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The Future - Virtual Worlds & Education

MediumMedium Posts: 15
edited June 2013 in General
Virtual reality and the possibilities that it creates I find both incredibly exciting and somewhat terrifying at the same time. I definitely believe that this technology has the potential to change the framework of our society. While the current integration into to legacy games have helped launch the Oculus launch, I am far more excited about the games that will be designed around the Oculus rift especially those that explore MMO virtual worlds.

Carbon Footprint:

Something I haven’t seen mentioned on these forums is the idea of how virtual reality could significantly minimize our carbon footprint on the world. Already a lot of companies are adopting new ideas about staff working from home. It minimizes overheads and with modern technology often staff are able to work more efficiently with fewer distractions while still communicating effectively with the wider team through modern communication means email, skype etc.

However not being in the same space as someone will always have its limitations. For instance explaining how to fix a car is much harder over the phone compared with having the car in front of both teacher and student so they can disassemble and reassemble things together. Virtual reality overcomes those kind of problems, in fact having an interactive CAD model of the car would probably be even better than the real thing!

Imagine how much our foot print on the world would reduce if 50% of people didn't have to drive to work every day. Also depending on how fulfilling our virtual environment was, people’s homes could be significantly smaller. As we could be expending less energy, the amount of food we need to consume could also decrease (probably unlikely until we get a good tasting steak in the virtual world - ).

However the idea of being trapped in a small room and spending the majority of our time in a virtual world is also kind of whack.


Another area I think Virtual reality could play a big role is Education. I think it’s no real surprise that our education system is out dated. The biggest change was the elimination of corporal punishment in 1967 or the replacement of OHPs with actual projectors :P

I have seen many ideas posted about the benefits of learning in a virtual environment. These have mostly revolved around the ability to visit for instance a volcanic eruption while learning about geology, or having 100,000 people attend the same class. However concepts such as “augmented gaze” in itself can radically increase the learning outcomes of students.

The lecture below from Stanford University outlines a number of really interesting ideas including adopting characteristics from our virtual Avatars etc. The stuff on “augmented gaze” is about 15 mins in.

Looking forward to hearing your ideas on how the future is going to play out ;)



  • edpsxedpsx Posts: 121
    Hiro Protagonist
    I think todays problem with education is the lack thereof of corporal punishment lol. Everyone is babied to the point of not being ready for real world applications due to the no child left behind mentality.

    But I do agree that education and the business world could greatly use VR to help our carbon footprints. Look at Ready Player One and their education system. Before you know it we are going to have a Carbon market like in Shangra-La
  • WalkyWalky Posts: 357
    Brain Burst
    I definitively see a lot of potential for phobia treatments and even other issues such as vertigo.
    It also seems like an obvious choice for after-war mental health problems treatment (IIRC, the US has been doing this for some years with videogames/simulators, just not with the Rift).

    What about using it for driver's license tests, placing the driver in certain situations before going for the real test?. Broken traffic lights, running into an accident, having an ambulance behind you trying to advance, are the kind of staged situations that could be simulated.

    This opens a lot of possibilities for disabled people, too (remember the first minutes of Avatar and you'll know what I mean).

    Some others applications I've had in mind are:

    - Visit your house before it's even built. I'm sure most architects would be blown away by the idea of them and their clients visiting their creation before construction is even started. Also, it could be a good way to find things that "don't look right" which might not be too obvious on the plans.

    - Concerts!: Live immersive concert streaming, cheaper tickets and you can watch it at home. Also, Blurays for home use, of course. There might be technical limitations, but wouldn't also be sweet to have 4K videos covering, say, an almost 180º FOV (or anything bigger than the Rift's) in which you can actually look around a little? (using a custom player, of course). Virtual singers like Hatsune Miku/Gorillaz would even allow for full virtual concerts which actually allow you to move around and maybe even join the singer!

    Speaking of concerts and Hatsune Miku, and idea came to my mind. What about the ultimate karaoke game?. Let's imagine something like this:

    Now imagine that the gameplay consists on you looking from the singer's POV, with a headset mic and the Hydra to move your arms (and virtual mic, too bad the hydras don't have built in mic hehe) around. You follow a scripted ride like on the video (looking around is still possible) while singing and "dancing" around with the Hydra. Other people can watch "you" on a monitor from the spectator's/camera point of view either in the same room or online. I see a lot of potential!

    The concert streaming idea could also be applied for a wide variety of other events like a real spacewalk (not sure if this one would be possible live, though), sports (Imagine having an F1 driver's POV, or watching a game from the best seat).

    Ideas just flow naturally. Hire me, Oculus, and I'll show you the way :lol:
  • SawersadamSawersadam Posts: 49
    Introducing Faceplace (tm)...
    Big places, small places, public places, private places
    Virtual meeting environments for the masses
    Was succesful on launch but truly exploded about the same time Oculus Rift could be driven by mobile tech....
    In 2nd place - simple to use Faceplace environment design tools... the world is obessesed with making their own places to invite visitors to....
  • sdcraigosdcraigo Posts: 1
    Just What Virtual Worlds Need: A New Paradigm – Live Video Avatars

    To many people, today’s avatars represent elaborate animations. Recently, however, much fanfare has been made about new technologies enabling animated avatars to mimic a wide range of users’ facial expressions. If you smile, your avatar smiles with you. If you frown, your avatar frowns. This development allegedly translates into greater realism. But is this realism “real” enough? If the objective is to make an avatar truly “real”, why not have it actually be real?

    Certainly there exists specific segments of the Virtual world population for whom animated avatars are preferred. These groups might include children under 10; teenaged gamers; and non-gaming adults in virtual worlds like Second life. In each of these examples, customization, fantasy, and/or anonymity take precedence over true realism.

    There are, however, a number of possible virtual world environments where users are likely to be interested in seeing avatars that are as realistic as possible. In fact, wouldn’t a live streaming video avatar of an actual person be a viable alternative to the currently available animations? This technology would allow for real time, face-to-face meetings in virtual worlds. People could actually see each other.

    One example of a real need for this technology is in the area of virtual world dating. As Violetta Krawczyk-Wasilewska and Andrew Ross said in their paper entitled “Matchmaking Through Avatars: Social Aspects of Online Dating”, “Once you have experienced the virtual delights of avatar dating in an online venue, taking that last fateful step and going for a real, physical, face-to-face meeting with your avatar date can only be a let-down.”

    Talk about a blind date! How could you even be certain of the gender of the animated avatar you were dating, let alone know what that person actually looks like in the real world?

    Distance learning and virtual campuses are other areas with enormous potential. Teachers and students could see each others’ actual faces in the virtual world, thereby facilitating a much richer and personally interactive learning experience.

    Imagine playing online poker with a table full of animated avatars. There is no way to read your opponents’ “tells” that you would otherwise pick up in a face-to-face situation. Given that the human face is capable of making over 50,000 different individual expressions, real time avatars clearly provide the advantage in such a nuanced environment. Otherwise, everyone will have their avatars set to “poker face”. So much for nuance.

    Lastly, imagine engaging in sensitive and/or high stakes business negotiations with “a tiny cat wearing a red bow tie…” N’uff said.

    Ultimately, the list of situations where it would be preferable to have real time avatars is almost limitless. So the question becomes, when can we expect to see live video avatars? The answer is… now. A company called Integrated Virtual Networks (IVN) has been developing patented live video avatar software called Silhouette.

    With Silhouette, each user in a virtual world is able to see and be seen as a live streaming video avatar at real time frame rates, along with synchronized audio. Silhouette works with a single high-speed web camera to extract a user’s video image from the user’s actual environment, without the need for a monochromatic (e.g. blue or green screen) background.

    You can see the direction IVN is going with its live video avatar software by looking at its rough in-house “proof of concept” video which was done completely in-world:

    As indicated in the beginning of this post, live video avatars will not be for everyone, but once the technology is fully developed, it could bring a needed dose of reality to virtual worlds.
  • WalkyWalky Posts: 357
    Brain Burst
    The sample video looks so much like good ol' FMV games (Phantasmagoria, etc)
  • PeejlePeejle Posts: 412
    Hiro Protagonist
    sdcraigo wrote:
    when can we expect to see live video avatars? The answer is… now.
    Would be interested in your thoughts on my related post here:
    Specifically the movers section.

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