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What Ever Happened to Virtual Reality?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the it-stayed-similar dept.

Graphics 431

bergeron76 writes "It seems like it's been ages since I heard of any advances in "Virtual Reality" technology. Was Virtual Reality just hype? Are there any new or existing projects that have made any significant inroads (aside from the first-person shooter games)? Is total virtual immersion a worthless persuit / dead industry? If not, what are the bottlenecks that are delaying it?"

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What Ever Happened to Virtual Reality? (3, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401344)

It's all virtual of course!

Re:What Ever Happened to Virtual Reality? (5, Funny)

wickedsteve (729684) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401441)

This all seems so very real. You didn't even notice the transition did you?

Virtual reality... (5, Insightful)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401345)

See Doom 3 or Half Life newblah.

Re:Virtual reality... (2, Insightful)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401386)

I wasn't trolling, thats about as far as conusmer use of a virtual reality seems to have gone. If you have reason to believe otherwise, I'd like to read it.

(-1 troll is a pretty weak reason)

vp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401350)

fp

Re:vp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401377)

VP? Is that "virtual post"?

Didn't you hear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401352)

Virtual reality became so good you can't tell if your inside it, or outside it!... except that inside it, you don't hear anything about virtual reality.

Better Than Life (1, Funny)

cryptoz (878581) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401360)

from the British Red Dwarf series. Need I say more?

Easy Answer (5, Funny)

KyleNicholson (629756) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401367)

The Matrix scared everyone.

Re:Easy Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401395)

Just take the red pill

Re:Easy Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401500)

No, they had all seen Johnny Mnemonic and realized how crappy it was.

come on.. (5, Interesting)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401370)

We've been through this.. the most impressive VR advancements are going on at general motors, outside of the military training programs. read more [industrysearch.com.au]

Re:come on.. (2, Funny)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401436)

... it got patented...

Re:come on.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12401614)

That article's from five years ago.

What do you mean? (5, Funny)

screwballicus (313964) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401372)

In 1995, Virtual Reality systems reached the apex of all conceivable technological possibility [nintendo.com] , realised its own state of perfection, and ceased to advance for lack of further necessity.

Re:What do you mean? (3, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401672)

realised its own state of perfection, and ceased to advance for lack of further necessity.

Actually, it just got cancelled [imdb.com]

Do not question Virtual Reality. (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401376)

The computer loves you.

Now get back in your pod and shut up.

Too risky? (4, Informative)

DyslexicLegume (875291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401378)

Developers probably don't want to take any inovative "risks"...remember what happened with the Virtual Boy, so that's my guess as to why we haven't seen a lot of VR stuff.

Re:Too risky? (3, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401647)

My graphics card can output stereo images for feeding into a true 3d headset.

I was under the impression Direct 3d is geared towards allowing this kind of configuration, and games using it can automatically benefit.

The only part I see lacking is the gloves and complete immersion kits (Yes I know there are gloves, but I haven't seen them pushed anywhere apart from zzz.com.ru).

VR is with us already, its just not looking like Tron.

Actually (5, Funny)

Dante Shamest (813622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401381)

It seems like it's been ages since I heard of any advances in "Virtual Reality" technology. Was Virtual Reality just hype?

Ah, the irony. I love my job.

- The Architect

Re:Actually (1)

necrofluxneo (876830) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401569)

Ah, the irony. I love my job. -God

Re:Actually (1)

SomethingOrOther (521702) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401612)


Ah, the irony. I love my job.

Irony! dude, read an MSM [1] newspaper!,

These days it's nanotechnology thats ironic. "Cyberspace" "information superhighway" and VR were all ironic ten years ago :-)

[1] MSM = Main stream media... not a blog

RIP (4, Funny)

Jondro (776355) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401382)

Nintendo killed it when they released the Virtual Boy

Re:RIP (1)

mack.michael (880512) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401680)

It wasn't Virtual Boy, it was The Lawnmower Man [imdb.com] . That at least started it, then when The Lawnmower Man 2 [imdb.com] hit the stage, people just ran away screaming.

What do you mean? (4, Funny)

writermike (57327) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401384)

Virtual Reality is on TV every night of the week!

Buh-doom-boom-Sis.

Re:What do you mean? (3, Funny)

Justin205 (662116) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401403)

We need a "+/-1 Bad Joke" moderation...

Re:What do you mean? (2, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401469)

That's what Funny is for.

Not hyped much (5, Informative)

moz25 (262020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401387)

With all the advances in 3D (gaming) technology, I suppose that the hype has worn off. It's just not newsworthy anymore to be able to simulate a virtual environment.

One area in which Virtual Reality has been generating very positive effects is, unexpectedly (?), therapy against phobias and traumas. An example is fear of heights where people can confront their fears in a simulated (and thus controlled) environment and gradually let go of them.

So yes, I'd say that Virtual Reality does improve people's lives in at least one way that doesn't involve shooting at things.

Re:Not hyped much (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401558)

Israelis are using virtual reality to treat suicide bombing victims [israelinsider.com] .

I thought there was a Slashdot article on this a while back, but I couldn't find the link.

Re:Not hyped much (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401591)

I don't understand the letting go of phobias - the day I stop being scared of heights is when falls stop hurting me.

Re:Not hyped much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12401663)

Sure, recent video games have very good virtual environments.

VR is more about using a helmet and gloves instead of a computer screen and a keyboard to interact with the virtual environment.

VR died because people found out that they *prefer* the screen and keyboard.

Re:Not hyped much (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401691)

One area in which Virtual Reality has been generating very positive effects is, unexpectedly (?), therapy against phobias and traumas.

Also, treatment of burn victims, for whom painkillers are not enough; they spend some time in an immersive 3D environment and it helps distract them from the pain in a soothing way.

Pursuit (5, Informative)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401388)

It's spelt pursuit, not persuit.

And AR (Augmented Reality) seems to have taken the place of VR lately, lots of progress has been made in that end.

More importantly, VR equipment and tracking is usually prohibitively expensive, which I'd guess is partly responsible for the lack of any apparent progress.

Also, the suspension of disbelief in VR is quite important - not so in AR, since it only attempts at adding more information to the existing reality.

Re:Pursuit (3, Interesting)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401658)

The primary advantage AR has over VR is that AR uses the parts of the body that aren't just the eyes and ears: proprioception, vestibular perception, and othe cues that old-fashioned VR just can't handle. The disjunct between vestibular information and visual information that you get in VR is the source of the motion-sickness that often accompanies it.

VR, like a lot of early 'cyberspace' mythology, was built on an unrealistic rejection of the body, and a fantasy of "pure mind."

Re:Pursuit (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401670)

Not to mention that if not done right, VR has the capability to make people vomit. Studies found that when some people turned their head in a VR system but the visuals couldn't keep up, they vomited....

Re:Pursuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12401686)

It's spelled "spelled," not "spelt." Spelt is a form of grain related to wheat.

Definition of VR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401392)

Virtual Reality (Vert-you-al ree'-al-utee), n: Bad games.

The title sort of sounds like the Full House theme (1)

dalamarian (741404) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401393)

"Whatever happened to virtual reality, the milkman the paperboy evening tv.."

Yeah, I might have spent too much time at the terminal this weekend.

Re: Whatever happened? (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401401)

Was Virtual Reality just hype?

There is NO THING such as Virtual Reality, Mr. Anderson.

One major bottleneck: (5, Interesting)

sniepre (517796) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401410)

I work with a guy who started up a video game company called Park Place Productions (Which Sony ended up gobbling up in a hostile takeover years ago.) He was responsible for the Madden series of football games among many other things.

At one stage he was working on a virtual reality headseat (Similar to the VirtualBoy style visor) except you wore it on your head and controlled it with two handheld sensors / input pads.

It was phenomenal, until during a demonstration with an investor, the user got tricked into thinking it was real and actually stepped backwords and fell over the couch he was standing in front of and twisted his ankle. The product did not sell.

So yes, the bottleneck is definable in one word: Liability.

Re:One major bottleneck: (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401466)

At one stage he was working on a virtual reality headseat

Headseat? Must've been uncomfortable to keep your head pressed to a seat to use this for games!

Thanks, I'll be here all week, tip your wait staff.

Re:One major bottleneck: (1)

brainstyle (752879) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401581)

A bigger bottleneck for the traditional VR approach is the conecpt of the visor itself. Basically, with a visor, you're staring at a screen a few inches from your nose for a protacted period of time. Focusing on that is not fun; put a book in front of your face for an hour and see if you enjoy it. Worse still, to get the stereo effect you're effectively crosseyed the entire time. The eye strain produces headaches after a short while, which definitely isn't something you want every time you play a game.

Having said that, I suspect when things like this [virtuallyjenna.com] become compatable with a better VR technology that doesn't produce the eyestrain, the newer technology will come down in price...

Re:One major bottleneck: (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401586)

Sheesh, that's stupid.

It would be kind of obvious to me that if you're going to play with a headset that completely obscures your vision you should do that in some place where there's no danger.

Although I suppose that there's the inconvenience of that not everybody can clear enough space to use a thing like that, unless it can be used sitting on a chair or lying on a bed.

Virtual Reality (4, Funny)

warewolfsmith (196722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401413)

I Googled "Virtual Reality" Results 18,100,000 Hits for Virtual Reality. It seems the technology is everywhere.

ahead of its time (2, Insightful)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401414)

VR was ahead of its time , it was trying to skip a few steps in the eveloutionry chain.It really was a step beyond its ability , VR is still used for treatment of those suffering mental traumas(physical and pyschological) so it was not an entier dead end. Its jsut the entertainment industry was at the time not ready for it , and in pushing it has set it back a while as its seen as a joke.
With the advances in 3d Graphics and so forth ,the Reality of Virtualy reality may soon come around . Right now though , its still a joke .

Re:ahead of its time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401480)

...the Reality of Virtualy reality may soon come around.

virtually?

Dude (1)

Sai Babu (827212) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401429)

This whole on-line interaction is virtual reality.

the only killer app is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401433)

pr0n. oh and what an app it is!

Oh its still on the way. (4, Informative)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401445)

Stuff like the shifty floor seen a while back here on /. (http://www.trnmag.com/Stories/2004/081104/Shifty_ tiles_bring_walking_to_VR_Brief_081104.html [trnmag.com] are helping advance the non-graphics side of things, anyway. Lots of work on haptic interfaces seems to be working on the feedback side, not sure what the current state of that art is though.

I suspect the questioner is actually looking for a holodeck though, we're still quite a ways from that ;)

Virtual and Augmented Reality (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401449)

Like most "hot" technologies of the past, virtual reality has lost its buzzword factor and instead has found real applications which save real money. It's used as a visualization tool (CAVE), primarily in the automotive industry. The buzz has moved on to "augmented reality", which combines a virtual reality with the real environment. Both technologies are still held up by the lack of affordable and lightweight high resolution displays. Virtual reality therefore typically surrounds the user with big stationary screens. That is not feasible for augmented reality. The more interesting applications are in the augmented reality field, so there's your hold-up.

it's obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401453)

It became so realistic that no-one can see it anymore... or at least they don't know when they do.

The human mind/body isn't ready for this (0, Troll)

IntergalacticWalrus (720648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401458)

If you ask me VR has never started up because it's a health hazard. Putting two screens next to a person's eyes to falsify a sense of 3D has been proved to be harmful, potentially causing dizziness and other nasty effects, and IIRC in some rare (but not insignificant) cases it would even cause permanent sight problems. Remember all those warnings that came with the Virtual Boy? And that was just half-assed VR, imagine one using modern technology.

Re:The human mind/body isn't ready for this (2, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401629)

A tip for posting around here...if you're going to claim that something that isn't common knowledge has been proved, you'll need to cite your source, preferably with a hyperlink.

Otherwise, nobody's likely to take you seriously.

Sony (2, Interesting)

shoebert (819099) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401462)

What about the patent Sony has on the Matrix-esque technology?

Oddly Enough... (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401465)

...I went to an open day at the University of Central Lancashire (Begin the slagging off), last saturday were they has a full demonstration of this, it was pretty good, using 3 rear projexted screens to make a 3d hallway, you could view it using special glasses, they then brought out a head set that changed the orientation. It was pretty good. They are even starting 3 courses this year based around digital images and imersion.

I do, however, post this drunk, this did infact happen (the whole university thing) but should account for lack of grammer and spelling.

Re:Oddly Enough... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401552)

...I went to an open day at the University of Central Lancashire (Begin the slagging off), last saturday were they has a full demonstration of this, it was pretty good, using 3 rear projexted screens to make a 3d hallway


VR Caves [uic.edu] are still on the high-end of the market.

Consumer stereo glasses have come down in price to $200 and less.

Re:Oddly Enough... (1)

Dougy (825777) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401655)

I saw something pretty similar at the University of Reading in February. The person demonstrating it was able to move around and interact with the scenery - by no means finished but looked as if it could develop into something quite impressive - they even mentioned having mutiple users via the internet as a future possibility.

No consumer porn applications (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401470)

If VR porn doesn't show up then this technology will never reach the masses.

Re:No consumer porn applications (5, Funny)

rfc1394 (155777) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401646)

As Dennis Miller is reported to have said, "When some unemployed punk in Trenton, New Jersey can buy a plug-in for $29.95 that allows him to make love to Cindy Crawford, Virtual Reality is going to make crack look like Sanka."

It's everywhere (1, Insightful)

orangeguru (411012) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401478)

Doom3, the Sims etc. these are all virtual realities. People just got over the whole helmet thingy.

Well.... (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401482)

I though all realities were virtual.

Nobody ever cared (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401484)

Yep, you read it here first. Nobody *EVER* cared about "virtual reality". It was media manufactured hype reinforced by a couple terrible movies and books.

"Virtual Reality" was a grossly inaccurate prediction of the future of entertainment. As it turns out it is completely impractical, and more then that people are generally happy with plain old boring 2d entertainment in the first place.

IVY (Immersive Virtual Environment at York) (5, Informative)

rmpotter (177221) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401485)

York University in Toronto has an interesting facility:

York's virtual reality room turns perception on its head

Home to Canada's only fully-immersive environment

TORONTO, March 31, 2005 -- Jumping into the virtual world of a
videogame is helping York University researchers understand how humans orient themselves on solid ground and in outer space.

Professor Michael Jenkin and his team at York's Centre for Vision Research have developed a 'virtual reality room' called IVY (Immersive Virtual Environment at York) in order to study our perception of gravity and motion, and how we orient ourselves spatially.

"We're displaying an environment from [the popular videogame] Doom right now, but of course that's just an example of one simulation," Jenkin says.

The room is the only six-sided immersive environment in Canada, and one of a mere handful internationally. Its walls, ceiling and floor are comprised of pixel maps generated by a cluster of computers running Linux. The entire structure is made of the same glass used in the CN Tower's observation deck. The floor alone took two years to complete.

Researchers are able to manipulate the environment within IVY, changing the scenery and its orientation, in order to understand how people become disoriented and how their internal perception of 'up' and 'down' is informed.

"Some people become incredibly confused. I've actually seen people fall over in there," Jenkin says.

The research is being used by the Canadian Space Agency and National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) to find ways to help strengthen astronauts' sense of 'up' and 'down' in zero gravity environments.

Jenkin's team also hopes to find methods of counteracting the gradual loss of spatial orientation that occurs as we age.

One of the most challenging aspects of IVY's design was to create a system that allowed subjects to experience both the look and feel of moving through the virtual space.

A graduate student developed a wireless 'head-tracking' device that follows subjects' movements and alters the displays accordingly. Users wear stereo shutter glasses which give a 3-D effect.

"The computer compensates when you move around so it looks correct. It knows where you've moved, where your eyes are," says Jenkin.

As the country's only truly immersive environment, IVY is also in demand from private industry for a myriad of projects.

"If someone brings us their data set, we can render it and they can walk through and interact with it," says Jenkin.

"We're constantly pushing the boundaries and learning how better to do VR."

-30-

We don't need it (4, Funny)

TangLiSha (737850) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401492)

Who needs virtual reality when you have reality tv?

It's a UNIX system! (2, Interesting)

mr_spatula (126119) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401493)

I hate to retread a previous comment, but according to the movie "Jurassic Park," it was replaced by UNIX systems.

The concept of VR has amused me for a very long time. It's what makes watching movies like "Lawnmower Man" so amazingly funny in this day and age.

I've been taking a 3D modeling class, and it has about three paragraphs dedicated to VR. The content is pretty worthless - but the picture of a dolphin leaping out of a monitor towards a man who is leaning back to avoid it is completely priceless.

In all seriousness, there was a short blurb about full-room "holodeck" like simulations being used for engineering work - but it didn't go into any details. Anyone know anything more about that?

Re:It's a UNIX system! (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401624)

I hate to retread a previous comment, but according to the movie "Jurassic Park," it was replaced by UNIX systems.

http://www.sgi.com/fun/freeware/3d_navigator.html [sgi.com]

my saying.. (1)

Nexcet (792231) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401501)

Virtual Reality was just made up word to get pass the delay of Three-dimensional environments, which isn't an issue now. So gone it went.

Its all around you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401506)

whats the point of virtual reality, when its what ever you want it to be in the first place :)

Progress in VR is happening all the time (3, Interesting)

SPYDER Web (717344) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401509)

I think progress in VR is going on all the time its just not labeled as such because it is such an expansive category. If you look at the next generations of games that are coming out and the pushing of PCI-express and the new graphics cards, graphics are progressively looking closer to Reality. Now having said that that is only part of the VR question. Interacting more realisticly with that world is essential. We are seeing new steps into 3d Projection,almost holographic displays, and what I feel is the most important step experiements using brainwaves to control movement in simulated enviroments. The techologies havent collided yet into a single form but when they all catch up to each other then we will have true VR. Forget about Virtual Boy which as most of us no was neither true 3d nor Virtual Reality, also excuse the PS2 Eyetoy which are both just novelity items.

It has no real purpose yet... (2, Informative)

east coast (590680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401512)

People still have too many problems with the 2-d monitor and the standard 104 or 101 keyboard. Adding anything to this design at this point would only highten the learning curve and would generate less interest. Perhaps there is a handful of people who can honestly make good use of VR but the majority of us (not just Joe Sixpack) aren't living up to the potential of the box sitting on our desk.

what about vrml? (1)

Mantorp (142371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401517)

do browsers still support it? I haven't seen a page using that in about 10 years.

VR is dead. (1)

Airconditioning (639167) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401518)

Because noone wants to wear those silly headsets. The technology was cool but the application was clumsy.

that's what i've been wondering! (1)

lo_fye (303245) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401523)

It was *ages* ago that i donned the ForteVR helmet and played Duke Nukem 3D on a Pentium 120Mhz. 3D accelerator cards weren't around yet. 3D sound cards weren't around yet. LCDs were low resolution, low refresh -- no wonder it made us sick as dogs! The helmet had a serial connection to the PC! I'm waiting for LucasArts to pave the way by bundling a bluetooth wireless force-feedback lightsabre and helmet with some future incarnation of Jedi Knight. You *know* we'd all buy one, even if it was *expensive*.

It went the way of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401531)

The dodo bird and your sensibility *removes clothes* Ahhh, brisk!

wasn't there some game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401541)

I seem to remember reading a few months ago about some online game where you can buy your own island...

.hack// (1)

Toloran (858954) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401543)

I personally am more afraid of the .hack// senerio of "bad things that can happen in VR". None the less, the main reason I am waiting for VR is to play an mmorpg like the one in .hack// =?

Re:.hack// (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401600)

I'm more afraid of hearing "but that's impossible!" five times every half hour.

Limitations to VR (2, Insightful)

Mage Inq. (651824) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401548)

I once took a class back in college which discussed some of limitations of virtual reality (this was back in '93). Until some of these things are addressed, and not just the economic factors, VR might not really ever take off.

For example, how do you address the gravity problem? How can you virtually simulate something that has physical weight, like throwing a virtual ball and catching it?

And if we have public access to VR devices (assuming it's still economically unfeasible for mass market personal purchasing), how do you cope with the "icky" factor? Would you want to use some VR helmet or gloves after some greasy, unkempt guy just used it?

Perhaps true VR may not be possible unless it was purely a sensory experience (like in The Matrix) or using artificially created matter (like holodecks), and the best we're going to get are fancy 3D displays with some amount of immersion.

Visual pointer (1)

digital.prion (808852) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401551)

Not sure about VR but as a sidepoint I'd love to see a system that uses my "EYES" as a pointing device for objects on the screen.

Imagine being able to just lookat a buttin and then mash a joystick type button held in the hand! Everything from first person shooters to regular computer tasks would/could seem to take half the time - being that everything is happening minus the mouse or trackball.

obviously (1)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401556)

Porn! Screw flying cars, where's the VR smut?

Porn drives innovation in ways that Bill Gates can only dream about. Bring on the 3D titties now, and in a few years 'legitimate' uses will be commonplace.

Economics (1)

CowbertPrime (206514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401559)

Ok if you want total immersion you will minimally need the following technology:
  1. head mounted display (HMD), which has the following functional requirements:
    1. 3D motion tracking/telemetry
    2. high resolution display
    3. "ease" of use
  2. Full body tactile feedback suit also supporting basic telemetry (i.e. position of limbs)
  3. devices for simulating body position (i.e. treadmill for walking, chair for sitting, etc.)
All this stuff can use USB2 or firewire to interface with the computer. Then all you need to do is write the driver and application support code (like currently exists for joysticks, headsets, and DDR pads). The problem is, the current VR devices cost too much for your typical gamer to buy it just to play counterstrike in full immersion.

visual displays (1)

duran.goodyear (257083) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401568)

The biggest hurdle right now is the quality of display technology.

The cost of a small display devices, that can provide fast response times, vibrant colors, and aren't heavy and power intensive is the big issue.

These devices are approaching, and will happen eventually, but the HMD that you used to see that looked like giant insect heads that probably needed a big counter weight on them.

As technologies that allow the image to be drawn directly on your eyeball, and LCD technology shrinks you will see the possibilities of virtual reality, and more specificly, "hyper" reality bearing fruit.

I think we will see people using "hyper" reality technology in the work place much sooner then we'll have full sensorium virtual reality systems.

Boeing already is experimenting with hyper-reality systems, which are images displayed on goggles much like heads up display systems that map out the wiring maps for jumbo jets. Allowing the builders of the airplanes to see where things are going, with out having to take their eyes away from what they are working on. Boeing has been using or experienting with this since 97.

http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9711/21/t_t/jet.set.wiring / [cnn.com]

http://www.temple.edu/ispr/examples/ex02_08_01b.ht ml [temple.edu]

Why I don't worry (1)

Sarcasmooo! (267601) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401571)

As long as computer nerds like us yearn to have sex with famous models, celebrities, and porn stars, there will never be month or a year where progress is not made in virtual reality technology.

Tin Hats on! (5, Funny)

femto (459605) | more than 9 years ago | (#12401575)

Contrary to popular belief [slashdot.org] , virtial reality was not perfected in 1995. In reality VR was perfected in 1994. 10:42pm on 29th November to be precise. At this time, the US population was sedated by the United Nations via a dose to the drinking water supply. When they woke up 24 hours later, the entire nation was "Trumanised".

To keep suspicions at bay, advances in VR were removed from this new reality.

It's hard on the US people, but that was the only way the world could keep their growing nuclear arsenal at bay. On the bright side, GWB is just a bad dream (one they will never wake up from).

This post will not be posted on the VR version of slashdot.

What happened to QTVR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401588)

Anybody know why Apple doesn't support Quicktime VR for OS X? I used to use the QTVR panorama stitcher to create QTVR's, but since 9 I haven't seen an X version.

Heres an intersting VR blog.

http://www.mediavr.com/blog/ [mediavr.com]

VR is not dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12401601)

VR is very much alive and a lot of research is being done. It is just not being used in home entertainment and gaming. In areas like Industrial Design and architecture however VR is just now starting to come into its own.

It's the hardware... (3, Interesting)

sterno (16320) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401603)

The problem is that the concept of VR has run into the physical limitations of hardware. For example, you can play a game where you can look around and hold a gun like device and point it at people. But once you try to walk, duck, roll, etc, you run into the limits of the system quite quickly.

So while we can trick the eyes and the ears, we've still got some senses that are firmly grounded in this reality that keeps it from being totally effective. VR does have some practical applications in the medical and manufcaturing fields, but as it was envisioned for entertainment, it's not quite there.

If we can ever manage to figure out a way to connect a computer to all human sensory input, it won't really get much further. That could mean using some sort of body suit that can fake the sensations of movement, etc, or perhaps a direct interface into the brain.

Almost VR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12401609)

This is not quite VR, but it is 3D immersion through video eyeware. In the future I am going to attempt to build a teleprescense robot using this, if I can get the money...

http://www.icuiti.com/ [icuiti.com]

I've always wondered... (1)

NaNO2x (856759) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401610)

What happend to holographs? I mean it seemed like such a cool technology, are there any future plans of development? Or is there some huge use that I don't know about going on?

Well there is.. (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401613)

TrackIR! It rules for flight simulators, http://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/ [naturalpoint.com]

Allows you to use your headmovement instead of a hatstick to change your view direction in the game!

Eleven Reasons Why Virtual Reality Stalled (4, Informative)

Nooface (526234) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401617)

This presentation from Virtual Reality pioneer Jaron Lanier [advanced.org] reveals the Top Eleven Reasons VR has not yet become commonplace [advanced.org] . He identifies a number of factors that have held back the adoption of VR by consumers, including key limitations in hardware capabilities and backlash from unsound business practices in its early days. He also points out where research still needs to be done. However, he concludes with the observation that VR has already succeeded as an industrial technology, where it is used regularly in product design and other automation tasks.

LCD resolution seems to be limiting factor (1)

-Harlequin- (169395) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401630)

320x200 pixels, (or even 640x480) might be ok when it's on a monitor - 10% of your field of view, but when it's your entire field of view, as with VR glasses, it's horrible.

There are now VR glasses which are lightweight and even aesthetically discreet, but the resolution remains atrocious. I'm not an engineer, so I don't know why that is, but my guess is that anything commerically viable has to use off-the-shelf LCDs that are physically small, which basically means low resolution.

Hopefully, DLP micromirrors will offer a way to put decent resolution into something that looks not much bigger than eyeglasses, but it may take a while for the price to come down. (Again, just guessing)

Tech Limitations (5, Interesting)

Effugas (2378) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401631)

What's wrong with VR? Hmm, this was the first tech subject I ever investigated in depth, and it's kind of amusing it hasn't gotten much better after all these years. I was just ranting about this a little while ago [slashdot.org] , but I'll go more in depth here:

There are some real problems with latency. Modern operating systems have a really hard time with the idea that there are hard deadlines that must be met on a sub-100ms basis. Even some graphics programmers hold onto the myth that 30fps has anything to do with how fast the human eye can detect motion. The reality is that we detect different faults at different rates, but anything that's tied to our own sense of motion has to be accurate at somewhere around the frame rate of touch.

The frame rate of our haptic senses is something on the order of 3000 frames per second.

That doesn't mean you need to update a display at 3000fps (though ironically enough, that's approximately the frequency of the fluorescent backplane on an LCD), but it does mean that if you're trying to show someone something at the same time a touch simulator is telling them they are, frames need to interrupt-updated at a speed that even the core operating system has trouble handling.

What do I mean by touch simulators? Nothing so complex as this per-finger force feedback weirdness that pulled back on each finger as I touched a virtual cockpit back at SIGGRAPH. No, anything involving a head-mounted display and a position detector is a touch simulator; the "feel" comes from within your head and neck and the reaction is to be visually accompanied by a display of motion.

But the display is always, always, always late! Look at the monitor. Now move your head and eyes, look at whatever's 90 degrees off to the right. For a noticable sub-second interval, you went blind, so that your brain would not need to contend with this blurry streaky mess. To be immersive, VR systems need to detect your motion, synthesize the appropriate blur-frames, and (hardest of all) have a convenient stable frame in front of you as you're escaping motion-blindness.

Everything head-mounted fails this just brutally.

There are vague successes in VR, of course. Driving simulations work fantastically, but it's not like driving is a massively natural feat for our brains to have adapted to in the first place. Screens on every window clean up the above quite neatly. And the phobia work functions because the fears operate on such a low level that your brain isn't able to employ resources such as "heh, that spider's moving wrong". These are useful and impressive successes, but in terms of general purpose "you are elsewhere" mechanisms -- until latency is dealt with appropriately, this will continue to be broken tech.

--Dan

it's been changed slightly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12401634)

i was reading an article on another site where they were speculating on nintendo's new console, and the guy was talking about a panel of directors including peter jackson talking about how in the next few years they're gonna add some simple 3d to theatres. one of the guys from the panel apparently claimed that a game console would beat them to it. it was some stereo technology to allow images to still appear in 3d without glasses.

COMMENT GENERATOR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12401641)

"I'm feeling baklept... talk among yourselves, talk among yourselves!"

Jaron Lanier's answer (3, Informative)

pato perez (570823) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401664)

Lanier was VRs biggest promoter in the late 80's. I remember seeing him give a demo at the time, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. It was a pretty exciting and compelling talk about cool stuff just around the corner. But then, years passed, and nothing happened.... He recently gave a talk about why VR hasn't happened, after all: http://www.baychi.org/calendar/20030909/#1 [baychi.org]

Disney Flying Magic Carpet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12401685)

Anybody else here ever get a chance to try the Disney Magic Carpet ride at Epcot? I was one of the chosen few when they were first building it and demoing it to the crowd ... and it basically let you fly around on a magic carpet as you wore a near-weightless (supported by wires) headset, and you straddled a motorcycle-seat like seat. Very cool stuff ... not sure if it ever turned into a mainstream ride or not ... but lots of fun.

Not all hype (2, Informative)

siilarsi (836310) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401688)

Virtual Reality is actually in use today.
It's being used by architects to inspect their yet to be buildings.
It's also used in the medical industry as well, apparently it's particulary useful as a mean of viewing strings of DNA in.

When VR first emerged it was thought by many to be the next big thing for gaming, but not a lot of people thought about it being used in the industry.
I guess these days it's the other way round.

I think it's matured enough to be useable by now. People just need to find out how.

My guess? They realized control systems are behind (2, Insightful)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#12401690)

My guess is they realized "Virtual Reality" won't really have much potential (which translates to profit) until there are better ways to interact with the games then a keyboard/controller/clunky motion sensors. Not to mention decent head-mounted displays are still quite costly.... I for one can't wait till input systems improve, and you aren't limited by the controller.
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