Virtual reality and its effects
On November 27, 2012, the class got into an interesting and debatable topic of virtual reality. This discussion really sparked my interest on what was, what is and what is to become of virtual reality. These were some questions that were circulating my mind that I felt I needed answers to. Other topics to be discussed are the dependency on the virtual world and so results in a social disconnect. People have been so addicted to the virtual world that they “may use cyberspace as a substitute for the physical environment” (Drucker, 29). Augmented reality, sub-section of virtual reality,
The concept remains the same - using computer technology to create a simulated, three-dimensional world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if he were in that world. Scientists, theorists and engineers have designed dozens of devices and applications to achieve this goal. Opinions differ on what exactly constitutes a true virtual reality experience, but in general it should include:
· Three-dimensional images that appear to be life-sized from the perspective of the user
· The ability to track a user's motions, particularly his head and eye movements, and correspondingly adjust the images on the user's display to reflect the change in perspective” (Strickland).
After reading that definition, it sounds like a scary movie in the making. I refer to it as this because just as anything out there, virtual reality can and is abused. My biggest fear for virtual reality is that individuals are getting so immersed in it that they have lost sight of actual reality. “
Another emerging concern involves criminal act. In the virtual world, defining acts such as murder or sex crimes has been problematic. At what point can authorities charge a person with a real crime for actions within a virtual environment? Studies indicate that people can have real physical and emotional reactions to stimuli within a virtual environment, and so it’s quite possible that a victim of a virtual attack could feel real emotional trauma. Can the attacker be punished for causing real-life distress? We don’t yet have answers to these questions
Some architects create virtual models of their building plans so that people can walk through the structure before the foundation is even laid. Clients can move around exteriors and interiors and ask questions, or even suggest alterations to the design. Virtual models can give you a much more accurate idea of how moving through a building will feel than a miniature model. Car companies have used VR technology to build virtual prototypes of new vehicles, testing them thoroughly before producing a single physical part. Designers can make alterations without having to scrap the entire model, as they often would with physical ones. The development process becomes more efficient and less expensive as a result (Strickland). There are great ways virtual reality is being used. It helps gives architects and car companies prototypes to work from and there is little to no room for error.
Another field where virtual reality is of importance and more a necessity is training programs in military.
The best breakthrough with virtual reality would have to be in the medical field.” Another medical use of VR technology is psychological therapy. Dr. Barbara Rothbaum of Emory University and Dr. Larry Hodges of the Georgia Institute of Technology pioneered the use of virtual environments in treating people with phobias and other psychological conditions. They use virtual environments as a form of exposure therapy, where a patient is exposed -- under controlled conditions -- to stimuli that cause him distress. The application has two big advantages over real exposure therapy: it is much more convenient and patients are more willing to try the therapy because they know it isn't the real world. Their research led to the founding of the company Virtually Better, which sells VR therapy systems to doctors in 14 countries” (Strickland). To say we should put a stop to it would be absurd. Virtual reality has proven to be a requirement in the medical field. But should there be a limit as to when and where virtual reality is used? Should it only be for medical purposes or betterment of the work environment? Is it only being abused in the entertainment industry?
In the business world, virtual reality may seem more personal than instant messaging, emails, and even a phone call but it important to remember that “
Some programmers envision the Internet developing into a three-dimensional virtual space, where you navigate through virtual landscapes to access information and entertainment. Web sites could take form as a three-dimensional location, allowing users to explore in a much more literal way than before. Programmers have developed several different computer languages and Web browsers to achieve this vision. Some of these include:
· Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) - the earliest three-dimensional modeling language for the Web.
· 3DML - a three-dimensional modeling language where a user can visit a spot (or Web site) through most Internet browsers after installing a plug-in.
· X3D - the language that replaced VRML as the standard for creating virtual environments in the Internet.
· Collaborative Design Activity (COLLADA) - a format used to allow file interchanges within three-dimensional programs” (Strickland).
I can just picture it now: walking into the internet like you would your favorite store. Sounds cool right? Well, one of two things will happen. It is either you will have a pleasurable experience that you are imagining or you will be attacked by a virus. Just let that marinate.
This new technology, called augmented reality, blurs the line between what's real and what's computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell. On the spectrum between virtual reality, which creates immersive, computer-generated environments, and the real world, augmented reality is closer to the real world. Augmented reality adds graphics, sounds, haptic feedback and smell to the natural world as it exists” (Bonsor). Augmented reality sounds like a safer version of virtual reality. Even though it is still a form of virtual reality, it is a smoother transition from the natural world.
In class we watched a video on how augmented reality works. (Refer to video) The video details about a device called the SixthSense that Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry presented at a Ted Conference. The SixthSense uses basic components such as a camera, mirror, smartphone and small projector. “For anyone who owns a smartphone, this is just a step up.
It is great that augment reality has been making such advancement in technology but it was also important to understand its effects on the people using it. A study was done in Ming-Chuan University oh how augmented reality effects learning and it was interesting to find out the results of the study. “
Van, Jon. "Actual Side Effects From Virtual Reality." Chicago Tribune. Tribune, 14 Aug. 1995. Web. 09 Dec. 2012