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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Another Virtual Reality - 1439 words
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.. tem and anorientation system with rotation angles called roll,pitch and yaw. The ADL-1 from Shooting Star isa sophisticated and inexpensive (relative to othertrackers) 6D tracking system which is mounted onthe head, and converts position and orientationinformation into a readable form for the computer.The machine calculates head/object position bythe use of a lightweight, multiply-jointed arm.Sensors mounted on this arm measure the anglesof the joints. The computer-based control unituses these angles to compute position-orientationinformation so that the user can manipulate avirtual world. The joint angle transducers useconductive plastic potentiometers and ballbearings so that this machine is heavy duty.Time-lag is eliminated by the direct-readingtransducers and high speed microprocessor,allowing for a maximum update rate ofapproximately 300 measurements/second.Another system developed by AscensionTechnology does basically the same thing as theADL-1, but the sensor is in the form of a smallcube which can fit in the users hand or in acomputer mouse specially developed to encase it.The Ascension Bird is the first system thatgenerates and senses DC magnetic fields.
TheAscension Bird first measures the earth's magneticfield and then the steady magnetic field generatedby the transmitter. The earth's field is thensubtracted from the total, which allows one toyield true position and orientation measurements.The existing electromagnetic systems transmit arapidly varying AC field. As this field varies, eddycurrents are induced in nearby metals whichcauses the metals to become electromagnetswhich distort the measurements. The AscensionBird uses a steady DC magnetic filed which doesnot create an eddy current. The update rate of theBird is 100 measurements/second. However, theBird has a small lag of about 1/60th of a secondwhich is noticeable
Researchers have also thoughtabout supporting the other senses such as tasteand smell, but have decided that it is unfeasible todo. Smell would be possible, and would enhancereality, but there is a certain problem with the factthat there is only a limited spectrum of smells thatcould be simulated. Taste is basically a disgustingpremise from most standpoints. It might be usefulfor entertainment purposes, but has almost nopurpose for researchers or developers. For onething, people would have to put some kind ofreceptors in their mouths and it would be veryunsanitary.
Thus, the main senses that are relied onin a virtual reality are sight, touch, and hearing.Applications of Virtual Reality Virtual Reality haspromise for nearly every industry ranging fromarchitecture and design to movies andentertainment, but the real industry to gain fromthis technology is science, in general. The moneythat can be saved examining the feasibility ofexperiments in an artificial world before they aredone could be great, and the money saved onenergy used to operate such things as wind tunnelsquite large. The best example of how VR can helpscience is that of the 'molecular docking'experiments being done in Chapel Hill, NorthCarolina. Scientists at the University of NorthCarolina have developed a system that simulatedthe bonding of molecules. But instead of usingcomplicated formulas to determine bondingenergy, or illegible stick drawings, the potentialchemist can don a high-tech head-mounteddisplay, attach themselves to an artificial arm fromthe ceiling and actually push the molecules togetherto determine whether or not they can beconnected. The chemical bonding process takeson a sort of puzzle-like quality, in which evenchildren could learn to form bonds using a trial anderror method.
Architectural designers have alsofound that VR can be useful in visualizing whattheir buildings will look like when they are puttogether. Often, using a 2D diagram to represent a3D home is confusing, and the people that fundlarge projects would like to be able to see whatthey are paying for before it is constructed. Anexample which is fascinating would be that ofdesigning an elementary school. Designers couldwalk in the school from a child's perspective togain insight on how high that water fountain is, orhow narrow the halls are. Product designers couldalso use VR in similar ways to test their products.NASA and other aerospace facilities areconcentrating research on such things as humanfactors engineering, virtual prototyping of buildingsand military devices, aerodynamic analysis, flightsimulation, 3D data visualization, satellite positionfixing, and planetary exploration simulations. Suchthings as virtual wind tunnels have been indevelopment for a couple years and could savemoney and energy for aerospace companies.Medical researchers have been using VRtechniques to synthesize diagnostic images of apatient's body to do 'predictive' modeling ofradiation treatment using images created byultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, and X-ray.
A radiation therapist in a virtual would couldview and expose a tumour at any angle and thenmodel specific doses and configurations ofradiation beams to aim at the tumour moreeffectively. Since radiation destroys human tissueeasily, there is no allowance for error. Also,doctors could use 'virtual cadavers' to practicerare operations which are tough to perform. This isan excellent use because one could perform theoperation over and over without the worry ofhurting any human life. However, this sort ofpractice may have it's limitations because of thefact that it is only a virtual world. As well, at thistime, the computer-user interfaces are not wellenough developed and it is estimated that it willtake 5 to 10 years to develop this technology. InJapan, a company called Matsushita ElectricWorld Ltd.
is using VR to sell their products. Theyemploy a VPL Research head-mounted displaylinked to a high-powered computer to helpprospective customers design their own kitchens.Being able to see what your kitchen will look likebefore you actually refurnish could help you savefrom costly mistakes in the future. Theentertainment industry stands to gain a lot fromVR. With the video game revolution of bigger andbetter games coming out all the time, this could bethe biggest breakthrough ever. It would befantastic to have sword fights which actually feelreal. As well, virtual movies (also called vroomies)are being developed with allow the viewer tointeract with the characters in the movie. UniversalStudios among others is developing a virtual realityamusement park which will incorporate thesegames and vroomies. As it stands, almost everyindustry has something to gain from VR and in theyears to comes, it appears that the possibilities areendless.
The Future of Virtual Reality In thecoming years, as more research is done we arebound to see VR become as mainstay in ourhomes and at work. As the computers becomefaster, they will be able to create more realisticgraphic images to simulate reality better. As well,new interfaces will be developed which willsimulate force and tactile feedback moreeffectively to enhance artificial reality that muchmore. This is the birth of a new technology and itwill be interesting to see how it develops in theyears to come. However, it may take longer thanpeople think for it to come into the mainstream.Millions of dollars in research must be done, andonly select industries can afford to pay for this.Hopefully, it will be sooner than later though.
It isvery possible that in the future we will becommunicating with virtual phones. NipponTelephone and Telegraph (NTT) in Japan isdeveloping a system which will allow one personto see a 3D image of the other using VRtechniques. In the future, it is conceivable thatbusinessmen may hold conferences in a virtualmeeting hall when they are actually at each ends ofthe world. NTT is developing a new method oftelephone transmission using fiber optics which willallow for much larger amounts of information to bepassed through the phone lines. This system iscalled the Integrated Services Digital Network(ISDN) which will help allow VR to be used inconjunction with other communication methods.Right now, it is very expensive to purchase, withthe head-mounted display costing anywhere fromabout $20,000 to $1,000,000 for NASA's SuperCockpit. In the future, VR will be available to theend-user at home for under $1000 and will be ofbetter quality than that being developed today.The support for it will be about as good as it iscurrently for plain computers, and it is possiblethat VR could become a very useful teaching tool.Sources of Information Books and PeriodicalsBenningfield, Damond.
'The Virtues of VirtualReality.' Star Date, July/Aug. 1991, pp. 14-15.Burrill, William. 'Virtual Reality.' Toronto Star, 13July 1991, pp. J1-3. Brill, Louis M. 'FacingInterface Issues.' Computer Graphics World,April 1992, pp.
48-58. Daviss, Bennett. 'GrandIllusions.' Discover, June 1990, pp. 36-41.Emmett, Arielle. 'Down to Earth: PracticalApplications of Virtual Reality Find CommercialUses.' Computer Graphics World, March 1992,pp. 46-54. Peterson, Ivars.
'Recipes for ArtificialRealities.' Science News, 24 Nov. 1990, pp.328-329. Peterson, Ivars. 'Looking-GlassWorlds.' Science News, 4 Jan 1992, pp. 8-15.Porter, Stephen. 'Virtual Reality.' ComputerGraphics World, March 1992, pp. 42-43.Rheingold, Howard.
Virtual Reality. Toronto:Summit Books, 1991. Tisdale, Sallie. 'It's BeenReal.' Esquire, April 1991, pp. 36-40. Various.Virtual Reality Special Report. San Francisco:Meckler Publishing, 1992.
Companies Contacted:Ascension Technology Corp. P.O Box 527Burlington, VT 05402 (802)655-7879 PolhemusInc. P.O Box 560 Colchester, VT 05446(802)655-3159 Shooting Star Technology 1921Holdom Ave. Burnaby, BC V5B 3W4(604)298-8574 Virtual Technologies P.O. Box5984 Stanford, CA 94309 (415)599-2331 VPLResearch Inc. 656 Bair Island Rd. Third FloorRedwood City, CA 94063 (415)361-1710.
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