Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Push The Wii To The Limit: VR Head Tracking

The history of Virtual Reality begins with Aldoux Huxley, who invented the feelie experience. These "feelies" were obviously not advanced at this time, however the idea was to incorporate all of the senses. That is, one could feel sensations of touch, taste, smell, and even sexual experience (not a sense but pretty cool). From this original model, virtual reality did not begin to truly take off in this "feelie" manner. According to Charles U. Larson in Dramatism and Virtual Reality, this idea of "feeling" a virtual world and the idea of cyberspace was immediately clenched on to by not just video game industries, but the Pentagon and Pornography industry as well. Clearly, all three could have infinite fun with a world where people can escape their limited, physical bodies, and then complete their inner goals and desires. Multi-million dollar projects in places like Disney World captured similar interactions between human beings and the VR worlds around them. It was noted during the infant stages of VR that the potential of this medium would not be realized until years down the road, much like what occurred with the breakthrough of the television medium.

Well, here we are and now is the time where technology can provide the uses of virtual reality that Larson has predicted. Ideas like "virtual surgery", "virtual driving lessons", "virtual clothing", "virtual vacations", and "virtual sex" all seem possible and applicable to today's society for a myriad of purposes. It seems that one necessity before people can begin to indulge in the experience stated prior is an easy portal into the virtual world, one that doesn't constrict or nauseate the peron attempting to cross back and forth between dimensions. This is very necessary if we were to finally "bridge" the gaming world most play in now with an unbounded, virtual world. What we need is to turn our computer screen into a window, rather than turning our eyes or "windows to the world" into computer monitors themselves.

Larson refers to this difference in virtual thinking as a VR participant not being on the outside looking in, however they are on the inside looking around. The more we look around the more we see, thus making the VR world both infinite and incomplete. Playstation 3 and XBox 360 are right now becoming the most popular consoles in the gaming world, however it seems the Nintendo Wii will be the first system that can truly take a gamer to a new scene. Watch this video and see how if the Wii is taken to the next level you may find yourself smack dab in the world of virtual reality and the future of gaming.


Lance Strate said...

Very cool indeed! And it does seem to make sense that gaming will drive the development and distribution of this technology. And this does drive home Larson's point about VR tending to be an intrapersonal experience.

EmporerEJ said...

I'm not sure "The history of Virtual Reality begins with Aldoux Huxley," because he suggests feelies, really cuts it.

lots of people suggest/imagine things. But until the product is actually manufactured, like the head tracker, or in the case of Virtual Sex, The Virtual Sex Machine, can you actually say, "it has started."

rwalsh42 said...

If you get the chance to play Nintendo Wii, you have to play the boxing game. Over Christmas break, I had an awesome time boxing against all my relatives including all the adults. Everyone was excited because of the ability to use your own movements to control your character. I liked how all of the adults were just as eager to play as the kids. The simplicity of the Wii and ability to play in a virtual reality separates this system from all others.