Turning a Bus Into a Virtual Reality Ride

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Even though some ideas aren’t very practical for everyday usage, they are still pretty cool nonetheless. One such project is the one where a team from Framework turned an actual school bus into a virtual Mars ride. It’s a pretty intense projec…

Making Virtual Reality More “Interactive”

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One of the problems with virtual reality is that it is virtual – the things yopu see and interact with are not really there, so you can’t reach out and touch them. Which generally makes most VR experiences pretty passive – even adding a joy stick makes VR more like a game than a simulation. Of course, many companies are working on ways to add touch to virtual objects. One recent company is Dexmo, which adds an exoskeleton to your hands to enable simulated touch. While the set-up looks clunky, the idea that it is recreating the shape and consistency of virtual objects could be very useful in medical, educational, and manufacturing realms, among others. Apparently, no price is given, and the manufacturer wants to wait until VR software begins programming touch into their games and simulations. But this is still one step closer to Star Trek Holodecks (or at least the immersion suits described in Ready Player One).

Re-designing the Data Ownership Structure of the Internet

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Brought to you by a team of developers led by the guy that invented the World Wide Web (Tim Berners-Lee), Solid is a new project designed to “radically change the way Web applications work today, resulting in true data ownership as well as improved privacy.” The basic idea is that the data in an application is “decoupled” from the data inside it, meaning that if your favorite service shuts down (like MySpace, Jaiku, etc), you can switch to another and not lose what you did on that service. You would control your data and what happens to it. Stephen Downes looks at some of the applications being built on Solid. Solid is probably quite a way away from going mainstream, so don’t plan to use it this Fall in classes. However, for people that want to get serious about data ownership, this is a project to keep your eyes on.

Is Virtual Reality Going Mainstream?

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One of the biggest questions about any emerging technology is “will it make it?” In other words, will it become popular enough to became an actual, sustainable “thing”? This question has profound effects (not always in good ways) on whether or not new technologies have a future in learning innovation. The more popular an idea becomes, then more companies will starting make products, and increased competition drives down prices while increasing options. And hopefully, a low-cost easy to use option will arise.

Virtual Reality seems to be (slowly) crossing that barrier into mainstream adoption. Depending on how one maps the growth of VR, its been on a traditional trajectory, or a highly unusual one. But the signs that it is reaching more adoption are things like the Virtual Reality fueled promos (like the one above for the most-awesome Stranger Things series on Netflix) as well as new Virtual Reality films in production. From Lucasfilm making a Darth Vader virtual reality movie to a panoramic alien invasion movie starring Wesley Snipes that might have VR-like sections, it seems that at least Hollywood is taking notice. And it probably won’t be too long before we unfortunately see “How VR will disrupt Education!” sessions at Ed-Tech conferences. But it seems that VR is actually going somewhere.

So Where Are Microbots Anyway? Why Aren’t They Fixing All of Our Medical Issues?

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Fans of Science Fiction are probably familiar with microbots (aka nanobots) – small robots that are usually injected into the body to fix any number of plot holes…. errr… medical conditions of the future. But why aren’t we using these bots in real life? This article looks at some of the current advances in dealing with the problems that are holding microbots back from widespread usage. The short version is that these tiny machines are hard to control once released. As the video above points out, nanobots were first successfully used in animals just last year (wonder why they had to point out “successful”?). Most people think of microbots in terms of medical advances (such as unclogging arteries or making chemotherapy more targeted and safe), there are also many ways that technology could be implanted inside of our bodies to bring about some form of Trans-humanism.

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