Jakobi's Notes

  • Since I am new to VR, I thought it would be good to start by reading some wiki entries on the the history and definitions within the field. I started with reading the wikipedia entry for Virtual reality.

    • Things I learned

      • the term virtual reality encloses more than just a digital display in a headset, it also includes rooms with large displays

      • When did virtual reality start?

        • The first head-mounted display for virtual reality was created in 1968 by Ivan Sutherland. This seems to be the first product of VR in its digital form. Its interesting to think about how recent the computer era is. So many of the technologies that are common now--like graphical user interfaces, machine learning, the internet--had their foundations in the mid-20th century. It makes me wonder how commonplace virtual and augmented reality will become. I am excited to explore their opportunities and things to look out for.

        • The first augmented reality system that incorporated sight, sound, and touch was an exoskeleton developed in 1992. I have often wondered why sight and sound have been so easy to simulate, while touch, smell, and taste are taking longer. Of those three, the simulation of touch has made the most progress, as haptic feedback is integrated in iPhones and gaming consoles. Smell and taste are still a long ways behind--will it ever be possible to simulate them?

      • What is Mixed Reality?

        • Even after reading the wiki entry for it, I am still confused. My current understanding is that mixed reality is somewhere in between physical and virtual, where physical objects/places interact with the virtual world (like streaming a 360 video to a VR headset), or virtual objects interact with the physical world (i.e. toy-to-life products where one can design a track virtually and watch a car drive that track). Mixed Reality thus contains augmented reality within it.

      • How has the field changed?

        • In the 90s, lots of VR research labs were being developed, and there was an initial period of excitement. In the 2000s, the hype died down, and there was less investment in VR overall. There is only one entry for the 2000s section of the wikipedia page. Surely there must have been more than one important project being developed in the entire decade, why is there such a gap? Should we edit the wikipedia page?

        • The first prototype of the Oculus Rift, what is now a very popular entry-level VR headset, was developed in 2010. The HTC Vive, another popular VR headset, was introduced in 2015.

          • I knew that the development of the Rift was right around the beginning of the decade, but it surprises me that the Vive was developed so recently. I also wonder why the Oculus is more popular than the Vive, is it because the Oculus was earlier, because it is cheaper, or a better product?

        • There seems to be huge potential for using VR as a training service for dangerous operations, from military to surgery. For helicopter pilots, 20% of incidents happen in training fights.

      • VRML was the first file format for 3D environments, developed in 1994. It has been replaced by the extension X3D.

      • It would be cool if there were wireless gloves one could wear when using a headset that provide haptic feedback. I will try to find if any companies are working on this.

    • Next steps: investigate VR therapy on wikipedia and on this wiki.

  • Read about Randy Pausch

  • Read the section of the course wiki about VR

    • After reading it, I have a much better understanding of the history of VR. That wiki entry was much more impactful than the wikipedia one--it gave me a better overall picture of the filed in fewer words. One thing I took away was that, as mentioned in the log above, I have wondered how immersive visual experiences can be, and whether they can incorporate all of our senses. And while I still do not know the answer to that question, I at least know there are others who wonder the same. Additionally, I learned that the professor for my introductory CS course (Andy Van Dam) has written, along with others, an overview of VR in a journal review. I would love to read it sometime, perhaps as part of my homework for this course.

    • I'm curious about how VR can be used with robotics--the wiki mentioned it so I will think about looking deeper at the resource it cited.

  • Observation about the VR wiki from UX perspective: it is unclear that the drop downs have their own pages as well, think about how that could be solved.

  • Read Who is VR for? Section

    • Observation: In the summary of the journal article published by Andy Van Dam, there are acronyms used (such as GIMP, and SILK), which I do not know what they stand for. It would be better if the article was clear about this.

    • VR for social media

      • Observation: small typo in 'Facebook's accusation of Oculus' to Facebook's acquisiton of Oculus

      • What are the use cases for NFTs in VR? Can DAOs operate better with visualization?

  • Watched the demo video for unreal engine 5, which was a video game / trailer hybrid of the matrix.

    • This got me excited about the product, one because the graphics are getting SO much closer to real-life, and two because it raises ethical questions about what the world will look like when the digital world is just as realistic as the actual one.

  • Looking at the VR for education section, I wonder if you could gamify VR for biology education, for instance.

  • Read article about the AR vs. VR comparison, which clarified how the technologies are different. My understanding of the two was fuzzy before, especially because the press would often pivot them against each other as if one was going to become popular and the other would not. In reality, both have separate use cases and both will likely integrate more into mainstream. VR is akin to an amusement park, where one has a thrilling/entertaining experience of something they have never done before, but they can only try it for a short period of time before getting tired. AR, on the other hand, will be less about entertainment and more about providing useful information relevant directly to the real world. And, it could be used more frequently, even though it is less immersive.

  • I also learned that the Oculus Quest 2 can be run as its own hardware device, with its built-in chip, OR it can connect to PC over USD and harness the larger computing power. I wonder if it can be used over the cloud to connect to a device with much better specs.

  • Observation: Some of the Links on home page as blue buttons do not work.

  • Played Interland, made from Google, with three.js to get a feel of how browser based three-dim games could work.

  • TODO: add hyperlink to performing arts section

  • Q: What does the syllabus mean by search contributions to wiki, under grading?

VR Software to Analyze (5-7)

Project Ideas

  1. Use Three.js and some type of 3D data graph organizer to visualize social media data for post prediction

    1. Why is this useful? Social media companies want to predict the popularity of posts so they can remove censored content as quick as possible. social media data is complex and convoluted so perhaps it would be easier to visualize in an immersive environment, and also to work on prediction methods collaboratively.

    2. three things I will do for the project:

      1. Set up a there.js collaborative environment

      2. evaluate the use of an existing plug-in with some type of collaboration avatar environment

      3. evaluate the use of multiple plug-ins for taking data and visualizing it with graph nodes

      4. talk to researchers of social media. Where can I find them?

    3. class activity for the project

      1. use it as a class

      2. upload our own social media data and interact with it collaboratively

      3. create a simulated social network

    4. Exploring TikTok's algorithm?

  2. Evaluate an existing piece of social media data visualization plug-in for webVR

    1. Social Network Visualization tools

  3. What about monitoring posts and levels of followers/following

  4. User network simulation

    1. Useful for tackling challenges in network dynamics ahead of time, making the ecosystem better, exploring human interaction

  5. Data science for cohort analysis

    1. Justification: cohort analysis is a very popular application of data science. It incorporates advertising products based on peers (that is, people with similar data to the user in question) past purchases.