I’ve been exposed to cutting edge Virtual Reality for more than two decades now, from the labs and far-seeing mind of Sensei Alan Craig [1-3] and other local gurus. After all these years, we are finally seeing these technologies coming together, not just 3D goggles, but whole body experiences. “Tomorrow” is almost here. After all, what are “haptics” other than “virtual reality” for body senses?
The big news lately isn’t so much any nov ideas, it is that developers are finally able to bring together many senses in the same virtual world interface. And it is coming fast!
Case in point, AconVR demonstrated their technology at CES 2017. They are shooting for the whole body experience, including locomotion, touch, and temperature.
Evan Ackerman reported that “With AxonVR, the touch sensation is presented with such precision and specificity that I’m tempted to say that imagination isn’t even necessary.”
It says a lot that the well informed and experienced Ackerman found it so cool that “I spent most of the demo giggling like a little kid.”
Beyond the CES demo, AxonVR is working on a full body exosuit eith force feedback, which will simulate standing, walking, and so on.
Phew! The works!
If the full suit is as impressive as the touch and heat demonstration seems to be, this will be very impressive. (Not least because they seem to have their heads screwed on right about the software development environment.)
With wonders coming so fast, how are we mere mortals supposed to keep up?
Cool as this sounds, readers of this blog are well aware that there is yet more senses that could be folded in. Within a few years we will see a full body interface like AxonVR, which also has taste and chewiness, kissing, and, of course naughty knickers.
One of the mountains that still has to be climbed is to do creative things with multiple people in the VR. This might mean “riding along” inside someone else’s experience, or side by side, touching the same world (and each other). This multi-person version opens the way for new forms of dance and other performance art….
- Alan B. Craig. Understanding Augmented Reality: Concepts and Applications, San Francisco, Morgan Kaufman, 2013.
- Alan B. Craig, William R. Sherman, and Jeffrey D. Will, Developing Virtual Reality, Burlington, MA, Morgan Kaufmann, 2009.
- William R. Shermn and Alan B. Craig, Understanding Virtual Reality: Interface Application and Design, San Francisco, Morgan Kaufmann, 2003.