It appears to me from recent events that virtual reality is back...in a big way.
First I run into the idea of a helmut that reads your mind and sends commands to the video game you are playing, Interface Be Gone.
Then my friend, Gordon Snyder sends me this article from Business Week titled, The Mind-Bending New World Of Work. You need to read the article. There is also a podcast if you would rather listen and a great set of photographs and a video to accompany the article.
Here are some highlights:
- Soon, anyone making a PowerPoint presentation to colleagues or business partners could operate the same setup as Tom Cruise in the Minority Report to control the slides and move through the presentation. The set up uses cameras to track hand movements and translate them into computer instructions. The presenter will have his or her hands in the air and the slides will progress. Not unlike the work by Jeff Han which I highlighted in What Interface?
- Intel (INTC ) Corp. is developing a more advanced version of motion capture that will let people wave at their TV sets from across the room to turn up the volume or change channels—no gloves or sensor dots required. Within five years "you could use gesture recognition to get rid of the remote control," predicts Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner.
- At the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Adidas has an electornic ad that perks up when people walk by. It responds to movements with a shower of shoes. The more people move, the bigger the deluge of shoes. "People don't ignore the ads—they want to play with them," says John Payne, president of Monster Media, which created the campaigns for adidas, Clorox, and Target. "It's like Willy Wonka."
- At Lockheed visitors can be equiped—up to four at a time—with Virtual Reality headsets and suits dotted with motion-capture sensors. As the visitors enter a darkened 15-by-20-ft. area where 24 cameras track their every move, they "see" through their head displays the fighter prototype and lifelike avatars of one another. (can you say Holodeck?)
- If you want to experience the beginnings of virtual reality, check out Nintendo's Wii system. The tennis, baseball and bowling are highly realistic and provide a great deal of fun and interesting game play.It is the first video game console system that my wife actually enjoys playing.
As designers of learning experiences, we are going to be busy determining the best instructional design strategies to apply to these exciting, seemless human/computer interfaces and when we combine these interfaces with 3D software, the instructional implications are staggering.
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