Tagged: Virtual-Reality

Hamsters Are Gamers, Humans Are Pacman

Check out this video of a game called Metazoa Ludens that you and your hamster can play together. The hamsters apparently dig it. (There’s also a PC World story with more details.) It’s a bit like Mice Arena, only perhaps not quite as much fun, since in Metazoa Ludens your avatar isn’t being chased by a giant rodent, as in Mice Arena. Still, it’s an interesting use of 3pointD-related technologies, and it comes from the cool Mixed Reality Lab in Singapore, who also brought us Human Pacman, which is possibly even cooler, and features full-on Rainbows End style “Head Mounted Displays” that show you the playing field in front of you, as below:

Head-mounted display view of Human Pacman

SXSW Xcript: Where the F is Mapping Now?

Dan Catt’s mapping panel was a very cool session that was difficult to synthesize at the speed it went by, but I think I got most of what the panelists said. All very 3pointD.

Moderator: Rev. Dan Catt, from Geobloggers.com and Flickr
Tom Carden from Random Etc.
Aaron Straup Cope from Flickr
Jerry Paffendorf from the Electric Sheep Company
Ian White from Urban Mapping Inc.

Catt first asked everyone without laptops to stand up and shake their hands in front of them in order to wake up, then groan quietly like a zombie, then louder than the person next to you. Two questions before you sit down: Who objects to swearing, say boo. Those who don’t object to swearing, say Fuck Yeah. (You can imagine which was louder.)

Cope talked about how we tell where things are. Shows a quote from Douglas Coupland’s Shampoo Planet. “History and geography are being thrown away.” Cope: This is wrong.

Cope: Geography helps set the stage for an experience, history gives an experience context and nuance. We have theselocation devices that tell you where things are. I could care less where the nearest Starbucks is. I don’r eally care about driving directions either. But if I’m at a place, I would love to be able to see what came before and have a sense of its history. Continue reading

A “NeuroNet” for Virtual Reality and Games?

Check out the International Association of Virtual Reality Technologies, which says it’s building something called a NeuroNet (announced in a press release today), that’s to be “a first generation network created specifically for the transmission of real-time, virtual reality (VR) and gaming data.” There doesn’t yet seem to be much to the organization, which bills itself as a kind of ICANN of virtual worlds, just a well made Web site, a few email addresses, a fax number and a mailing address in Vancouver. They don’t even provide a name of someone who’s heading the initiaitive. They’re holding a conference at the end of September (details to be announced in February) and they’re seeking advisory board members, but other than that, details are slim. The idea is well fleshed out on the site, however, and it’s an interesting one: to create a separate Internet-like network devoted to virtual worlds, virtual reality and gaming. But is this really something we need? Continue reading

Cyberia Rising: Autodesk Enters Second Life


At Tuesday morning’s opening session of Autodesk University 2006, CEO Carl Bass saved his best demo for last to present before a crowd of over 6000 Computer Aided Drafting and 3D modeling enthusiasts at the software maker’s largest annual event. While it had already been posted this past Sunday by corporate blogger Shaan Hurley, Bass’s unveiling of Autodesk Island in the online world of Second Life marks the day in history that the 800 pound gorilla of the CAD market brings its resources and user base to bear in its latest return to cyberspace, a term that reportedly it once attempted to trademark as its own.

Continue reading

What is Web 3D?

Avi Bar-Zeev is one of those guys who quietly works on making stuff happen. As co-founder of Keyhole Inc., he led the development of the software that later became Google Earth. Avi also did work for Linden Lab, developing the 3D rendering engine that runs the virtual world of Second Life. Avi’s latest effort is a thought experiment that seeks to flesh out the concept of Web 3D and how it might be brought about. In a 7-part series, he interviews a couple of Web 3D thinkers and ponders what Web 3D really is and whether we really need it at all. I’ve given it only a light read so far, so I’ll save any specific responses for a future “What is 3pointD?” post, but it’s good stuff, recommended reading for anyone interested in where 3pointD-related technologies may be headed. Nice work, Avi.

Vernor Vinge Paints the Future at AGC

Award-winning science fiction Vernor Vinge, speaking at the Austin Game Conference, gave his vision of a future in which connectivity was literally in the air around us. Author of Rainbows End most recently, Vinge painted a picture of ubiquitous connectivity similar to the one narrated in that novel. So well connected will we be, according to Vinge, that “post-human” capabilities will arise from groups of people networked together. “It will be a very glorious thing to be an early post-human artist,” Vinge said. “Virtually every aspect of purpose, faith and fantasy could have a constituency in such a world.” His vision was compelling, though it remains to be seen how quickly it will be realized, or whether the discrete functions Vinge described won’t more likely take fuzzier forms as they come about. Below a transcript of his remarks: Continue reading

After the Great Boredom: Gaming 3006

Go now and read this piece in Gamasutra to see how one the UK’s (or anywhere’s) best games journalists, Jim Rossignol, envisions gaming (and more) circa the year 3006. A taste:

Neuroscience has long been aware that the brain is little more than a pattern completion engine, so like all 31st century denizens I carry a personalised ludic pattern box, a handy device which produces generative gameworks——patterns that are suitable for my brain to complete on a subconscious level. I play the games without conscious reasoning——a vital exercise for the more strenuous activities I will later undertake. This kind of exercise is an aspect of ubiquitous gaming that goes unnoticed in 3006.

Actually, that hardly gives you the idea of the piece, which ranges across everything from singularity to some very post-3pointD ideas. But like I said at the beginning of this post, go. Now.

GM Designers Enter Virtual Cave

Glitchy sends along a press release from General Motors about a 3D virtual reality technology the company is using to design its new plants: “GM facility engineers can strap on special 3D goggles, step into a virtual cave, and see how a plant looks before the first piece of steel is put in place.” The technology, from a company called GHAFARI Associates, is not very metaversal (it doesn’t seem to be multi-user, let alone avatarized), but it’s an interesting example of a productive real-world application for a technology that doesn’t often get a useful rollout. Obviously, this kind of thing has been done before, but it doesn’t usually involve “virtual caves” and “3D goggles.” What will be interesting is when this kind of thing gets cheap enough for broad adoption, and when multi-user capabilities come in. That will summon shades of the Vernor Vinge book Rainbows End, which I finished a few days ago. Interesting read that I hope to post more about shortly. For now, though, it’s time to sweep out my virtual cave.

The Virtual Reality of Autodesk’s Carl Bass

VRoot flags an interesting story in The Economist, in which new Autodesk CEO Carl Bass pushes his own version of virtual reality. “It will be the ability ‘to experience’ a thing before it is built, says Mr Bass.” And in all five senses. Interesting to learn that Bass is a veteran crafter and builder (and Maker?). The article is a good look at the kind of thinking that may well lead to the 3pointD tools of the future.

VR Platform Seeks Suggestions

VR Juggler is a virtual reality platform I hadn’t heard of before, in development at the Virtual Reality Applications Center at Iowa State University. According to VRoot, the development team is seeking feedback and suggestions on how to improve its tool. Have a look, and see if you can come up with anything that might help.

Virtual Reality Room Getting Upgrade

Fakespace virtual reality room at Iowa State UniversityA “virtual reality room” at Iowa State University is getting an upgrade courtesy of Fakespace Systems, according to a press release. The room, which consists of full screens covering all four walls, the floor and the ceiling, is used for things like visualizing genetic data, developing tools to help engineers in decision-making, and as a control room for the military’s unmanned vehicles. Researchers are building “a virtual environment that allows operators to see the vehicles, the surrounding airspace, the terrain they’re flying over as well as information from instruments, cameras, radar and weapons systems. The system would allow a single operator to control many vehicles.” The room will cost more than $4 million to upgrade, and will feature a total of 100 million pixels on display.

Virtual Consciousness-Raising

Interactive virtual reality installation Beyond Manzanar

If you’re in New York or Washington over the next several weeks, you’ll have the chance to have your consciousness raised in 3D by an “interactive virtual reality installation” called Beyond Manzanar, created by Tamiko Thiel, who worked on Steven Spielberg’s Starbright World, and Iranian-American writer and multimedia artist Zara Houshmand. The show, whose title refers to a World War Two-era American internment camp for Japanese, plays on themes of xenophobia in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Center attacks of 2001. [Via Chris Carella.] Continue reading

VR Technology Showcase

The 3D lab and virtual reality lab at the University of Michigan are holding a week-long “virtual reality event” in conjunction with Sensics, Inc., makers of panoramic virtual-reality displays, according to a press release. The invitation-only event starts June 12, and is designed to showcase various VR technologies for comparison side-by-side. If you’re interested in attending, contact marketing@sensics.com or calling (410) 327-0822.

Mobile VR Glasses in Development

Philip Torrone's virtual reality headset
Philip Torrone’s virtual reality headset

Philip Torrone look out. SpatiaLight, which manufactures “ultra high-resolution Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) microdisplays for the high definition television market,” has a press release accouncing that it’s now developing “a 3-D eyeglass-type display device for use with wireless phones, personal digital assistants and personal media players, which enable the viewing of broadband content, cable and satellite television, music videos as well as playing of video games, all with the experience of high definition large screen television.” Imagine: instead of all the laptops at Starbucks, we’ll one day see a bunch of people logging into the virtual world via a hyper-powered Blackberry and their SpatiaLight VR glasses. I’m not sure I want to have a coffee in that particular Starbucks, but it sure could be a cool way to take your 3pointD on the road.

VR-Google Earth Mashup in the Conduit?

VRCO Inc. is a company that specializes in creating interactive 3D visual representations of various kinds. “VRCO’s business is immersive environments and we wish to enable as many applications as possible,” reads its Web site. A lot of its products seem to be middleware apps that allow other apps to communicate in 3D, or which translate between “flat” data into 3D representations. Now, Ogle Earth has posted a comment from VRCO senior software engineer Todd Yocum, in which Yocum describes his company as being “probably the closest there is to having GE in a Metaverse at the moment.” Continue reading