Microsoft And Volvo Bring Augmented Reality To Car Shopping

Volvo Seen With HoloLens Screenshot by author, from YouTube Swedish automaker Volvo has a long-held reputation as a car company that puts safety first. Some safety features, like replacing spear-like traditional steering wheel shafts with bulkier, non-impaley versions are easy to see. Other features, like laser sensors that detect the movements of nearby cars, are a little trickier to demonstrate on the showroom floor. So, to advertise their safety in the modern era, Volvo teamed with Microsoft to create models of the cars in virtual reality: There are no actual cars in this showroom. Instead, prospective buyers wear goggles for Microsoft’s HoloLens system, which displays virtual objects like they’re holograms, and walk around virtual visions of both the car and the invisible systems that make the car and its safety features work. The cars’ invisible sensor fields are envisioned as colorful waves, a neon-bright world of awareness that you’d […] Read More

Macroscopic Coherence Explained

Coherence is a general property of a system whereby the components of that system all act in a similar manner. Coherent light is what makes lasers what they are – an alignment of photons, or waveform phases (why cats chase them is a little harder to explain). Superconductivity, a property of zero resistance to electrical flow that was formerly only observed at temperatures near absolute zero, is closely related in that the atoms of the superconducting material are aligned coherently. Quantum entanglement is an example of perfect coherence between two or more particles, in that they act as a single particle no matter how far away from each other you take them. Einstein famously referred to this property as “spooky action at a distance.” The Bose-Einstein condensate is another state of matter that exists at extremely low temperatures and involves a system of particles that have all achieved the […] Read More

Can You Get PTSD From A Virtual Experience?

Super Mario Couch Jason Schneider Virtual environments almost certainly induce genuine anxiety, says Grainne Kirwan, a psychologist who specializes in cybercrime at the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in Ireland. For example, your physiological and emotional responses to entering a dark alley in a video game may be comparable to those you’d have in a similar real-life situation. “But would it be to the extent of initiating post-traumatic stress disorder? That hasn’t been demonstrated,” Kirwan says. There have been scattered accounts of people victimized in role-playing games such as Second Life or World of Warcraft and suffering in the aftermath. But no large-scale academic study has ever been written up, Kirwan says. And even if a player were to have a disturbing experience, he could avoid compounding the stress by steering clear of that game, or online games altogether, in the future. “I think that somebody […] Read More

Augmented Reality Visor Will Overlay Data On The Real World

Terminator Vision Orion Pictures Playing a first-person shooter like Call of Duty with a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift or the Sony Morpheus seems like a recipe for ultra-realistic gaming bliss – until you sprint after virtual Germans and plow right into your actual living room wall. When you wear a screen on your face, “there’s a lack of situational awareness of the actual world,” says Leap Motion co-founder Michael Buckwald, sipping a soda at a demo at the company offices in San Francisco.  “Also, every time I want to take a sip of Coke, I have to take the Oculus Rift off.” “In a first-person shooter, you need to be able to turn around quickly,” says Omar Khan, the lead Unity developer at Austin-based Chaotic Moon, which designed a humorous Oculus Rift game called Shark Punch.  “And if you’re sitting in a chair, tethered to a […] Read More

Objective vs. Subjective Reality

Today’s blog is one part rehash of an ancient dilemma that has puzzled and divided philosophers and scientists for millennia and two parts The Universe – Solved! First a couple definitions… Objective Reality – a reality that completely exists independent of any conscious entity to observe it. Subjective Reality – what we perceive. As it is well known, subjective reality is “subject” to an elaborate set of filters, any one of which can modify a perception of that reality; sensory apparatus (e.g. the rods and cones in our eyes), sensory processing (e.g. the visual cortex), higher level brain function, and psychological factors (e.g. expectations). As such, what one person experiences is always different than what any other person experiences, but usually in subtle ways. Fundamentally, one cannot prove the existence of an objective reality. We can only infer its properties through observations, which of course, are subjective. However, it […] Read More

What It Feels Like to Jump Off a Virtual Cliff

Images: Project Tango When I strapped Google’s Tango gadget on my head, a device designed to virtually replicate reality, I found myself standing on a platform overlooking a chasm that felt thousands of feet deep. I took a virtual step off. Up until that point it felt real enough to generate some feelings of nausea while peering into the abyss, but with the background chatter from crowds of people milling around Google’s I/O conference, the experience of virtually diving off a cliff didn’t feel quite the way I’d expect it would in reality. Still, after messing around with one of the Tango developer units, I couldn’t help think their tagline “we like epic shit” sounded accurate. Project Tango is the brainchild of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division. The device itself looks like a generic, small-sized tablet. And Google had an optional Oculus Rift-like apparatus to strap it to your head so you can experience […] Read More

Are We Lost In Virtual Realities

The Illusions and Dangers of Virtual Realities All of us would have free will to participate… In our past, before Time and Space were conditions, we as spirits lived in an environment that was very easy to contend with. This is why, out of sheer boredom, we began to think of something that was daring. By the millions we decided to create a new reality and the object was to live in this new reality within a new kind of body. We called it the physical reality body and by means of our thoughts we created the solar system and its planets. Naturally we did not have the faintest idea how all this would work out, but one thing was established – it meant that all of us would have free will to participate. Once this decision was made, we committed ourselves to continue this new creation, until all […] Read More