Amid the hype about virtual reality and robotics at CES 2016, I strapped on a headset and exoskeleton designed to make you feel 40 years older. That’s right, older. The R70i Age Suit, made by a tech firm, Applied Minds LLC for Genworth Financial, an insurance company, simulates vision and hearing loss, as well as reduced mobility from muscle deterioration and arthritis.
At a party in Los Angeles in May, Patrón launched a virtual tour of the hacienda in Mexico where its agave is distilled. Birchbox announced that this month its men’s subscription box will include a virtual-reality viewer and app allowing its subscribers to surf or fly a helicopter. And at North Face stores, you can see virtual video of dudes climbing a rock face in the company’s gear. James Blaha, a game developer with severe lazy eye–a condition that affects about 2% to 3% of the world’s population–has used virtual reality to basically cure the disease in 30-minute sessions over three to four weeks; he’s sold 1,000 copies of the system to optometrists already. And Hollywood is putting nearly as much money as Silicon Valley into the concept.
Nearly every week, there’s a virtual-reality convention. Standing in line with 1,500 other people for the sold-out Virtual Reality Los Angeles spring expo in March to visit the booths of more than 50 companies, I am asked to sign a contract. It is not, like other tech releases, about me not telling anyone about anything I saw or thought I might have seen here. Instead, it says, “I am aware that some people experience nausea, disorientation, motion sickness, general discomfort, headaches or other health issues when experiencing virtual reality.
Virtual reality is no longer the domain of just science fiction and video games.
You feel as though you’re sitting in the same living room as (President) Clinton chats with an entrepreneur in Karatu, Tanzania, who sells solar-powered products. You appear to share a tent as Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, fit people in Nairobi, Kenya, with hearing aids. The movie also takes you to a Nairobi classroom that is part of a Clinton-backed initiative to improve education for young women and girls. It starts and ends with Clinton talking to you from his desk in New York.
On March 18, Sony (SNE) announced Project Morpheus, its long-term effort to develop a VR headset for the PlayStation 4. Sony’s idea is more social—displaying the virtual world from its glowing blue headset on a TV screen for others to watch. Morpheus also uses the PS4 camera to replicate user movement in-game. “Seeing how the development community was starting to respond to Oculus Rift (since acquired by Facebook) gave us a prompt to take something we were experimenting on and make it more of a product,” says Sony Computer Entertainment President Andy House, adding that Morpheus won’t be on shelves this year.
The flight simulator found in the home of Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of the missing MH370 has raised eyebrows, but as New York Times reports there are actually several communities of flight sim enthusiasts
“One of the largest, Delta Virtual Airlines, has 2,000 active pilots who must pass written and virtual flight tests in order to advance through the ranks as well as to fly progressively larger and more complex airplanes. They fly the same routes as the actual Delta Air Lines, sometimes on the same schedules. While a number of real Delta pilots and employees participate, Terry Eshenour, 70, a former Coca-Cola executive who serves as Delta Virtual Airlines’ president, emphasized that there was no formal affiliation with the real airline.
Most virtual aviators use one of two simulator software programs, Microsoft’s FSX or Laminar Research’s X-Plane, which interface with communication and tracking software usually provided free by one of the virtual flying networks. Within the last decade, a thriving market for so-called add-on software compatible with FSX and X-Plane has emerged. One of the most successful manufacturers is PMDG, which produces stunningly realistic add-ons that put users in the cockpits of aircraft like Boeing’s 737 and 777. All the switches and knobs you see on the screen are what you would see in the actual planes, and the programs come with Boeing manuals to help you figure out what’s what.”
Photo Credit – Smithsonian Air and Space magazine which has more on the fly at home trend in this article
Travelers flying out of Boston’s Logan International Airport may have met its newest assistant, Carla. She’s upbeat, informative – but not human.This hologramlike virtual assistant stands by one of Logan’s checkpoints, explaining the rules for passing through security. As she bops through each regulation, pictures of cellphones and toiletries (neatly packed into plastic bags) appear above her hands (like at 0.43 in video below) After the two-minute spiel, Carla repeats the message in Spanish.
“Project LifeLike is a collaboration between the Intelligent Systems Laboratory (ISL) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) that aims to create visualizations of people, or avatars, that are as realistic as possible. While their current results are far from perfect replications of a specific person, their work has advanced the field forward and opens up a host of possible applications in the not-too-distant future.”
"After downloading free software, users can create cartoonish
avatars, roam in virtual chat rooms, watch videos from Google's YouTube
and photos from Picasa, or create their own virtual rooms to chat with
friends and family. Lively avatars can assume different identities,
change cloths, laugh, cry and hug with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Google says Lively is a "20 percent project" by Google Labs, meaning
it's about 20 percent complete. The lab is where the company tests new
products before launching them. Unlike the real world, Google said it
is not planning to sell ads in its new virtual world."
"Torrens’s computer simulations let planners drop a few thousand virtual
people into a burning building, then sit back and take notes—with heat
coming only from the computer itself. The specific scenarios Torrens
creates could show firefighters how to save the most people, tell
architects where to place exits or barriers in stadiums, and guide
police forces in corralling unruly mobs."
"Torrens’s model, on the other hand, turns each individual into an
“avatar” with an artificial mind. Avatars can plan their own route,
adjust their path on the fly, and even respond to the body language of
fellow cybercitizens who may be jostling them."