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The road to 100% immersive virtual reality

RiftsRifts Posts: 154
Art3mis
edited July 2016 in General
The goal of virtual reality is evidently to transport you into modified worlds that are either more visually appealing, exciting or horrifying than the real one. With an Oculus Rift we're tricking two out of five senses into thinking we're somewhere else (sight and hearing). But how do we immerse our selves 100% into virtual reality? Below I'll try to explain each part in detail and how far we've come. I'm going to skip sound in this post as it's very easy to replicate, and no further advances are really needed.
 
Sight - This is probably the most important sense to manipulate, and even though we've come very far, there are a lot of progress to be made. Most importantly higher resolution (16k+), wider FOV, and eye tracking. But also lighter HMD's that eventually could transition into bionic contact lenses, although this might take a while.

Touch - Full body haptic feedback suits like the Teslasuit are currently in development and will bring virtual reality to new heights. These suits would have to mimic all kind of touch sensations like heat, cold, wetness, vibration, breezes and feather light touches. Eventually the technology would have to expand beyond fabric suits into something you could really 'coat' your body with, like a conductive paste sprinkled with sensors to reach parts of the body otherwise not accessible, and I mean ALL the parts  B). This could prove tricky for places like the the eyeballs or most importantly, the insides of your mouth (very important when simulating eating).

Taste and smell - Advances have been made and these senses seem quite easy to replicate artificially. Electrical stimulation and thermal changes can produce several major taste sensations like sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness, mintyness and spiciness. Although the technology have to develop into something you could wear on your tongue comfortably. Regarding smell there is already a device called "FeelReal" that can produce 7 odors so far, attachable to the Oculus Rift DK2. 

So lets say there's enough progress that we can artificially create all of these sensations using various technologies, will it feel exactly like reality? Sadly no. There are still other 'senses' like balance, acceleration, proprioception (position of the body parts), hunger, thirst, internal pain, nausea (why you would want those two I have no idea) and others that are near impossible to replicate with today's technology. The only way to influence these senses would be to surgically manipulate the brain, which we are very far from accomplishing. 

Another aspect, and possibly the most important one, is how do we create worlds that are as believable as the real one? I'm not just talking about the visual part, but how do we overcome the boundaries of digital environments like everything having to be precisely coded and planned in advance? Firstly there'd have to be advancement on the AI field, with the outcome of our actions being randomized within certain boundaries. Interaction would have to be unpredictable yet logical, with reactions seeming real and not picked out of an array as the response that made the most sense. I believe quantum computing will eventually let us create 'real' humans in virtual space, but that might also take a while.

In conclusion, virtual reality has come a long way in the last ~25 years, mainly in the visual aspect and new technologies are emerging to make digital worlds seem even more real. I'm certain that humanity will eventually move into virtual space to never return, and that we've found the answer to the Fermi Paradox, but that's just me  :D

I'm done rambling and would love to hear what other people have in mind regarding the future of Oculus Rift and virtual reality!

Comments

  • kuabikuabi Posts: 92
    Hiro Protagonist
    Touch controllers?
  • GenetixStudioGenetixStudio Posts: 770
    3Jane
    Haha that was a good read. I'm not going to delve to deep into my thoughts here... I think personally the best solution is to tap into our brains.

    When I am having a very detailed (or lucid) dream, I can experience the sensation of moving, falling, warmth, coldness, taste, hearing... so many things. Even though I am laying down, a vivid dream can feel extremely realistic, and at times you began to assume that is your reality.

    I think future VR experiences will essentially put you into a dream state - a lucid one that you aware of. They will literally send signals into your brain that put you into another reality.

    If that sounds all to sci-fi look at all of the work that is already being done, and products like the emotiv headsets. Maybe 20 years this could be a new reality!
  • Shadowmask72Shadowmask72 Posts: 3,225 Valuable Player
    Hey check this out. At least this attempts to get the "smell" sense tingling. 

    http://feelreal.com/


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  • LZoltowskiLZoltowski Posts: 6,554 Volunteer Moderator
    edited July 2016
    True immersion will become at VR singularity. When your HMDs can stimulate parts of your brain to simulate vision, sight, touch smell ... all of these are experienced though your body's own "sensors" that send signals to your Brain CPU. Bypassing your "sensors" and sending signals directly to your brain will bring true 100% immersion. Perhaps not as Macabre as a Matrix style interface, but brain stimulation via electromagnetic fields etc Until that happens all of those devices and doodas are just more hardware trying to fool our wetware.
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  • RiftsRifts Posts: 154
    Art3mis
    edited July 2016
    Haha that was a good read. I'm not going to delve to deep into my thoughts here... I think personally the best solution is to tap into our brains.

    When I am having a very detailed (or lucid) dream, I can experience the sensation of moving, falling, warmth, coldness, taste, hearing... so many things. Even though I am laying down, a vivid dream can feel extremely realistic, and at times you began to assume that is your reality.

    I think future VR experiences will essentially put you into a dream state - a lucid one that you aware of. They will literally send signals into your brain that put you into another reality.

    If that sounds all to sci-fi look at all of the work that is already being done, and products like the emotiv headsets. Maybe 20 years this could be a new reality!
    True immersion will become at VR singularity. When your HMDs can stimulate parts of your brain to simulate vision, sight, touch smell ... all of these are experienced though your body's own "sensors" that send signals to your Brain CPU. Bypassing your "sensors" and sending signals directly to your brain will bring true 100% immersion. Perhaps not as Macabre as a Matrix style interface, but brain stimulation via electromagnetic fields etc Until that happens all of those devices and doodas are just more hardware trying to fool our wetware.
    I agree that internal manipulation of the brain would be much more effective than external stimuli. Eventually this will probably become reality, but I think it's further down the road. There'll be a gradual increase in quality of the products that exists today, until eventually in 50-100 years, we can't tell virtual reality from the real world. Then we'll stop reproducing and everyone will die  >:)

    Although once we manage to actually tap into our minds and manipulate the nervous system, we probably know enough about the brain to create digital copies, which mean we could get an entire population of humans having no actual body and only living digitally.

    Unless we already are  ;)
  • CrashFuCrashFu Posts: 1,404
    Project 2501
    Yeah, VR will go with enhanced optics, haptic feedback, and other sensory simulation (such as "smell-o-vision") and then eventually culminate in Direct Neural Interface.

    AR on the other hand will probably focus its development on smarter environmental recognition / integration and.. possibly also haptics, although I think the overall goal there is for it to use less and less equipment.  IE trade in motion control devices for things like Leap Motion, or something very discrete and lightweight that you could wear in public and not get laughed at...  Then eventually all VR aspects of AR will be replaced completely with holograms, and sometime after that culminate in an actual Holodeck like on star-trek.

    But hey, right now we're still a few years away from affordable 4k resolution HMD screens, so my advice to everyone is to appreciate what we have now, and not be disappointed just because you can imagine something better. :wink:

    The next nerd to cry about "the resolution" of top-of-the-line VR devices will be permanently banned from using ALL standard-definition media.  And yes, that includes all pre-Switch Nintendo games. Especially Melee.
  • benplacebenplace Posts: 763 Poster of the Week
    edited July 2016
    I think a VR Fan would be cool.  With variable speed that runs based on your environment.  Imagine the snow scenes in Edge of Nowhere the fan would be on high and maybe the cave scenes are on low setting.
    It could have a pass through USB3 port so it can connect to your sensor without needing an additional outlet or USB port. Hell they could make it clip right onto the sensor bar...

  • GreymanGreyman Posts: 1,254
    Wintermute
    Another challenge with the sense of touch is that of resistance to movement.  If you have two hands on a virtual sword, what is to stop your hands separating.  well, in that example you could use a real life proxy, like a vive controller, but if you were to hit a virtual enemy with your fist, where would the resistance come from?

    Exo-skeleton comes to mind, on top of the body suit already mentioned, and the challenges associated with that it might actually be easier to use a matrix-style interface, to fool your arm and other associated muscles into thinking that your fist had hit an immovable object.

    One day maybe  
  • RiftsRifts Posts: 154
    Art3mis
    edited July 2016
    Greyman said:
    Another challenge with the sense of touch is that of resistance to movement.  If you have two hands on a virtual sword, what is to stop your hands separating.  well, in that example you could use a real life proxy, like a vive controller, but if you were to hit a virtual enemy with your fist, where would the resistance come from?

    Exo-skeleton comes to mind, on top of the body suit already mentioned, and the challenges associated with that it might actually be easier to use a matrix-style interface, to fool your arm and other associated muscles into thinking that your fist had hit an immovable object.

    One day maybe  
    Yes that would be another obstacle. As well as fooling your brain or using an exo-skeleton, you could probably use magnetism. Attach programmable magnetic pieces to your suit and then activate a powerful electromagnet mid-swing, and your arm will feel like it collided with something and retract in the opposite direction.
  • ZenbaneZenbane Posts: 12,594 Valuable Player
    edited July 2016
    Brain-to-computer interfacing is already happening.

    Here's just one example, but there's many more:

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/534206/a-brain-computer-interface-that-works-wirelessly/

    Blackrock Microsystems, have commercialized a wireless device that can be attached to a person’s skull and transmit via radio thought commands collected from a brain implant.

    We won't need Lighthouse nor Constellation tracking, and we won't need body tracking controllers, we will just need the power of our minds (and a moderately intrusive surgical procedure to put an implant in our brain).
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  • WarblokeWarbloke Posts: 931 Poster of the Week

    Did someone say 'Groinal attachment' ?


    (Seem to recall that from Red Dwarf's Kryton)

     

    "You can't believe everything you read on the Internet " :- Abraham Lincoln 
  • GreymanGreyman Posts: 1,254
    Wintermute
    Zenbane said:
    Brain-to-computer interfacing is already happening.

    Here's just one example, but there's many more:

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/534206/a-brain-computer-interface-that-works-wirelessly/

    Blackrock Microsystems, have commercialized a wireless device that can be attached to a person’s skull and transmit via radio thought commands collected from a brain implant.

    We won't need Lighthouse nor Constellation tracking, and we won't need body tracking controllers, we will just need the power of our minds (and a moderately intrusive surgical procedure to put an implant in our brain).
    That will be amazing, but it still sounds like the nervous system is being harnessed to generate output and not to accept the inputs that would be needed to fool the body into thinking it is experiencing something that it isn't.  

    That sort of technology is very likely to be a fair way off, not least for health and safety reasons, but it could still happen.


  • shadowfroggershadowfrogger Posts: 502
    Trinity
    edited July 2016
    Using ultra sonic sound waves ( too high for our ears to hear ). You can simulate neurons but is largely unknown precisely how it works. Once you are able to figure out how the process works, then have the targeting precision to target individual neurons. Then figure out how the brain systems works and how to hack into them. Then we could have full matrix like vr, it could even cut off your own motor cortex to stop you moving in real life but still read your movements for vr.

    There is research already into reading the visual cortex. Scientists can extract basic very blurry colour/video. Shown next to the real footage the patent was watching, it's undeniable that the footage somewhat matches but needs more research to understand the patern. This is good because it means the brain workings between humans is somewhat the same system and not totally a individual puzzle.

    While all the other technology is extremely hard to solve. The biggest task will be figuring out how the brain works. We will probably need self learning technology for that to happen as the complexities are staggering.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2014/02/09/ultrasonic-brain/#.V5IcL4YRU0M

    https://www.nextnature.net/2008/12/scientists-extract-images-directly-from-brain/
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  • nightauditor1981nightauditor1981 Posts: 302
    Nexus 6
    Google "Entrim 4d headset"! It is technology that exists and works today and will trick nerves in your inner ear to feel acceleration and rotation on all axis!

    It´s just a headset with build in electrodes. Imagine the implications for any kind of driving of flying simulator for example. You would finally be able to feel acceleration forces!

    I think the path we´re on will inevitably lead us to a real holodeck as you described it that involves all sense.

    We might be closer than we all think. It might already happen in the late 2020ies. We´ll see.
  • LZoltowskiLZoltowski Posts: 6,554 Volunteer Moderator
    Saw that video -- jeez if it s true this could be ground breaking 
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  • Map63VetteMap63Vette Posts: 141
    Art3mis
    I don't know, maybe you'd call it paranoia, but as soon as any device is directly engaging my nervous system I think I'm walking away.  Force feedback on controllers is easy enough and makes sense because you can easily let go as a safety measure, but if a steering wheel were to directly engage your arm muscles to contract to provide resistance, I don't think I'm willing to cross that line.  Zapping my inner ear to produce balancing stimulations is a cool idea, but it just seems like a huge can of worms on what could possibly go wrong or how different people will react to it.  Though we all might share a common "nervous highway" where X part of the brain interprets signals in a similar manner between people  (like the image extraction example above), I still think everyone is coded a little differently.  Think of threshold of pain as an example.  Some people can take extreme heat/cold/pain and it doesn't bother them or they just don't feel it as much whereas others flinch from the slightest touch.  If someone with "deadened" stimuli played a game and cranked up the settings to work for them then handed the interface to their friend who was more sensitive, things could get interesting in a hurry.
  • nightauditor1981nightauditor1981 Posts: 302
    Nexus 6
    I absolutely can understand your hesitation. I personally have dreamed of something like this for ages, so I am ready to click on the buy button as soon as I can.

    We´ll see what it actually feels like, but I think this could help with motion sickness. Maybe it could even get rid of it completely. I seriously can´t wait to sit in assetto corsa with that thing on my head and actually FEEL how hard an F40 accelerates when the turbo kicks in :)

    Or sitting in a cockpit in ED or Star Citizen and actually feel the ship rotate, feel the thrusters.

    I think this could be absolutely amazing. Well, I hope so at least :)
  • GenetixStudioGenetixStudio Posts: 770
    3Jane
    Many of us will likely be the early guinea pigs ;)
  • ZenbaneZenbane Posts: 12,594 Valuable Player
    Greyman said:
     it still sounds like the nervous system is being harnessed to generate output and not to accept the inputs
    Yes, based on that one report. However...

    Paralyzed Patient Uses Brain-Computer Interface to Walk
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/852053

    Why Brain-to-Brain Communication Is No Longer Unthinkable
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-brain-brain-communication-no-longer-unthinkable-180954948/?no-ist

    :o
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  • Map63VetteMap63Vette Posts: 141
    Art3mis
    I absolutely can understand your hesitation. I personally have dreamed of something like this for ages, so I am ready to click on the buy button as soon as I can.

    We´ll see what it actually feels like, but I think this could help with motion sickness. Maybe it could even get rid of it completely. I seriously can´t wait to sit in assetto corsa with that thing on my head and actually FEEL how hard an F40 accelerates when the turbo kicks in :)

    Or sitting in a cockpit in ED or Star Citizen and actually feel the ship rotate, feel the thrusters.

    I think this could be absolutely amazing. Well, I hope so at least :)
    I think it would still be interesting to "tune" it for each person though.  It still seems like you'd have to have some kind of adjustment between people to account for different perceptions.  What might feel like 1g to one person could come across differently to someone used to more or less than that, though who knows what technology will come up with.  I'm looking at building a simulator rig to get similar effects though, so I'm as much a dreamer as other people in a certain sense.
  • TwoHedWlfTwoHedWlf Posts: 2,217 Valuable Player
    Having to adjust some of the settings when changing users would be one of the most trivial issues. Just tie the settings to an individual profile on the system and done.
  • AdKiuCMAdKiuCM Posts: 106
    Art3mis
    Agreed with many of previous posters. Only proper BCI will give you full immersion.
  • ZenbaneZenbane Posts: 12,594 Valuable Player
    This is an older thread, but today I came across an article referencing the VR Teslasuit:

    http://teslasuit.io/





    When the entire body becomes this immersed (successfully), we will have taken ourselves to an impressive new height in human development!

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  • GreymanGreyman Posts: 1,254
    Wintermute
    Now, all i need is for them to do it in XXL  :)
  • MradrMradr Posts: 2,779 Valuable Player
    Yup, just got done playing a bit of COD in vr:

  • LZoltowskiLZoltowski Posts: 6,554 Volunteer Moderator
    Hellloooooooooooooooooooooooooo
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  • LZoltowskiLZoltowski Posts: 6,554 Volunteer Moderator
    As long it has blue lights on it im sold


    Core i7-7700k @ 4.9 Ghz | 32 GB DDR4 Corsair Vengeance @ 3000Mhz | 2x 1TB Samsung Evo | 2x 4GB WD Black
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  • feelrealfeelreal Posts: 12
    NerveGear
    Found this thread mentioning Feelreal Multisensory Mask  ;) Glad to announce that life has changed since 2016, and if you are still interested in full immersion, consider checking out Feelreal.com - we're going on Kickstarter very soon!
    Virtual reality will feel so real...
    ...with Feelreal  <3 

    World's First VR Multisensory Mask - soon on Kickstarter!
    http://www.feelreal.com/




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