Hi, my name is Nicole Miller and I am going to be presenting my project “The Reality of Virtual Reality” today. My presentation is going to cover what virtual reality is/ what virtual worlds are, where they come from, what relationships exist between virtual worlds technology and people, and how this affects our society.
Virtual Reality, coined byJaron Lanier is technology which allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment through one's senses.Presently there are numerous different types of VR systems, but most can be classified into one of the following three categories; Desktop VR, Video Mapping VR, and Immersive VR.Desktop VR computer screens. A user can then interact with that environment, but is not immersed in it. Video Mapping VR uses cameras to project an image of the user into the computer program, thus creating a 2D computer character. Although fully immersed in the environment, it is difficult to interact with the user’s surroundings.Immersive VR uses a HMD (Head Mounted Display) to project video directly in front of the user’s eyes, plays audio directly into the user’s ears, and can track the whereabouts of the user’s head. We often think of Real-time, multi-player 3D environments in which the user takes on a specific role, represented on screen by an avatar. example is SecondLife, this does not include the matrix.A virtual world is a genre of online community that often takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment, through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects
A virtual community is a social network of individuals who interact through specific media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals.Second Life is a virtual world developed by Linden Lab that launched in 2003 and is accessible via the internet. A free client program enables its users, called Residents, to interact with each other through avatars. An avatar is a computer user's representation of himself/herself or alter ego, whether in the form of a three-dimensional model used in computer games,a two-dimensional icon (picture) or a one-dimensional username used on internet forums and other communities, or a text construct found on early systems such as MUDs.
MUD stands for Multi-User Dungeon or Dimension, is a multi-user real time virtual world and combines elements of role-playing games, interactive fiction, and online chat.In the context of this presentation, presence is not to be taken literal, but refers to the feeling of being present.
In general the greater the number of human senses a medium provides stimulation for, the greater the medium can produce a sense of presence. The illusion of nonmediation can occur in two distinct ways: (1) the medium can appear to be invisible or transparent and function as would a large open window, with the medium user and the medium content (objects and entities) sharing the same physical environment; and (2) the medium can appear to be transformed into something other than a medium, a social entity.When we think about devices, virtual worlds, virtual reality experiences that we use what categories can we put them in? Examples: Watching a movie in an IMAX Theater? Invisible… Playing games on a Wii? Transform… Going on a simulated ride? Invisible… Second Life? InvisibleIn terms of virtual worlds and virtual reality, most of the mediums become “invisible”, at least for now.
The three concepts of presence that have developed over time are…“You are there” is the oldest version of presence. The oral tradition of early humans involved the telling of tales that transported each generation of listeners to a different time and place where the events occurred. Television uses this type of presence to make the viewer feel like they are a part of the environment created by t.v. rather than the physical environment surrounding them. This is seen in the phrase often spoken by television hosts following a commercial break, “Welcome back”, which is consistent with the idea that viewers are transported during viewing.“It is here” instead, gives the sense that objects and people from another place are brought to the audience’s environment. (Put on youtube video) This may be best demonstrated by what is known as the train effect. In the early days of cinema, when a train would appear approaching on a projected screen, spectators, feeling like the train would literally come at them, would panic and run out of the movie theater. “We are together” is the impression that users are sharing space. This can be seen with video conferencing, skype and in most virtual worlds.
Perceptual immersion, "the degree to which a virtual environment submerges the perceptual system of the user" can be measured by counting the number of the users' senses that are provided with input and the degree to which inputs from the physical environment are "shut out“. Presence as immersion also includes a psychological component. When users feel immersive presence they are involved, absorbed,engaged and engrossed. In a classic 1956 article, [Horton and Wohl] suggested that even though the relationship between a television personality and a television viewer is one-sided, with no possibility of real time interaction, skilled personalities use direct address camera views (where the personality seems to be looking at the viewer), informal speech patterns, sincerity, and simplicity to generate a conversational give and take. In theinteraction media users respond to social cues presented by persons they encounter within a medium even though it is illogical and even inappropriate to do so. Studies have shown that people respond to interpersonal distance cues in [(Lombard, 1995), and even talk to [(Lemish, 1982)], the pictures of people on the television screen. The mediated nature of the "interaction" is ignored and the media personality is incorrectly perceived as a social actor.This illogical treatment of mediated entities as social actors is not limited to television. "Virtual actors" are created with digitized data from sensors attached to a real person and computer voice synthesis; the data give a computer character human gestures, facial movements, and voice.In the software product Dogz: Your Computer Pet [(Dogz, 1995)], users adopt one of several puppies which they then teach tricks, play games with, feed, groom, pet, and discipline as their "desktop companion" grows from puppy to adult dog (a version for cats is available as well). In all of these examples users' perceptions and the resulting psychological processes lead them to illogically overlook the mediated or artificial nature of an entity within a medium and attempt to interact with it; this phenomenon represents a type of presence.Medium as social actorThe final conceptualization of presence involves social responses of media users not to entities (people or computer characters) within a medium, but to cues provided by the medium itself. While computers, robots, and androids in science-fiction often evoke social responses from other characters (and many audience members) because they seem so "human" (e.g., Data in Star Trek, C3P0 and R2D2 in Star Wars, Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Terminator in the Terminator films, the Replicants in Blade Runner, etc.), the phenomenon seems to exist even with today's less sophisticated computers. Nass and his colleagues at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University have demonstrated in a series of studies that because computers use natural language, interact in real time, and fill traditionally social roles (e.g., bank teller and teacher), even experienced computer users tend to respond to them as social entities. In most of these studies a social psychology finding concerning human-human interaction is replicated in the context of human-computer interaction.
The idea of Virtual Reality began well before the advent of the computer, but in dealing only with VR in the sense in which we know it, all its history has occurred over the past 40 years.Morton Heilig wrote in the 1950s of an "Experience Theatre" that could encompass all the senses in an effective manner, thus drawing the viewer into the onscreen activity. He built a prototype of his vision dubbed the Sensorama in 1962, along with five short films to be displayed in it while engaging multiple senses (sight, sound, smell, and touch). Predating digital computing, the Sensorama was a mechanical device. In 1968, Ivan Sutherland, with the help of his student Bob Sproull, created what is widely considered to be the first virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) head mounted display (HMD) system. It was primitive both in terms of usabilityand realism, and the HMD to be worn by the user was so heavy it had to be suspended from the ceiling, and the graphics comprising the virtual environment were simple wireframe model rooms.The Aspen Movie Map, a tool developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by a team working with Andrew Lippman in 1978 allowed users to take a virtual tour through the city of Aspen, Colorado. Alson 1978, a student at Essex University in the UK, Roy Trubshaw, started working on a multi-user adventure game in the MACRO-10 assembly language. He named the game MUD (Multi-User Dungeon). It’s been said that modern games like World of Warcraft, and social virtual worlds such as Second Life can trace their origins back to the early MUDs.In the mid-1980s Warren Robinett teamed up with NASA scientists Scott S. Fisher and Michael McGreevy at NASA's Ames Research Center to create Virtual Environment Workstation (VIEW), a VR system prototype that allows users to "grasp" items in a digital space through the use of special gloves.In 1992 Neal Stephenson published Snow Crash, a novel that featured the Metaverse, in which people move as avatars interacting with other people's avatars and software-based agencies.In the present there are a myriad of virtual reality devices as well as virtual worlds.Where can virtual reality go from here?Within existing technological limits, sight and sound are the two senses which best lend themselves to high quality simulation. There are however attempts being currently made to simulate smell. The purpose of current research is linked to a project aimed at treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in veterans by exposing them to combat simulations, complete with smells. Although it is often seen in the context of entertainment by popular culture, this illustrates the point that the future of VR is very much tied into therapeutic, training, and engineering demands.
Why do we want these experiences that (at least in some sense) aren't "real"? Aside from its practical uses, what needs does it fulfill? How do these gratifications compare to those offered by the other media and nonmedia activities?
Virtual Reality especially in the form of simulation rides offer physical needs of a person through vection. Vection refers to the perception of self-motion induced by visual stimuli. An example of this sensation is that if one is seated in a train parked at the station while the train next to it pulls out from the station, one may have a sustained sensation that one is moving in the opposite direction. In simulation rides the point to entertain is realized through vection. Virtual reality therapy also plays on a person’s physical reactions to stimuli.Through virtual worlds, emotional needs can be fulfilled as well. Every real life experience is possible and no physical limitations exist. To study what needs are fulfilled by virtual worlds, such as Second Life, I read various Second Life blogs. (Read from slide emotions) Even love can be obtained in the virtual world. From Veronique’s Second Life Blog Veronique says on love in SL, “Love? How can avatars love? Is it simulated love, like the simulated sex? Is it just some fantasy role play?Not for me. I form real bonds through SL. Behind every avatar is a real person, and I bond with that real person through the medium of SL and our avatars.” From Wonder Girl’s blog Wonder girl comments on a new exercise aspect of SL, “Don't mind me! I'm just getting some exercise here at the Pose Fair (April 2 - 16)! See how I am in workout gear and everything? This is how I keep my figure. The fact that there is a Pose Fair at all makes me giddy. I am such a pose ho'. I love them. I collect them. I admire myself in them.”SL also offers a rich learning environment. From Education in Second Life blog, Regent University built a counseling training facility in Second Life providing student counselors a location to practice and develop their counseling, interviewing, and diagnosis skills with avatars that display many of the physical and emotional features students may encounter once practicing in their communities.No other media can offer all these aspects of mimicking real life.
“In the world of the book, the truth is an immutable thing to be captured and recorded. But as the age of electronic information matures and the age of artificial experience commences, we recognize that we are on a journey and while we may question whether the next destination is better than the place we left, we realize that the journey is ours, for we must see what it is– that what we have made, makes us.” Myron W. Krueger.Virtual Worlds provides researchers, philosophers– anyone, a place to explore self identity, human norms, economics and just about any issue that one faces in the real world, but with boundaries or real life consequences. For example, if an economist wants to test a theory about currency and inflation, these online environments can function as a much more generalizable simulation than a mathematical model. They can simply change the value of an online currency and witness the effects it has on the online community. Because online forums allow manipulations that are not possible to implement in the physical world, theyallow us to examine unique research questions.The Proteus Effect refers to a phenomenon, where people infer their expected behaviors and attitudes from observing their avatar’s appearance. For example, studies have shown that users given taller avatars negotiatedmore aggressively than users given shorter avatars and users given more attractive avatars were more disclosing about intimate information, or outgoing. Research done by Jesse Fox, a doctoral candidate in communications at Stanford, recently found that avatars can change the way we exercise or eat. In Fox’s study, participants shown avatars that looked like them doing exercises were more likely to exercise after seeing their look-a-like avatar. Participants also responded to seeing personalized avatars whose bodies slimmed as they ate carrots or grew heavier as they ate candy. It has also been found that real life social norms are present in virtual worlds, such as Second Life. Two key social theories on nonverbal social norms that carry into Second Life, are gender and interpersonal distance theories and the Equilibrium theory. In another study done at Stanford, it was found that that male-male dyads in an online environment had larger IPDs than female-female dyads as is in real life. Also, in the same study Equilibrium theory which states if we get too close to a person with whom we do not want to share high amountsof intimacy, we avert our gaze to reduce that undesired intimacy and return to an equilibrium state (such as not standing face-to-face in an elevator), was maintained in the Second Life setting.In this way we can see a cross of the physical world and virtual worlds blending…what possible effects could this have potentially?Virtual reality could be integrated into daily life and activity and would be used in various human ways.Techniques couldbe developed to influence human behavior, interpersonal communication, and cognition (that is, virtual genetics).As we spend more and more time in virtual space, there will be a gradual “migration to virtual space,” resulting in important changes in economics, worldview, and culture.The design of virtual environments may be used to extend basic human rights into virtual space, to promote human freedom and well-being.
Morton Heilig 1926-1997 was called the "Father of Virtual Reality” He was one of the great visionaries of our time, he was a Philosopher, Inventor, Filmmaker and in general a man who looked towards the future and was way ahead of his time. He created the sensorama. Myron Krueger born in 1942, was the first artist to focus on interactive computer art as a composable medium. and coined the term "Artificial Reality" in 1973 to describe the ultimate expression of this conceptJaron Lanier born in 1960, popularized the term 'Virtual Reality' and in the early 1980s founded Visual Programming Language Research, the first company to sell VR products. While at VPL, he and his colleagues developed the first implementations of virtual reality applications in surgical simulation, vehicle interior prototyping, virtual sets for television production, and assorted other areas. He led the team that developed the first widely used software platform architecture for immersive virtual reality applications.
Scott McLoud..what is it for? Virtual Reality, the idea of existence outside the physical realm, has been thought of since man could dream. Virtual Worlds and simulators are used for entertainment, as an escape, as a method of trial and error, and as a source of research. It is a fantasy land come to life essentially, where dreams are more tangible– if you want to have your wedding in the clouds you can in Second Life, if you want to see what your future apartment looks like, you can on a virtual tour…if you want to feel more attractive you can as your avatar and so on and so on… Virtual Reality is important because it is as formative of our culture today as film, theater and literature have been in the past. Even looking at oral cultures, the idea of being transported to a place in a story, is an early form of virtual reality/virtual worlds. In the early 1900s the first flight “simulators” maintain the same function as modern virtual simulators do for military and government programs, like NASA. And as in theater when people willingly suspend disbelief the same interaction between audience and medium occurs with virtual worlds. I think that in the future perhaps, virtual worlds and the physical world will overlap even more so that much of physical life will just be the final product of rehearsed virtual life. Talking has already made this leap somewhat in the form of virtual dialogue where one has more time to think and practice various conversations. Also I think an overcoming of anxieties, fears and phobias will be possible. In the Real World clip I showed you, the girl who was a singer/song writer overcame her fear of stage performance through performing on Second Life. Medical training has also made this leap where surgeons have experience training on simulators before taking a knife to a real person. Car crash simulators are another example of virtual life approximating real life. I think that because virtual reality is meant to mimic physical reality it is only a matter of time and technological advancement before the two experiences are nearly inseparable. And that’s the end of my presentation, I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
The Reality of Virtual Reality<br />Presented by Nicole Miller<br />
What is Virtual Reality? What are Virtual Worlds?<br />Virtual Reality<br />Virtual Worlds<br />
Some definitions to get started…<br />A virtual community<br />Second Life<br />An avatar<br />
A few more definitions…<br />MUD<br />Presence<br />
Presence in Virtual Reality<br /><ul><li>Two Ways Non-mediation effect can occur</li></ul>Thoughts….<br />Media that is meant to feel unmediated, why?<br />1. Become invisible<br />2. Transform<br />But how does it work?<br />The willingness to suspend disbelief is part of human nature<br />
How Presence has evolved<br />Concepts:<br />“You are there”<br />“We are together”<br />“It is here”<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwVJqSlVMgw<br />
Social Realism v. Perceptual Realism<br />High visual quality and perceptual realism<br />High intimacy and social realism<br />“Photorealistic” + low intimacy = perceptual realism<br />High intimacy + low visual quality = social realism<br />Today’s goal…<br />High intimacy + “Photorealistic” <br />
Perceptual and Psychological Immersion<br />All technologies are extensions of us –McLuhan <br />Social actors within mediums<br />Mediums as social actors<br />Not to harp on McLuhan but… “The medium is the message.”<br />