Brave New Virtual World

Talk about Head Mounted Displays (HMDs), augmented reality, wearable computing, controller hardware, haptic feedback, motion tracking, and related topics here!
Post Reply
One Eyed Hopeful
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:35 am

Brave New Virtual World

Post by VRex »

Something that I'm working on. Just thought I'd share my thoughts with you!

What is the VRex?

It is an integrated, immersive virtual reality experience. Head Mounted Display, Audio System, Brain Computer Interface, Illusion of Movement, Haptic feedback, Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation, and much more.

In terms of explaining its nature and how it feels, I can say that it is more like being in the Matrix than being on the holodeck. Meaning that it is more of an internal experience that feels extremely real, rather than running on treadmills and holding M-16s and grenades in your hand. The only real body movement needed, is moving your head to look around the VR. Everything else is done via Brain Computer Interface. That way, when you think you want to move your arm, your virtual arm moves. When you think of walking forward, your virtual body walks forward. When you do pick up a virtual object (grenades, if you will) it feels like you're holding a real object in your hand - thanks to a combination of haptic feedback and muscle and joint stimulation.

It relies heavily on machine learning, so that after a period of time, the BCI will interpret your unconscious intent to move your arm, just like real life. You don’t think all day about “Left leg, right leg, move my arm etc” You just do it unconsciously when you need to do it. The BCI in a sense becomes your virtual unconscious mind, that facilitates the movement of your virtual body, in the same way that your unconscious mind facilitates the movement of your real body.

But the best part is, that when you move your virtual arm, certain parts of your brain and certain parts of your real arm are stimulated with micro-electrical and magnetical impulses, to create a physical illusion of movement. In other words, when you move your virtual body, it FEELS like you’re moving your real body. When you run in your game, it FEELS like you’re running with your real body. When you pick something up, it FEELS like you’re holding the object in your hand. Whatever you do in the virtual environment, feels, for all intents and purposes, REAL. Feelings like vertigo, falling and pretty much anything else can be induced through a combination of realistic visuals, crystal clear surround sound, and stimulation of the proper centers in the brain and body.

In time, we will be able to induce specific smells and tastes, as well. It doesn’t get more immersive than this.

This is the best way to achieve a truly integrated and immersive virtual reality experience. Running on a treadmill, playing in an empty room so you don’t bump into anything or any other physical way of trying to achieve this virtual place, is impractical (and a waste of time - in my opinion). It is disruptive and it takes you out of the experience. You don’t need controllers in your hands, or anything else that mimics real objects, so that you can go deeper into the virtual reality. You have real objects in the real world, and that’s where they should stay. In the virtual world, you should have virtual objects that you manipulate with your virtual body, BUT - it should FEEL like you are manipulating real objects with your real body.

The VRex is a gaming platform. It is a means of consuming virtual reality movies. It is a new way of experiencing the internet, of learning, of being creative, even of being social for some.

What can the VRex do?

It can perform a retinal scan as a means of logging in. That way, you can use this platform in any location with complete safety, and access all your personal settings, apps, entertainment etc, directly from the cloud. It can track your eyes and also your environment. It can alert you if someone is getting close. It reads your vitals and a host of other things the whole time you’re connected.

It reads EEG signals from a variety of very specific spots in your brain, translating intent of movement into movement of your virtual body. Just like putting sensors on a gamer and assigning every sensor to a specific body part or joint of your game character, so that the game character follows the gamers’ every move, in the same way, instead of sensors, we are reading specific signals that indicate intent of movement and assigning those signals to body parts of the game character’s body.

It can stimulate your brain and muscles to create any body sensation you can imagine. You don’t have to worry abound bumping into walls or anybody else, because you’ll be able to run for miles in your virtual environment without ever moving an inch in the real world. BUT (and this is a big but) it will feel like you really ran for miles in the real world, using your real body. You can choose to stimulate your body and muscles and joints to replicate the feeling, completely, even to work your body out in the same way. So being plugged-in does NOT mean that you are a vegetable with eyes. You can choose the degree of realism that you want to experience. If you choose extreme realism, your body will work out in mysterious ways :P But at the same time, you might choose a lesser degree of realism, and it would still be an immersive experience, but this time you could run for an unlimited amount of time without getting tired or putting any kind of stress on your real body and muscles. There are many different degrees and nuances that the experience can be shaped by. The user has unlimited customizing ability.

Who will use it?

In the beginning, only the kind of people that have bought the Oculus DK1, will be brave enough to plug in. After initial introduction period, every person that has ever watched a movie or played a video game will want to experience this technology.

How will it be used?

It will replace, for the most part, the role of the TV set (or computer/mobile device screen) in today’s world. Everything that we do today from learning to entertainment to communication to commerce, revolves around these rectangles. Which is great, for now!

But what we are really doing when we watch a movie, is mentally replacing the main character with ourselves. We get invested. We are infiltrating the story, to see how it would feel if we were in that situation. The future movies will be created to be consumed in this “New Virtual World”, where we will BE the main character, or a sidekick or whatever we choose to be in the story. We will be there to experience these thrills upclose and personal. There will still be the option to experience the whole thing as an observer but for the brave souls that want to go into the story and fully immerse, movies will be the adventure of a lifetime. They can be the traditional 1.5-2 hours. Or they can be long involved and evolving stories like a TV series (Walking Dead, Breaking Bad etc- maybe on a subscription basis, or maybe a one time evolving product) or games like Beyond two souls or The Last Of Us .

Video games will be upgraded so that 1st person actually means 1st person. You will FEEL the gun you’re holding in your hands, and recoil etc. You will feel the ground under your feet while running. You will see, hear, touch and interact with the game world around you, completely.

Eventually these interactive movies and video games will merge into a new form of entertainment . Today’s video games (ex: Beyond two souls or The Last Of Us) are proof of that. Games from 1995 like Phantasmagoria were meant to be this type of interactive movie, using real live actors. This time it will stick. All of today’s movies use real actors making extensive use of the green screen so they can be anywhere and do anything using CG. Again, movies and video games will merge in this Brave New Virtual World!

You will have the oportunity to be in the same movie with your friends, or the same MMO, or the same virtual social platform. On whatever incarnation of skype will exist, you will be able to have a virtual beer with your friend from across the globe, and the experience will feel for all intents and purposes , real.

Browsing the web will become a real exploration. An adventure! It will be tactile and sensory, and learning on the internet will be fun. You will be able to instantly travel to the places you’re researching, interact with animals you want to find out about and on and on...

All computing will be virtual computing! It will not all converge in one place, but nevertheless it will be virtual.

Buying something will be as easy as saying it. In addition to buying real things for the real world, there will be commerce of virtual goods like the beer I was mentioning before. That is a guarantee. People will be buying, trading and using anything from virtual properties to virtual magazines and anything else that you can imagine. If somebody creates something that another person can use while being “plugged in”, there will be an appropriate price for it . A piece of virtual clothing, a vacation to a real or a fantasy place etc etc... This will be a real market. Virtual Industries will be born!

You will be able to paint using a virtual canvas and virtual oil paint, and take advantage of UNDO and REDO and every other function you have available today in your photoshop or whatever you’re using. Sculpting and every other art form you can think of will be augmented in this virtual format.

Mindmapping, organizing, brainstorming, relaxing, meditating. Living your dreams and fantasies without the risk of hurting anybody else or yourself.

Military simulations. Remote driving and piloting of real vehicles and aircraft that are in real life situations.

Medical aplications. Physical recovery . University training. Medical research and simulation of real procedures to determine risks and forsee what results would look like.

Solutions for handicapped or paralized people – Including moving prosthetic limbs and being able to create and visit their own private virtual universes, paint, play video games, have a virtual assistant etc..

Maybe, just maybe.. someday we will be able to experience the world as a cheetah, or a fly or any other animal.

What are some basic safety features that need to be implemented from day 1 ?

Logging in is as simple as an eye scan. Immediately following, all you personal data, settings and learnings are accessed from the cloud. That way it doesnt matter if you’re plugging in at home, a VR cafe or on an airplane. You’re always safe. And all your apps, entertainment etc is instantly accessible in the cloud, no matter where you are.

Basic laws of physics have to be the default, to make the transition easier. But then, individual applications or games can train you to fly or do things that are outside the normal reality of humans. There should be a human default that you can automatically revert to when you don’t feel comfortable with the direction your experiences are going.

Having a gesture or speech interface, and being able to stop the experience at any point.

Body monitoring. Alerting emergency services in case of your vitals going down, heart attack or epilepsy, or whatever you set it to monitor. Also useful to determine if the user is having an adverse reaction to the experience itself, so they can be eased out of the experience and back into their bodies.

In the beginning, in the training period, the user can have access to an emergency exit, in case of anything. After they become experienced at using the platform they can turn that option off.

Automatic alarms that alert you subtly, without compromising the experience, when you have to take a break and unplug (for whatever reasons: to eat, to let your eyes take a break, to let your mind take a break, etc)

Electrical and magnetic brain stimulation to achieve illusion of movement , position etc, needs to be regulated and monitored with extreme precision for both safety and accuracy.

Disclaimers – people with heart conditions, neurological conditions etc should not use this platform at all.

Rules of safe usage. Ex. You should allow 20-30 minutes(to be determined, after testing) between using the platform and driving a car or operating machinery. The experience of using the platform is of a hypnotic-like nature. A dissociative state even. The brain, mind, body will need time to re-adjust. Usage times, and waiting times will be determined when actual people are doing extensive testing on the platform. Brain activity could be monitored while using the platform and after, to determine how long it takes for the average person to go back to normal . For veteran users both getting into that state and out of it will take shorter and shorter times. Also, the re-adjustment period could be handled, possibly, by the platform. That means that the platform could have a re-adjustment module built-in, that helps the user raise their brainwave frequency to normal waking state, by using a wakening routine not unlike what hypnotists do when they want people to come out of trance. And when the module is completed you can just take off the headset and whatever other sensors or parts of the platform, and go on about your day

Ethics should be one of the top priorities. The platform should be built with that in mind. Any application should be built with that in mind. All applications should be thoroughly tested, inspected, investigated even, before a market release. Any people using applications for the platform from outside sources, are doing so at their own risk.

Absolutely NO ADVERTISING!!!

How does the product look? What are different possible form factors?

It is a VR headset, with headstraps that also contain active, dry electrodes (or some new type of electrode that doesn’t even exist yet).

It may be an ultra-light, ultra-comfortable helmet that contains the electrodes, and the HMD connected to the helmet (adjustable sizes, lens distances etc) There is an excellent surround sound audio system. Everything is light-weight.

Wirelessly connected to the box that processes everything from brainwaves to applications, internet connectivity etc. There are sensors placed on specific parts of the body that have the double duty of perceiving micro electrical signals in the muscles that give away intention of movement, and also stimulating the muscles with micro electrical impulses to create illusion of movement.

These sensors could be embeded in a VR suit that the user would wear (I know that’s silly and annoying, but it is a distinct possibility), or the chair or armchair could be a part of the platform acting as one big sensor, that can measure size , weight, pulse, and micro electrical signals in any part of the user’s body, and can also stimulate different parts of the body. I like the chair idea better because this would be a seated experience anyway, and so the chair could potentially be as important as the VR headset itself.

One thing that I want to incorporate is some incarnation of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Only problem is that current technology is very big and bulky and needs a specialized technician just to operate it. It needs to be made smaller, easy to understand and work with. The armchair is the perfect place to hide it in.

How does mobility play into all this? How does “hardwired” play into all this?

People using this platform are in a very vulnerable state while they are plugged-in. They will also need a period of time (at least a few minutes) for re-adjustment to everyday reality, every time they unplug.

So, this will never be used on the go, even if the form factor would eventually allow it. Even if this will eventually be a wireless experience, it will have to be static. Probably seated - to avoid injury(banging into walls and such..). Probably in a place where you feel safe. Maybe an office. Maybe a game room. Maybe there will be VR Cafes where several people plug in at the same time, to have a common experience.

Ideally it will be portable, so that the traveling person, will be able to “plug in” right there in the hotel room, and meet their family if they so desire. But I think the mobile platfom is doing a good job with that, so far.

I know it will change air travel forever. Everybody will be able to “plug in” and actually enjoy their flight. When someone logs in (as easy as a retinal scan), their personal customizations and apps and anything else they are able to access at home, are already available. Or maybe they will just have a few in flight movie or video game options.

How is this new revolutionary technology going to help people? What problems will it solve?

It will bring people closer. It will consolidate the experience of the internet which right now is chaotic. This experience will become physical. Intuitive. Easy and satisfying. Finally people will be free from the clutches of advertising, banners, interstitial mindfuck etc. There will be a new model of experience and business, which will circumvent advertising altogether.

I know that in this moment (sept 2014) , advertising(news, propaganda) seems to be the lifeblood of the internet, of television, of pretty much anything you can think of. But it doesn’t have to be that way. News, propaganda and advertising are and have always been one and the same thing, and are seemingly indispensable in the advanced society that we enjoy. The opportunity for abuse by “EVIL MEGACORP” always looms over our civilisation, and all the backdoors of our minds are under attack, day and night.

This new model will be 1000 times more susceptible to abuse, because people that are plugged in, are in a sort of hypnotic trance. The potential for mind control of the user is bigger than anyone can imagine, and so I think that the temptation to take advantage will be enormous. That’s why this platform and the software running it will be built from the ground up with security inherent to the build, and with 0% opportunity for advertising and news(propaganda) companies to screw with the user’s mind. People will get a vacation from all that while they are using this platform.

It will create jobs in the ecosystem. For able-bodied and disabled people alike. It will be especially important for the latter because being able to be creative, useful, helpful, will give new purpose to their lives. Being able to socialize again and do so on their own terms is sure to heal deep wounds created by disability.

It will solve the problem of true entertainment. We know why we read books. We know why we watch movies. We know why we play video games. We know why we watch reality tv and pry into celebrities personal lives. WE WANT TO KNOW HOW IT FEELS. WE WANT TO EXPERIENCE THESE THINGS OURSELVES. With this type of immersive virtual reality, we now CAN experience all these things first hand!

We will be able to enjoy experiences made for us in the beginning, just like we experience movies and video games and all other types of entertainment today. But in time, we will be able to create private environments that will be infinitely customizable. We will be able to invite friends over, or visit them in their own private worlds. This will be the ultimate escape !

Simplicity will be one of the defining features of this platform, next to safety and beauty. It will be clean and intuitive. All the chaos of everyday life will be eliminated. This will NOT be another reason for stress in our lives, but instead it will strive to make our “plugged in” time , fun. Ease of use is paramount. Lack of notifications and warnings and “pokes” and such, is what brings stress levels down and allows the experience to be perfect.

The absence of advertising will require new thinking when talking about monetizing.

What are some awesome side effects of this technology existing in the world? What does the future look like, after this technology gets unleashed?
People can recharge their batteries while using this technology, not unlike going on a vacation that maybe they can’t afford. So, I’m seeing a lot less stress in the world.

Porn 2.0 will help lonely people get off, without needing to put themselves or other people in danger. So I’m seeing a world with a lot less sex related crimes.

People with severe disabilities, will be able to work again (in the ecosystem) if they choose to do so. They will be able to socialize again. Paint or write or anything, really, and then sell their work if they want to do so.

The medical field will benefit greatly, because the kinds of simulations and applications that medical students will have access to, will raise all standards of the medical profession.

This technology will be used by people that have lost someone close. At some point there will be companies that will take (at user’s request) all the data that has been learned about that person and turn it into a virtual copy of that person. That virtual copy will look and behave and even be capable of holding a conversation with the same manierisms and inflexions as the real person. This way all of us will be able to leave behind more than just a few digital pictures. People that are grieving will have the opportunity to look at and touch and hug and talk to their loved ones. I think that people will use this and will take comfort in knowing that they have something more from their loved ones than just a few fuzzy memories.

And a thousand more awesome, positive side-effects that I can’t even imagine right now.
The future looks bright. With resposible use of this technology, I see happier people in the world.

What is the best way to introduce this new technology to the general public?

I think the best way to put this out into the world is to start with the video game industry and the movie industry. Interactive movies can be done first, to the standard that I’m thinking about, with existing technology. Every movie location can be scanned in its entirety. Think NextVr. Filmed from every angle , scanned, reconstructed so that it can be navigated by the user. Characters, live actors can be inserted after that. The storyline is realized in a traditional way. This is the beginning. The first iterration can be navigated. The viewer can be an observer, but not in a traditional way. They can be anywhere, and that alone can open various avenues for creativity and surprises.

In time, these movies will become truly interactive, meaning that the user can be the main character, can interract with the other characters, objects etc. The user can affect storyline and is completely intrinsic to the story.

Video games will mature in parallel. These 2 industries are probably the best way to introduce this type of technology to the masses. Everybody has watched a movie. That will make movies the gateway. This platform is also a smart, interesting way of consuming all the 2D videos already available online. Creating an intriguing way of watching Youtube and 2D movies already existing (Netflix), would be another gateway.

What would the business model look like?

This is a platform. It should have SDK’s for different areas of interest. Movies, games, medical field, etc

The applications approved to run on it, will be found in an app store. There will be no “ in app” advertising, and no free garbage full of ads. Only free, demo apps will have a call to action, so you can buy the full app. Any other app will be ad-free.

Websites will develop VR versions, just like today’s mobile sites are made for the mobile platform. We will create examples of different approaches that developers could take, but in the end developers will have the opportunity to be as creative as they want (as long as they are ethical). There will be no advertising allowed on the VR version of websites. This is important. There should really be an SDK for website developers that will strictly prohibit any kind of advertising. Maybe sites like ebay and amazon and other sites based on sales will be considered in some type of virtual incarnation.

We will make partnerships with movie studios, and create examples for movie makers to understand how this works. Game makers, on the other hand, will need no explanation :D

Money will be made by selling the platform (new iterrations will come every few years; upgrades for different parts, will come every year, so the platform will be modular). Also from selling apps in the app store. Also from selling or renting entertainment (movies, video games). VR Tv shows could be on a subscription basis etc etc

The platform will have social network capabilities built-in. It will have the potential of growing into one of the biggest social networks.

How will human interaction be affected? What is the best way to bring people closer using this tech?

Everything is good in moderation. I think that statement will be true for this platform. Overuse will probably lead to disconnection from society. But using it responsibly as a tool for entertainment, learning, self-development and networking, will lead to this world being a happier place. These are of course generic statements based on nothing concrete. It remains to be seen what uses humanity will have for all this. I think, as a whole, humanity is heading toward a better place. A new humanity is being born as we speak out of all these new technologies.

I think, that thanks to the mobile platform and all the social networks and media and the internet as a whole, people are already closer than any other time in history. So maybe it’s not a question of how to use VR to bring people closer, but one of the side-effects of VR in people’s lives will be that once they unplug, they will feel recharged and calm, less stressed and less anxious, and relationships and interactions between people will naturaly become less strained and more fluid.


One Eyed Hopeful
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:22 am

Re: Brave New Virtual World

Post by DavidJones »

Thank you for sharing interesting information. Check out about virtual reality in entertaiment , hope it will be interesting for you .

Post Reply

Return to “General VR/AR Discussion”