just simulation, as we aren't directly experiencing it, only indirectly.

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Sodaholic said:

If we're talking about virtual reality here and not just simulation, they'd better make it so you feel pain and discomfort.


Count me out... have enough pain and discomfort in normal reality and it's overrated. Bleagh.

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GoatLord said:

If you ask me, that's the wrong way to approach virtual reality. It's crude and clunky. I think a more practical solution would involve wearing a paper-thin visor and nothing else. This visor would beam its interface directly into your eyes, and your thoughts and pupil movements would take the place of a mouse and keyboard, and even touch screen interaction.


In summary: "you're doing it wrong! Invent magical Star Trek technology and everything will be better!" Right. We'll just do that then. Clearly computer engineers just weren't inspired enough to invent cheap retina-writing displays because they thought wearing huge head-tracking helmets was better!

The pay-off from wearing stuff on your head and using eye/head tracking software still isn't there. It also has the disadvantage of you needing to duplicate the display or use extra hardware if more people want to view what you're doing.

The notion of direct brain interfaces is always a fun idea too, but is still so far into the realm of sci-fi that I don't ever spend much time thinking about it. In the mean time, my brain seems to have an excellent ability to generate virtual worlds with incredible realism, so I think I'll work on lucid dreaming more often.

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Sodaholic said:

If we're talking about virtual reality here and not just simulation, they'd better make it so you feel pain and discomfort.

Still, I think that just a direct interface to the brain is a better idea. That way, one could directly affect the player's experience, and make it closer to true virtual reality, not just some simulation with a visor or whatever.

Implantable interfaces and direct neural stimulation would seem to be the way to go, though it'd need to be 100% hacker-proof and have no CIA backdoor before I'd let it under my skin.

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Offtopic question, sort of: am I the only one who hears a guy screaming "the Singularity is near!", assorted with frantic arm waving, everytime I read one of GoatLord's posts?

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GoatLord said:

Well, in a sense, it is amazingly simple because the actual hardware would be nothing more than a pair of shades.


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I've actually been wondering myself for a while. The old VR helmets weighed a ton and had to be plugged in with irritating-feeling cables, but now we have...
-Motion sensors that actually work properly, and quickly! (Wiimote)
-High resolution, bright, small monitors that don't weigh a ton (Mobile phones)
-"Surround sound" earphones are more affordable than they once were due to every twat doing "media studies" and trying to become the next Spielberg with thier "zombies and 4chan memes" 10-minute epic
-That 3D stuff with polarised lenses rather than red and green.
-Long-lasting Li-Ion batteries that don't weigh much and can power such devices (another legacy from phones)
Awesome VR games shouldn't actually be too hard to create if you stick all that together. Imagine driving in GT5 and being able to "really" look around you as you drive to see other cars coming up, use the mirrors, hear the engine noise, transmission and gear changes etc all coming from where they ought.

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Phml said:

Offtopic question, sort of: am I the only one who hears a guy screaming "the Singularity is near!", assorted with frantic arm waving, everytime I read one of GoatLord's posts?


I think I AM that guy screaming "The Singularity is near!" I have conversations with myself several times a week in which I analyze emerging technologies. Anyway, what exactly would a direct nueral interface consist of? My idea of wearing shades that do everything is obviously not the only solution. I'd like to hear more on what it would mean to have a neural interface.

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The old goggle headset concept of virtual reality is too clunky to be anything more than a gimmick. True virtual reality would have to involve some sort of neural implant that tricks your brain into thinking you're actually experiencing what you are. Honestly, that would be way too far for me to go for a game. Considering we live in an age of Kinects and the like, I think that's as close as we need to get.

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Mr. T said:

They Live

Jesus, I just watched this yesterday! Talk about coincidences... Or, is it possible that there are no coincidences?

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Danarchy said:

The old goggle headset concept of virtual reality is too clunky to be anything more than a gimmick. True virtual reality would have to involve some sort of neural implant that tricks your brain into thinking you're actually experiencing what you are. Honestly, that would be way too far for me to go for a game. Considering we live in an age of Kinects and the like, I think that's as close as we need to get.


Well, if the goggles/shades/visors beam an image directly into your eyes, and use wireless, nano-scale connections to connect to your nuerons, would that not be the same thing?

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GoatLord said:

Well, if the goggles/shades/visors beam an image directly into your eyes, and use wireless, nano-scale connections to connect to your nuerons, would that not be the same thing?

That's quite a bit less feasible, though. The technology for neural interface already exists.

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