Tag Archives | Virtual Reality

Possible Evidence That Our Universe Is A Computer Simulation

Are the various physical limits of our universe (e.g. the cutoff in the amount of energy a cosmic ray can have) evidence that our universe is the creation of technology with limited capabilities? Huffington Post explains:

A long-proposed thought experiment points out that any civilisation of sufficient intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe if such a thing were possible. Since there would therefore be many more simulations (within simulations, within simulations) than real universes, it is more likely than not that our world is artificial.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany say they have evidence this may be true. They point out that simulations of the universe naturally put limits on physical laws. By just being a simulation, [a] computer would put limits on, for instance, the energy that particles can have within the program. These limits would be experienced by those living within the sim – and as it turns out, something which looks just like these limits do in fact exist.

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Microsoft’s Own Holodeck

Picure: US Patent Office (PD)

Via Ars Technica

A newly published patent from software giant Microsoft indicates that the company is looking at developing a new, immersive video game environment. The concept sounds similar to the holodeck of Star Trek fame. Here’s hoping that the “blue screen of death” won’t become literal anytime soon:

Microsoft’s patent for an “immersive display experience” was published by the US Patent Office last week after being filed back in early 2011. It describes a standard video game system with a connected “environmental display” capable of projecting a panoramic image that “appears to surround the user.”

Such a projector wouldn’t replace the central TV display used in current consoles, but it would provide a “peripheral image” that would “serve as an extension” of that primary display. The purpose, of course, is to extend the gaming environment outside of the TV screen, so a player could, for instance, “turn around and observe an enemy sneaking up from behind.”

Wrap yourself in a snuggly digital cocoon and keep reading here.… Read the rest

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Blending War And Virtual Reality: Harun Farocki’s “Immersion”

tumblr_m3b6l07pHf1qjjis9o1_500Metropolis Magazine on artist Harun Farocki's Immersion: a video exploration of the connection between virtual reality and the military:
Eighteen years after the first Gulf War, computer-generated game technology is not only employed on the battlefield, but also used for recruiting, training prior to combat zone deployment, and now psychological care for for troops suffering battlefield trauma upon their return. It is the beginning, the middle and the end of the violence of war. Filming for Immersion took place at Fort Louis, near Seattle, during a demonstration for therapists of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy, which consists of subjecting traumatized soldiers to the conditions of war once again, in a virtual reality.
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Gaming Society

Games For ChangeJane McGonigal, in a recent article on Alternet, posits that gaming, and the camaraderie created by co-operative gaming has the potential to transform society:

Tech futurist and game designer Jane [McGonigal] on how computer games can help the fight against AIDS, heal disabilities, increase optimism, and make us better people.

There are 183 million active computer game players in the United States. The average young person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the age of 21. More than 5 million “extreme” gamers in the U.S. play an average of 45 hours a week. Videogames took in about $15.5 billion last year.

Most of what you hear about this phenomenon is doom and gloom — people becoming addicted, isolated and socially inept. Some worry that gaming is pulling people away from productive work, fulfilling relationships and real life. But game designer Jane McGonigal says the reason for the mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs.

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Boy Convicted Of Theft For Stealing Virtual Items Within Video Game

videoWell, if the stock market is regarded as real in the eyes of the law, why not an invisible amulet? Via the Chronicle Herald:

The amulet and mask were a 13-year-old boy’s virtual possessions in an online fantasy game. In the real world, he was beaten and threaten with a knife to give them up.

The Dutch Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the theft conviction of a youth who stole another boy’s possessions in the popular online fantasy game RuneScape. Judges ordered the offender to perform 144 hours of community service.

Only a handful of such cases have been heard in the world, and they have reached varying conclusions about the legal status of “virtual goods” — and whether stealing them is real-world theft.

The suspect’s lawyer had argued the amulet and mask “were neither tangible nor material and, unlike for example electricity, had no economic value.” But the Netherlands’ highest court said the virtual objects had an intrinsic value to the 13-year-old gamer because of “the time and energy he invested” in winning them while playing the game.

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Holograms You Can Manipulate With Your Hands

The future will involving interacting with objects that aren't actually there. The 2050 World Series will be played with a holographic non-real "ball" and your grandchildren's toys will be mere fragments of light. Via PhysOrg:
A research project at Microsoft Research Cambridge has brought forth a prototype called Holodesk, which lets you manipulate virtual objects with your hand.
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Japanese Pop Star Outed As Computer-Generated Creation

20110619_eguchi2-600x449Has CGI technology become super realistic? Or is it more that actual famous people now resemble virtual creations to the extent that the difference is hardly noticeable? Kotaku reveals:
AKB48 is Japan's most popular female pop group. With give-or-take 48 members, its latest member is Aimi Eguchi, who has rocketed from obscurity to become the poster girl for a Japanese ice candy, Ice no Mi. Now revealed as a computer composite of other girls in the group, she appears 4 seconds in below.
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Resurrecting Reznor’s Lost Art-Band Discovery, ‘Mondo Vanilli’

Mondo VanilliFinally the truth can be told — about how the editor of Mondo 2000 magazine was offered a six-album deal with Trent Reznor’s label for a performance art/virtual reality band called “Mondo Vanilli” in 1993. (“Would I be the first mildly overweight, weird-looking lead singer to launch into rock stardom at 41 years old?”)

Mondo editor R. U. Sirius remembers fondly that Reznor “was still excited about us after the psilocybin wore off,” recalls the poop-and-diapers piece of performance art that disgusted the hipsters in San Francisco, and shares the legendary sad-eyed “Keane painting” mocking Reznor that may have ultimately spoiled the deal…

But their one “lost album” from 1993 is finally available online.

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Cambridgeshire Farm Seeks Online Farmers

myfarm-logoWhat happens when Farmville becomes reality and not just a game? National Trust create MyFarm, an actual working farm that has 10,000 virtual farmers. BBC reports:
A National Trust farm is to be run by online subscribers voting on which crops to grow and livestock to rear.
For a £30 annual fee, 10,000 farm followers will help manage Wimpole Home Farm, in Cambridgeshire. The National Trust says its MyFarm project aims to reconnect people with where their food comes from. It was partly inspired by the online Facebook game Farmville and follows the example of Ebbsfleet Football Club which is run on a similar basis. Decisions about the running of the team in Kent has been in the hands of MyFootballClub subscribers since 2008.
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