Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Virtual Reality

Get all the latest news and advancements in Virtual Reality.

Zeiss VR One Connect puts virtual reality PC games onto a smartphone headset
Zeiss, a company that made its name in optical and optoelectronic technology before moving into the realm of virtual reality, has announced its latest VR headset: the Zeiss VR One Connect at IFA 2017 in Berlin. The Zeiss VR One Connect promises to bridge the gap between PC virtual reality, which offers impressive visuals and complex games, but comes with a high price tag for expensive headsets such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and smartphone-powered VR, which costs a lot less, but doesn't quite offer the immersive experience of PC VR. Zeiss VR One Connect does this by running SteamVR games that are powered by a PC, which does all the graphical grunt work, and transmitting the footage to the headset, using your smartphone as a screen. The headset, with the smartphone slotted in, is connected to your PC via a USB cable, and the Zeiss VR One Connect uses the smartphone's built-in motion sensors to provide head tracking. The Zeiss VR One Connect system is compatible with many budget smartphone VR headsets, or you can use it with the Zeiss VR One, potentially keeping the entry price very low. First of all, by controlling games using the 3DoF controllers, which send information to your smartphone, which then combines that data with information from its own motion sensors, before sending instructions to your PC, it could add an element of lag, which could make playing VR games difficult - or even nauseating. If you already have a suitable smartphone and PC, then the Zeiss VR One Connect promises to be a very cheap way to get into VR gaming. Releasing at the end of 2017, the Zeiss VR One Connect, which comes with two wireless controllers and a USB cable, along with the required software, will cost $129. A bundle which includes the Zeiss VR One Plus headset will also be sold for $199. While we do have doubts, there is a lot of potential here, so we're looking forward to getting some hands on time with it to see if the Zeiss VR One Connect lives up to its promises.
How can a virtual reality game improve the diagnosis of dementia?
Sea Hero Quest VR. Today, an exciting new phase of the project gets underway with the launch of an innovative virtual reality version of the app. Alzheimer's Research UK Champion Fred Walker was one of the first people to try out Sea Hero Quest VR. Fred lost his wife to Alzheimer's disease after 46 years of marriage, and knows from his own experience how the condition can wreak havoc with a person's navigation skills. Thousands of people have now tried this app and almost everyone who talks to us about it comments on how powerful the technology is, and how straightforward it is to use. People who have played the mobile app will be familiar with some elements of the VR game, but the properties of virtual reality have now allowed us to draw upon one of the most widely used lab-based assessments of spatial navigation. Sea Hero Quest will now allow us to build on this understanding using data from people who play the virtual reality game. Sea Hero Quest is a great example of how your support is allowing us to harness the latest technology and adopt innovative new approaches to improve lives for people with dementia. You can help to support this project by donating or visiting seaheroquest.com to find out how you can download the mobile app and VR game.
The meaning of life in a world without work
Most jobs that exist today might disappear within decades. As artificial intelligence outperforms humans in more and more tasks, it will replace humans in more and more jobs. Many new professions are likely to appear: virtual-world designers, for example. But such professions will probably require more creativity and flexibility, and it is unclear whether 40-year-old unemployed taxi drivers or insurance agents will be able to reinvent themselves as virtual-world designers (try to imagine a virtual world created by an insurance agent!). And even if the ex-insurance agent somehow makes the transition into a virtual-world designer, the pace of progress is such that within another decade he might have to reinvent himself yet again. The crucial problem isn’t creating new jobs. The crucial problem is creating new jobs that humans perform better than algorithms. Consequently, by 2050 a new class of people might emerge – the useless class. People who are not just unemployed, but unemployable. The same technology that renders humans useless might also make it feasible to feed and support the unemployable masses through some scheme of universal basic income. The real problem will then be to keep the masses occupied and content. People must engage in purposeful activities, or they go crazy. So what will the useless class do all day? By 2050 a new class of people might emerge – the useless class. People who are not just unemployed, but unemployable One answer might be computer games. Economically redundant people might spend increasing amounts of time within 3D virtual reality worlds, which would provide them with far more excitement and emotional engagement than the “real world” outside. This, in fact, is a very old solution. For thousands of years, billions of people have found meaning in playing virtual reality games. In the past, we have called these virtual reality games “religions”. What is a religion if not a big virtual reality game played by millions of people together? Religions such as Islam and Christianity invent imaginary laws, such as “don’t eat pork”, “repeat the same prayers a set number of times each day”, “don’t have sex with somebody from your own gender” and so forth. These laws exist only in the human imagination. No natural law requires the repetition of magical formulas, and no natural law forbids homosexuality or eating pork. Muslims and Christians go through life trying to gain points in their favorite virtual reality game. If you pray every day, you get points. If you forget to pray, you lose points. If by the end of your life you gain enough points, then after you die you go to the next level of the game (aka heaven)
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